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Oxygen Emulsion: The Basics

 

by Ted Kalli

 


This article will mainly concentrate on the various aspects of the use of oxygen, as related to skin care. To do this, we must have a basic understanding of one of life's basic elements, Oxygen. This requires some knowledge of Biochemistry, the anatomy and physiology of the skin, nutrition, effects of the environment, etc.

 

The skin care industry is getting more medically oriented. The tremendous reception The Advanced Dermatologics News has received in both the beauty industry and medical community is a direct result of this trend and is a prime example of the thirst for knowledge, expressed by professionals throughout the industry. Therefore, we must obtain a clear understanding of many terms and procedures common to both the medical profession and skin care industry.

 

Educational opportunities abound at trade shows, seminars, conferences and even with manufacturers. Why manufacturers, all they want is to sell their product line! Whether or not you use the products is your professional decision. But, how can you make this decision without full understanding? It is up to you can to make your purchasing decision based on the facts presented. I have attended classes offered by esthetic and pharmaceutical manufacturers and have found many of them to be very informative and well worth my time.

Most of the following text will be direct quotes from reliable sources. All sources will be listed so you can obtain the complete text. And now on to Oxygen.

 

Webster's Medical Dictionary defines oxygen as: an element that is found as a colorless, tasteless gas in the atmosphere of which it forms about 21% or combined in water, in most rocks and minerals, and in numerous organic compounds, that is capable of combining with all elements, except the inert gases, is active in the physiological processes and is involved esp. in the combustion processes. To understand the definition, lets talk about how oxygen is used in the body.

 

The following are some excerpts from a consumer information brochure by International Bio-Oxidative Medicine Foundation (IBOM). IBOM is a Not for Profit Educational and Research Foundation. It contains a good description of oxidation.

 

Most biochemical reactions in the body are 'Balanced' through 'Redox' mechanisms. Redox means (Red)uction (Ox)idation. Chemically, anytime a substance is reduced (chemically changed) something else must be oxidized (chemically changed the other way) for the body to stay in balance. Oxidation, is the process which causes 'rust' on metals slow oxidation or fire (rapid oxidation). In the body, some types of oxidation is thought to be harmful producing free radicals. We now suggest individuals take vitamin E (an anti-oxidant) to reduce free radical formation. However, there could be no life if certain types of oxidation did not occur. The body uses oxidation as its first line of defense against bacteria, virus, yeast and parasites. Even breathing OXYGEN is an oxidative process. Without oxidation we die very quickly. Without oxygen for more than a few minutes, serious consequences follow.

 

Before I go any further I would like to address Free Radicals. Dr. Kurt W. Donsbach D.C., Ph.D, in his book O2 O2 O2, gives an excellent explanation addressing this issue.
 

 

The Free Radical Flap

 

The most misunderstood aspect of hydrogen peroxide is the contention that it is a free radical. This is false. First of all, let's define a free radical. It is an element or compound which has an unpaired or unmatched electron. This lack of balance causes this substance to have a very reactive character. However, it must be noted that these free radicals are very short lived. Usually in the one ten-thousandth of a second range, during this short time, these free radical can cause damage by joining with other body chemicals and changing their character. Sometimes they produce a chain reaction by creating new free radicals.

 

That is the negative side. There is also a beneficial side to free radicals, but let us see what happens to hydrogen peroxide when it first enters the body through the blood stream (or the skin).

 

Hydrogen Peroxide + Catalase = Water + O

 

When hydrogen peroxide enters the blood stream, an enzyme catalase which is very prevalent in the human body almost immediately breaks it down to water and atomic oxygen, also called singlet oxygen or free radical oxygen.

O + O = O2

 

In less than one ten-thousandth of a second, the atomic oxygen has become stable O2  oxygen by pairing with another atomic oxygen. O2  is the kind of oxygen the human body uses constantly. There is no time for the unstable atomic oxygen to attack a cell and cause any damage.

 

As mentioned before, there are beneficial free radicals. One of them is atomic oxygen released when hydrogen peroxide is formed in the white blood cell (leukocyte) known as a macrophage. This has a special area called a peroxisome which produces hydrogen peroxide, breaking down to water and atomic (reactive or free radical) oxygen which will kill an invading bacteria allowing the macrophage to engulf and destroy harmful organisms.

 

Another example of free radical benefit is carbon monoxide (CO), a deadly form of gas which can kill the human organism if inhaled in large enough quantities. It can be inhaled but not exhaled, accumulates in the blood stream reducing the amount of stable oxygen carried to the cells, where it is needed. To decrease the amount of carbon monoxide in the blood stream, it must be changed to carbon dioxide (CO2) a form of gas which is readily exhaled. This is accomplished by the simple mechanism of adding a singlet oxygen to the carbon monoxide.

 

Well, I hope this clears up the free radical issue and we can concentrate of the beneficial use of oxygen emulsion products in skin care. To do this we must know something about hydrogen peroxide, since it is where we get the oxygen and water.

 

Hydrogen peroxide has been around since the 1870's. It is made up of hydrogen and oxygen. In fact, hydrogen peroxide is 94 % oxygen. Whenever hydrogen peroxide comes in contact with the enzyme, catalase, it always breaks down to oxygen and water. This is true whether it is on the skin or in the blood stream. It should be noted that many of the references I will be using pertain to the oral and infusion use of hydrogen peroxide. Yes, people do drink very diluted hydrogen peroxide, but not the kind you buy in the supermarket or drug store. The are several different grades of hydrogen peroxide. The different grades are as follows:

 

3% Hydrogen Peroxide (Drug/Grocery variety) Made from 50% Super D Peroxide, diluted. Contains stabilizers - phenol, acetanilide, sodium stanate and tetrasodium phosphate among them.

 

6% Hydrogen Peroxide (used by Cosmetologists) Comes in strengths labeled 10, 20 and 40 volume. Must have an activator added to be used as a bleach.

 

30% Reagent Hydrogen Peroxide Used in Medical research. Also contains stabilizers.

 

30 - 32% Technical Grade Hydrogen Peroxide Used for washing transistors and integrated chip parts before assembly. Stabilizers contained are unknown.

 

35% Food Grade Hydrogen Peroxide Used in food products like cheese, eggs, whey products. Also used to spray inside of foil lined containers for food storage - known as aseptic packaging system. The product of choice in most applications using hydrogen peroxide.

 

90% Hydrogen Peroxide Used as a source of Oxygen at Cape Canaveral. Used as a propulsion source in rocket fuel.

 

The 35% Food Grade Hydrogen Peroxide, greatly diluted, is what is consumed by humans by choice. This is not widely practiced in the United States, but there has been a great deal of research on the subject. Dr. Donsbach's book, O2 O2 O2 lists 32 such studies in his bibliography. Many of these studies were done in the United States at the Mayo Clinic and Baylor University. If you interested in further information on this subject, look for Oxygen Therapies, Ed McCabe, Energy Publications, 1988.

 

This writer is concerned about the external use of hydrogen peroxide. Hydrogen peroxide in it's aqueous form is not very stable. When it is in the emulsion, it is very stable.

 

In 1990, I introduced oxygen emulsion skin products to the United States. It was a new concept and many professionals were skeptical about it. But, in less than two years "oxygen emulsion" had become a popular industry buzzword.

 

Why and how does it work? The facts are, very simple. The enzyme catalase exist in the skin, as well in other parts of the body. When hydrogen peroxide comes in contact with the skin, it always breaks down to oxygen and water. In the aqueous form, which is commonly used as an antiseptic, most of the oxygen escapes to the atmosphere. This is the 'bubbling' that is often seen on the surface of the skin.

 

The oxygen emulsion, which is an oil-in-water emulsion of hydrogen peroxide, also breaks down to water and oxygen. But, the oil phase of the emulsion does not allow the oxygen to escape to the atmosphere. This creates a pressure and the skin becomes the path of least resistance. When hydrogen peroxide changes from a liquid to a gas (which happens instantaneously), it increase in volume 22.4 times. This increase in volume is what causes the pressure and why it penetrates the skin. The oxygen becomes a gas only during this instantaneous reaction. When it penetrates the skin, it is dissolved in the extracellular water and in the capillary plasma.

 

Molecular oxygen (gas) can only exist in the lungs. The presence of the oxygen in the plasma of the blood can be measured using medical monitoring equipment manufactured by Kontron, a division of Hoffman-LaRoche®. "Before and after" measurements using this equipment will show a dramatic increase in the partial pressure after application of the oxygen emulsion. When the oxygen penetrates the skin it acts as a 'vehicle.' It propels water and other ingredients with it when it penetrates the skin, if they are of the correct molecular size.

 


 

References

1. Webster's Medical Desk Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, 1986

2. O2 O2 O2, Dr. Kurt W. Donsbach D.C., Ph.D, Wholistic Publications, 1991

3. Oxidative Therapy, International Bio-Oxidative Medicine Foundation, P.O. 610767, Dallas/Ft. Worth, TX 75261

4. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy, Grim, Pamela S.; Gottlieb, Lawrence J.; Bobbie, Allyn; Batson, Eric, JAMA, The Journal of the American Medical Association, April 25, 1990 v263 n16 p2216(5)

5. Hyperbaric Oxygen; More Indications than Many Doctors Realize. (Editorial), Kindwall, Eric P., British Medical Journal, August 28, 1993 v307 n6903

6. Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy for Foot Ulcers. (includes related articles), Cianci, Paul; McCarren, Marie, Diabetes Forecast, June 1993 v46 n6 p57(5)

7. Breathing New Life into Oxygen Therapy. (includes related articles), Newson, Lesley, New Scientist, Nov 23, 1991 v132 n1796 p50(4)

 

 

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