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There’s a new trend, known as Intraceuticals treatments or oxygen facials, beloved by celebrities including Madonna and Ashley Graham.
Oxygen facials are supposed to:
Do these facials actually work? This article will cover the benefits and side effects of oxygen facials, how much they typically cost, and how they compare to at-home oxygen kits and other similar dermatologist treatments.
An oxygen facial is a procedure typically done by an aesthetician in a spa. It’s considered a “nonmedical” procedure since nothing is injected into the body and no chemicals are used.
The body needs oxygen to thrive, which is why we breathe. The theory behind oxygen facials — which isn’t scientifically backed — is that skin cells that are fully oxygenated via an oxygen facial will look bright and healthy.
During the procedure, an aesthetician will first cleanse and exfoliate your face. Every spa has its own process of administering an oxygen facial, but typically, a wand is used to deliver a stream of high pressurized oxygen to the skin’s surface.
Serums, usually containing hyaluronic acid which is known to plump the skin, are also applied to the face with the wand or after the oxygen portion of the facial.
The length of oxygen facials varies depending on the spa, but you can expect the treatment to take at least 30 minutes to an hour. Bliss Spa, for example, offers a “Triple Oxygen Facial” that’s 75 minutes long.
Unlike more invasive treatments, there’s no downtime or healing after an oxygen facial. You can even apply makeup directly after if you choose.
Research on the efficacy of oxygen facials is mixed.
Anecdotally, many people report that their skin looks healthy and bright after the procedure, and before-and-after pictures support this. However, there’s little scientific research behind these claims.
Many dermatologists recommend getting facials once a month, though oxygen facials aren’t quite as exfoliating as other kinds. Ask a dermatologist or aesthetician for their recommendations.
Oxygen facials are a good way to maintain skin that’s already healthy and youthful. Some dermatologists recommend the procedure as maintenance for people in their 20s.
Of course, you can get an oxygen facial at any age, but as you age, you may want to consider stronger treatments like lasers or microneedling.
While many swear by oxygen facials, some are skeptical of the benefits.
Dr. Christopher B. Zachary, a professor and dermatology department chairman at the University of California, Irvine, School of Medicine, told The New York Times in 2006 that, “the concept that high-pressure oxygen would do anything to help the skin is such nonsense as to be laughable.” He also called the procedure “snake oil.”
The price of an oxygen facial varies depending on where you live and what spa or clinic you have the procedure performed. It generally hovers between $75 and $150. Although some news articles report that the average cost is between $200 and $500.
Keep in mind, if the price seems too good to be true, it probably is. Make sure you’re seeing a reputable, trained professional.
Oxygen facials are generally not covered by insurance, as they’re a cosmetic procedure. However, if you have certain skin conditions, your provider may cover facials if they’re considered a skin care treatment.
You can use a resource like SpaFinder to find spas that offer oxygen facials near you. This tool lets you sort by rating to find a place where others have had positive experiences.
There are many over-the-counter oxygen facial kits that won’t break the bank. However, these kits won’t deliver the same intensity of results as a spa procedure.
Products that contain oxygen may aid in “cell metabolism,” meaning they may help shed dead skin cells. Make sure to read the instructions to ensure you’re using the products appropriately.
Facial products containing oxygen include:
There are other treatments that offer similar results to oxygen facials. These include:
Anecdotally speaking, oxygen facials help reduce fine lines, even out texture, add radiance, and help maintain bright, youthful looking skin.
There isn’t conclusive research on the subject, and some dermatologists adamantly disagree that there could be any benefits to oxygen facials. They believe the procedure may actually cause unnecessary inflammation, redness, or general puffiness.
Always be sure to find a safe, well-respected spa before getting any procedure done.
There are many OTC products that contain oxygen. While these products are well-marketed, there’s little research to support that oxygen can even stay in a skin care product.
Although some people think these products yield great results, their main benefit could be hydration, which comes from moisturizing serums, regardless of whether they contain oxygen.
Last medically reviewed on October 30, 2019
Our experts continually monitor the health and wellness space, and we update our articles when new information becomes available.
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