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What is Carboxytherapy?

Skin changes are a normal part of the collagen loss and dehydration that happens with age, but millions of Americans are taking aging into their own hands.

The global anti-aging market is exploding year over year, predicted to grow to 14.22 billion by 2027.

At the height of that market is carboxytherapy, a treatment that has been around since the 1930s, though the method of delivery has improved since then, with a gel delivery system, CO2Lift!

Carboxytherapy uses carbon dioxide to stimulate blood and lymph circulation to the area being treated and improve circulation, elasticity, fine lines and wrinkles.

The old way to administer carboxytherapy is by subdermal injection of CO2 with a thin high-gauge needle. This application causes little pain and discomfort and  leaves minor bruising.

The Problem with CO2 Injections

Injectable CO2 is still the primary way many providers  use carboxytherapy today, but it has a few problems:

  • Many clients don’t want an injectable treatment,
  • It must be administered in the office, and
  • It causes visible bruising, especially when used on the arms and legs

Topical carboxytherapy has a few advantages over the injected treatment: 

  • It causes no bruising or other side effects
  • It can be used at home or in the office
  • It’s completely injection-free

The Science of Carboxytherapy

Carboxytherapy was developed to harness the human body’s natural response to carbon dioxide. 

Applying carbon dioxide to epithelial tissue results in a central nervous system response that causes vasodilation.

The dilated blood vessels allow an influx of blood to reach the hypoxic area, increasing circulation. 

This additional blood flow targets damage and aging-related changes to the epithelial tissues by:

  • Increasing the presence of wound repair factors and growth factors, which help cells “turn over” faster, reducing the appearance of aging, scars, stretch marks and more 
  • Stimulating collagen and elastin production, which promotes elasticity and helps retain hydration 
  • Improving local metabolism and elimination of waste products, which helps the body heal localized damage such as scars or acne hyperpigmentation 
  • Regenerating and repairing damaged tissue to help clients achieve better looking and feeling skin

Evidence-Based Carboxytherapy

Because carboxytherapy has been around for over 90 years, researchers have had time to study the effects of localized CO2 application. 

So far, they’ve found that: 

  • Eight weekly carboxytherapy sessions significantly reduced cellulite from degree III to degree II in a 2016 study
  • Subcutaneous CO2 injections significantly increased new epithelium growth and collagen while reducing neutrophils and lymphocytes (e.g. improved lymph drainage) in a 2019 study
  • A 2007 review found that carboxytherapy can increase tissue flow velocity and improve lymphatic drainage, speeding up epithelial regeneration