Does the Quick-Fix Oxygen Facial Really Work?
EVIE EVANGELOU, a spa publicist and consultant in New York City, has scoured the world for new and unusual beauty regimens to lure clients to Now, a spa that is scheduled to open on Madison Avenue in May. Last week Ms. Evangelou discovered a treatment courtesy of Madonna that she says could be the next big thing: the hyperbaric oxygen facial. Madonna has recommended it on her Web site and in an interview with Harper's Bazaar.
The facial involves a machine that sprays atomized moisturizers onto the skin using a stream of pressurized oxygen. The treatment is supposed to hydrate skin immediately, making the face appear smoother and plumper.
'So many celebrities are doing the treatment because it temporarily diminishes all the tiny imperfections that would otherwise be visible on high-definition TV,' said Michelle Peck, a masseuse from Los Angeles. Ms. Peck is referred to as Madonna's personal oxygen treatment facialist on the Web site madonna.com. She came to Manhattan last week to demonstrate the facial on Ms. Evangelou and other spa managers, a trip sponsored by the maker of the oxygen compressor used in the facials.
As trendy as the oxygen facial may be, there is no hard evidence of its effectiveness, and academic experts are skeptical. Dr. Christopher B. Zachary, a professor and the dermatology department chairman at the University of California, Irvine, School of Medicine, bluntly labeled it 'snake oil.'
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