Okay, hereâ€™s the deal: weâ€™re talking about non-disgraced non-former minister Tessa Jowell, who has reportedly been paying large amounts of her hard-earned cash for â€œoxygen facialsâ€, and from the same celebrity beautician who does Paltrow and Moss. At some stage, just so that you know in advance, I intend to make a joke about Tessaâ€™s jowels.
So what is an oxygen facial? â€œOxygen Facialistâ€ Michelle Peck answers that very question on the Intraceuticals website: itâ€™s a high pressure blast of oxygen with a few beauty products in it. The purpose of this is to leave your skin swollen and smooth. â€œThe 02 Intraceutical Treatment is what I give to Madonna when I give her what is commonly known as an oxygen facial. The treatmentâ€¦ provides an instant firming and lift by using hyperbaric technology to saturate the skin with oxygen and infuse a rejuvenating hyaluronic acid serum.â€
Now, speaking only for myself of course, I have a rather well-regulated blood supply carrying oxygen not just to my face but all over my body, in roughly the correct amounts that are needed. In fact, Iâ€™m not quite sure I understand why these jokers are using oxygen at all, instead of air, since in my experience a good buffeting on a bicycle will produce modest swelling and increased blood flow for instant firming and lift (not to mention smoothness and colour). And indeed a firm slap in the face can also cause swelling and smoothness, as any cad or bounder could tell you.
In fact, Iâ€™ve been trying to think through what the point is of using posh expensive oxygen, instead of just blasting punters with normal compressed air, and as far as I can tell there are only two possibilities. Possibility number one, which I should like to discount immediately, is that there is â€œno pointâ€ in using oxygen, and that beauticians â€“ whose premises in the adverts always look much more like a hospital than NHS issue prefabs – are only using it because â€œoxygenâ€ sounds expensive, sciencey and pure.
Possibility number two is far more interesting: that this oxygen enters Tessa Jowellâ€™s tissues and has a significant effect by oxygenating them. Now some of us find it difficult to juggle more than a couple of bits of information at any one time, but your body is constantly monitoring and regulating the tissues needs in every area of your body, and tweaking the blood vessels supplying them, without you ever having to consciously action any of it. In fact, part of the drive to send more blood somewhere in your body, and indeed to grow new blood vessels there, is the fact that not enough oxygen is getting through. If you were a tumour and you wanted to grow fast, youâ€™d want a lot of blood vessels to feed yourself from, and the nasty, faster growing tumors are often very good at faking the messages to demand more blood vessels.
Anyway, to flip this on its head, if you tell your body that there’s plenty more than enough oxygen somewhere, then one of the important drives to send blood there, and grow blood vessels there, is gone. Your body is an amazing system, every bit working in harmony with the others, and no matter how old you are you are still incredibly adaptable (right now, for all I know, you could be reading this in the African savannah, standing on your head, at the arctic, or in space). In fact if any of the oxygen creams, oxygen facials, and oxygen cannisters available were able to put oxygen into Tessaâ€™s tissues, her body would quietly and in her best interests disclose that fact, and take appropriate steps to compensate, without ever troubling to make her explicitly aware of the fact.