Bliss Triple Oxygen Instant Energizing Mask ($47, amazon.com), according to the company, has three superstar ingredients: Oxygen, Vitamin C, and antioxidants. While it delivers on the latter two, the question of whether oxygen has been proven effective in skin care is up for debate. Overall, the mask has some definite benefits, but the oxygen goes unproven.
Does the Oxygen Really Do Anything for Your Skin?
It’s exciting to think that oxygen in skin care could provide the same benefits as breathing oxygen in something like a hyperbaric chamber (which works because you’re breathing oxygen in). But there’s really no data to back that up.
FluidO2 isn’t liquid oxygen, as its name might suggest. Since oxygen is gaseous at room temperature, it would logically have to be chilled to a low enough temperature for it to condense into a liquid. This point, which can be altered somewhat by pressure, is -183°C (MSU, Dermatology Online Journal). Liquid oxygen was used in dermatology for the same purpose as liquid nitrogen: to freeze or make things cold (European Handbook of Dermatological Treatments). However, it was swapped out for liquid nitrogen because it’s very combustible.
Many dermatologists, including Dr. Leslie Baumnann in a FutureDerm interview and Dr. Ellen Marmur of the Mount Sinai Medical Center have spoken out the topically applied oxygen is completely ineffective and cannot penetrate skin.
Some dermatologist believe that topically applied oxygen can cause more reactive oxygen species to form, which can damage cells and DNA (Toxicology Letters). But antioxidants, antioxidant stability, and microencapsulation in a formulation can play a role in keeping oxides from causing damage.
Overall, it’s definitely a buzzword that gets thrown around but doesn’t have much scientific backing.
Vitamin C in the Form of Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate
Tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate is a stable and oil-soluble form of vitamin C. The benefits of this particular type of vitamin C are that tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate penetrates the epidermis (or uppermost layer of skin) as well as the dermis (or second layer of skin), rather than sitting on top of the stratum corneum (or outermost layer of skin) like other vitamin Cs will without a thinning solution (Dermatologic Surgery).
Another benefit? It works as an antioxidant and it directly stimulates the production of new collagen. It’s also less irritating, though less exfoliating, than L-ascorbic acid.
EUK-134: Super Antioxidant
EUK-134 is a very promising antioxidant. It’s a scavenger for oxidative species, such as peroxynitrite, superoxide, and hydrogen peroxide (Cayman Chemical). It might also help protect against UV damage, which causes reactive oxygen species and damage to DNA. Researchers have found that EUK-134 helps to protect DNA from damage, reduces oxidative damage, and increases cell survival after UVB irradiation (Journal of Investigative Dermatology).
While the oxygen in Bliss Triple Oxygen Instant Energizing Mask doesn’t have the scientific backing to make claims that it’s anywhere near as effective as treatments like a hyperbaric chamber, there are other ingredients that will benefit skin. Antioxidants in the form of vitamin C, vitamin E, and EUK-134 help to fight free radical and superoxide damage. In particular, vitamin C in the form of tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate penetrates deeply into skin and has been shown to stimulate collagen. Overall, this mask has its benefits, but one of its main promises of oxygen doesn’t have much support.
Water (aqua), methyl perfluorobutyl ether, cocamidopropyl betaine, sodium laureth sulfate, coco-glucoside, glycerin, PEG-7 glyceryl cocoate, cyclopentasiloxane, chondrus crispus (carrageenan), polyquaternium-37, dimethicone PEG-7 phosphate, fragrance (parfum), propylene glycol dicaprylate/dicaprate, sodium PCA, vitis vinifera (grape) seed extract, camellia sinensis leaf extract, aloe barbadensis leaf juice, gynostemma pentaphyllum extract, panthenol, polyhydroxystearic acid, ethylhexyl isononanoate, isononyl isononanoate, sodium cocamidopropyl PG-dimonium chloride phosphate, hydrolyzed soy protein, potassium chloride, benzyl alcohol, phenoxyethanol, tocopheryl acetate, potassium sorbate, PPG-1 trideceth-6, citric acid, mica, tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate, ferulic acid, ethylbisiminomethylguaiacol manganese chloride, titanium dioxide (CI 77891), tocopherol, citral, limonene, linalool, red 40 (CI 16035), yellow 5 (CI 19140)