Winter is well and truly here, and it’s safe to say our skin is suffering! The summer glow is long gone, we’re being caught in gust after gust of freezing winds, and let’s just say that the chills aren’t helping with breakouts! But with back-to-work deadlines looming and our post-Christmas cheque books to balance, do any of us really have much time to give our skin the TLC it needs? Enter Bliss Triple Oxygen Instant Energising Mask, a product creating a buzz in the beauty world, with the bold claim that it can ‘brighten, tighten and revive dull, sallow skin’, in just five minutes. Sounds like plenty of time to transform a festivity-fatigued face into the spritely New Years visage we’re all going for!

So how is it supposed to work?
Supposedly by using “every tech in the book to work to furnish you with a fresher, younger-looking face”, so it definitely sounds like something for the Beauty Geeks to be investigating! It’s been earning gold stars galore among bloggers and has won a spot in Red magazine’s list of the top ten definitive face masks. We might have found our skin saviour, but at an eye-watering £42 a bottle, is it really worth the splurge? Let’s have a look at the science behind the ingredients.

This mask has 3 main active ingredients: oxygen, vitamin C and anti-oxidants.

Oxygen has been used in skin treatments for decades, originally utilised to treat burns victims. All our cells require oxygen to complete their everyday tasks, such as replication and renewal, and skin cells are no different. This mask claims to deliver fluid oxygen directly to the epidermal cells in the skin, via the reaction of methyl perfluorobutyl ether with water. The theory is that our skin cells will drink up this oxygen and use it in their repair processes, giving us a beautiful, dewy glow.

However, some dermatologists are disputing this claim, stating that oxygen cannot penetrate the skin in this way. To be able to use oxygen in our biochemical processes, we must breathe it into our lungs, where it will diffuse across the membrane to be transported by red blood cells to the cells that need it. Millions of years of evolution have led to our sophisticated circulatory system, so we are no longer like amphibians – we don’t absorb oxygen through our skin (not in a useful way anyway!). This is the first point that makes us skeptical about whether the oxygen in this product really makes a difference.

Others are saying that there is a danger the extra oxygen could split into single atoms called free radicals, which have been linked to cell and DNA damage: key contributors to the development of signs of ageing (wrinkles, fine lines etc.)… that all sounds pretty counter-intuitive doesn’t it? There is very little research available and considering that methyl perfluorobutyl ether seems to be the hot ingredient that gives this mask the oxygen-containing edge, this ingredient alone does not have us sold. We’ll be looking out for some unbiased testing on this idea, but unfortunately we weren’t able to find anything yet.

This mask also contains zingy vitamin C, in the form of tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate. This particular type of vitamin C is oil-soluble, which means that it can be readily absorbed through the multiple dermal layers in our skin. Vitamin C can prevent the formation of free radicals by acting as an anti-oxidant, and it also reduces the effects of those we come into contact with naturally in the environment. Topical applications of vitamin C have been shown to have great effects on the skin such as a noticeable reduction in wrinkles, reversal of some of the damage caused by UV light, and increased hydration!

There have been a number of research papers published to show how vitamin C can rejuvenate the skin. Firstly, it has been proven to increase the production of collagen, a protein that makes up 70% of our skin’s composition, reducing the depth and severity of ‘furrows’. In other words, wrinkles become less noticeable – sounds good to us! It’s also thought that vitamin C may induce angiogenesis – the process of forming new blood vessels. Extra tiny new blood vessels made would help to deliver more nutrients to the skin cells. It could actually be this method that delivers extra oxygen to the skin, not the methyl perfluorobutyl ether in the product!

Vitamin C is not the only anti-oxidant present in this mask. It also contains grape seed extract, which has high levels of vitamin E, a reactive oxidative species scavenger. To put it simply, this molecule stimulates the conversion of damaging free radicals back into unreactive compounds. This reduces the damage to DNA and other molecules which is thought to manifest as visible signs of ageing, such as wrinkle formation.

Another natural compound is Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract. We all love a good cup of tea, and Camellia Sinensis is a plant that often provides our tea leaves. The calming nature of tea has been known for thousands of years, but it turns out it also can work wonders with our skin. Its extract has been found to reduce the degradation of lipids in our cell membranes, and therefore prevents untimely death of our skin cells.

So we have anti-ageing anti-oxidant ingredients, but is there anything to tackle those angry red flare-ups that can happen from time to time? The answer is yes, and it is provided by a plant that is already well-known in the beauty world for its soothing nature: aloe vera! Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice has been proven to improve the healing of skin, reducing the amount of scarring after breakouts and blemishes. It also acts to decrease inflammation, so if those winter chills have left your cheeks flushed and sore, this extract should help.

Bliss have also included glycerin and panthenol in this formula. Both are great humectants (molecules that hold onto water), and so work to hydrate the skin. Hydrated skin is springy and full, giving it a more youthful and healthy look. It also helps to reduce the appearance of wrinkles!

So what is the verdict?

Let’s come back to the three key ingredients: oxygen, antioxidants (including vitamin C) and moisturising agents. Whilst the product delivers on the last two, it’s hard to find science to back up the first. This mask is definitely being marketed on its novel, oxygen-containing nature, but it seems to be the other active ingredients, commonly found in lots of other skincare, that are the real powerhouses (these ingredients might well explain the positive reviews). It’s an expensive product to try as a novelty, but with heaps of positive online reviews and the backing of Jennifer Lopez and Uma Thurman, this product might well have something extra special up its sleeve that we haven’t yet seen in the research! And there seem to be some other bloggers taking an interest too! This mask certainly has benefits but the brand promise of oxygen-induced beautification seems far from guaranteed. This probably isn’t one for those of us on a beauty-budget who want science-assured success!

To get your hands Bliss Triple Oxygen Instant Energising Mask click HERE!
“Safety assessment of cyclomethicone, cyclotetrasiloxane, cyclopentasiloxane, cyclohexasiloxane, and cycloheptasiloxane.”
“Effects of combinations of ROS scavengers on oxidative DNA damage caused by visible-light-activated camphorquinone/N,N-dimethyl-p-toluidine.”
“Topically applied vitamin C increases the density of dermal papillae in aged human skin”
“Synthesis of α-collagen fragments and research of their influence on the degree of hydration of a model of epidermis.”
“Natural phosphodiesterase-4 inhibitors from the leaf skin of Aloe barbadensis Miller.”
“Evaluation of the protective effect of Ilex paraguariensis and Camellia sinensis extracts on the prevention of oxidative damage caused by ultraviolet radiation.”

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