Oxygen Treatments for Acne

by Nicole Whitney

Propionibacterium acnes lives in the skin and is the strain of bacteria that causes acne. For any acne treatment to be effective, it must kill these microbes, which thrive in the oxygen-deprived environment of a clogged pore. Oxygen has been used in the medical setting for years to speed healing. By introducing it deep into the follicle, it can destroy the acne bacteria.

How It Works

Oxygen kills the bacteria by compromising the cell's membrane, letting vital compounds leak out. It also reduces the swelling and inflammation that are characteristic of acne. Oxygen jump-starts the production of collagen and elastin in the skin, fighting the effects of aging, and stimulates new blood vessel production. It also cripples the bacteria’s ability to reproduce.

Methods

Use a nebulizer to introduce wet oxygen into the skin, or apply pressurized oxygen through a mask. Many washes, creams and lotions use the power of oxygen and can be applied topically. For instance, the common acne-fighting ingredient benzoyl peroxide produces oxygen when applied to the skin. Treatment with blue LED light, a service available at some skin care clinics, starts a process that releases oxygen into the skin.

Treatment

In a clinical setting, oxygen therapy begins by exfoliating dead skin cells with a laser microdermabrasion or a chemical peel. An intense hydrating treatment is applied to draw moisture to the skin cells directly beneath the skin's outer layer. This is beneficial because oxygen has a tendency to dry the skin. Oxygen in the form of a gas or a mist is propelled into the pores, often accompanied by beneficial vitamins. Salicylic or lactic acid may be added to aid in cleansing the pores.

Frequency

For severe acne, have clinical oxygen therapy three times during the first week, twice during the second week and once during the third and subsequent weeks until the acne lesions clear. Milder acne may respond to once-a-week treatment. Most creams and lotions used to deliver oxygen at home can be used twice per day because they tend to be less potent. Blue LED treatments are recommended for 20 minutes daily until symptoms subside.

Benefits

Oxygen is noninvasive, painless and safe. Oxygen not only kills the acne bacteria, but also stimulates cell regeneration, which helps heal acne scars. It is indicated for sensitive skin that can’t tolerate other treatments. Psoriasis and rosacea also respond favorably to oxygen treatments. Circulation is increased, leaving the skin soft and glowing.

About the Author

Nicole Whitney started freelance writing in 2008, with articles published on various websites. She has worked as a spa therapist and consultant. She participates in a volunteer program and writes on subjects related to the beauty industry. She graduated from the International School of Skin, Nails and Massage in Atlanta.