Liquid oxygen, beauty’s new super-ingredient
Roula Khalaf, Editor of the FT, selects her favourite stories in this weekly newsletter.
Sometimes the best ideas are right in front of you. For the skincare industry, that’s oxygen. On top of supplying our bodies with energy, oxygen supports healthy skin by maintaining cell turnover. As our oxygen levels deplete with age – around 60 per cent of the skin’s oxygen capacity is lost by the age of 40 – this renewal process starts to slow down. The result is an increased risk of fine lines and wrinkles.
“Your skin needs oxygen in order to work optimally,” says LYMA founder Lucy Goff, who recently updated the brand’s Oxygen Mist to include 100 per cent active stabilised oxygen, a non-toxic liquid concentrate. While stabilised oxygen has been used in medicine since the 1920s, the beauty industry has historically favoured the gas form for use in oxygen facials. But experts disagree as to whether oxygen in gas form is able to penetrate the skin. LYMA uses oxygen in a liquid form, which the brand promises can help boost moisture, repair the skin’s barrier function and increase collagen.
Skin expert Melanie Grant is an advocate of oxygenated skincare, but says not all formulations are equally effective. “I recommend formulas that work with medical-grade perfluorocarbons [oxygen carriers] that can transport oxygen molecules transdermally [through the skin into the bloodstream],” she says, pointing to Biologique Recherche’s Masque VIP O2 and Auteur’s Definitive Density Cream. Look for brands that have “clinical data to support their claims”, and apply alongside a “firm, purposeful facial massage”.
Customers are looking for products that are “rooted in the science [an expert] has studied all their lives”, says Farfetch’s Sophia Panych. Chief among these experts is 111Skin co-founder Yannis Alexandrides, whose work as a plastic surgeon has inspired a range of non-invasive skincare. The brand’s Oxygen Express Mask is a case in point: a five-minute dose promises to brighten, tighten and refresh.