by Dr. Kaycee Reyes
Inhale, exhale. We all know that we breathe in oxygen to live, as it is important in cellular respiration particularly to break down food into energy. We eliminate one of its byproducts, carbon dioxide (CO2), by exhalation. If carbon dioxide is waste eliminated from our bodies, how can it be beneficial for stretch marks, dark circles, and more?
Apparently, carbon dioxide therapy, or CDT, has been an ongoing treatment for decades. The use of carbon dioxide as therapy began as early as the 1930s in France, when it was found that CO2 healed wounds faster. Then in the 1950s, CDT was primarily used to improve blood circulation, until it became known to help with cellulite. Now called Carboxytherapy, it is now being performed to treat or improve a variety of skin issues such as stretch marks, dark circles, acne scars, fine lines, hypertrophic scars, and cellulite. This is achieved by improving skin elasticity, improving skin circulation, promoting collagen repair, improving fines lines and wrinkles, and destroying local fat cells.
It is administered by using a series of injections of carbon dioxide just under the surface of the skin. This can be done on any area of concern, which is usually the face, neck, abdomen, arms, and thighs. So how does it work? Every time we breathe, oxygen is distributed to different organs of our bodies, especially where it is needed the most. In areas where it is high in CO2, more oxygen is transported and more CO2 is expelled from our body. Carboxytherapy then makes the body believe that it needs to bring more oxygen to the area where CO2 was placed to hasten healing, stimulate circulation, improve elasticity, encourage tissue repair and cell production, and even remove fat cells (when injected to deeper layers of the skin). This treatment is a lunch time procedure that can even be as quick as a bathroom break. What’s more, side effects are none to minimal (redness, swelling, pain) that should resolve in a few days. Some get back to their regular activities immediately as well. Results can be seen from a few sessions or more, depending on the aesthetic problem and its severity.
Stated below are sample mechanisms of action of Carboxytherapy to some concerns:
Carbon dioxide dissects mechanically to the lower portion of the skin (dermis). This results in wound healing, increased blood flow, increased oxygenation, resulting in rebuilding collagen matrix, thickening of the skin, and improving the appearance of stretch marks.
B) LOCALIZED FATS
Injection of carbon dioxide to the lower level of skin will result in direct toxicity to fat cells, resulting in the bursting of some and their elimination via the lymphatic system. Increase in wound healing in the area, thus creating more collagen and connective tissue limiting the fat layer thickness.
C) DARK CIRCLES UNDER THE EYES
Dark circles are due to vascular pooling secondary to nasal congestion and allergies, creating a blue tinge under the eye. With the injection of carbon dioxide, it will improve the blood flow and increased the collagen deposition in the lower eyelid skin.
Cellulite is due to multiple factors such as problem in microcirculation, lymphatic system, fat and extracellular matrix of the skin. Carbon dioxide injection will help lessen the appearance by triggering repair and tissue regeneration in the injected area, thus improving the extra cellular matrix of the skin, which largely contributes to the appearance of cellulite.
While Carboxytherapy needs more studies to support its claims, it is still nonetheless another alternative to explore if you are not sure about liposuction, fillers, and lasers. But as with any other treatment, make sure that the clinic where it is offered is registered and the one performing the treatment is a licensed physician. This is because it is contraindicated to some medical conditions such as renal disease, congestive heart failure, liver insufficiency, respiratory insufficiency, and anemia. Also, make sure to disclose your medical history completely so that you can be assessed correctly and the physician can properly determine if you are a qualified candidate for the treatment. Make sure to discuss and set your expectations with your physician before and after the treatment. Finally, sit back, relax, and let your body do its work, naturally.