What is Carboxytherapy and How it Works?

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Carboxytherapy is a new treatment to improve the imperfections of your face and body by injecting carbon dioxide gas through tiny (0.3 mm in diameter) needles. The goal of the procedure is to increase oxygen levels, blood circulation and metabolism in the injected areas. Being new in the aesthetic cosmetology, carbon dioxide gas had been used for different medical purposes for over 60 years, first investigated by cardiologists in France.

The increase in oxygen concentration is a result of a chemical reaction, during which molecules of carbon dioxide split into oxygen and water, thus increasing the presence of oxygen in blood. Carbon dioxide has an ability to relax muscles of the blood vessels, making it easier for them to expand or dilute, relieve the blood pressure in congested blood vessels and ease the blood flow. The gas spreads out and diffuses into adjacent tissues.

The indications for Carboxytherapy are: fresh stretch marks, post acne scarring, dark eye circles, acne scars, deep wrinkles and appearance of cellulite. All those imperfections are considered to be, in part, a result of poor blood circulation and low levels of oxygen. The “gas therapy” can be performed on face, neck, arms, abdomen, thighs and other places where the loose or aging skin is noticeable. It is also successfully used in the postoperative period on patients having done blepharoplasty or facelifts.

Human body naturally produces Carbon dioxide every day of our life. It is a waste product of cell metabolism, you inhale oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide and therefore no allergic or toxic reactions to infusion of this gas can occur. Even green plants inhale carbon dioxide and exhale oxygen.

 The Carbonxy Therapy Procedure

Carboxytherapy is series of small injections with tiny needles into various layers of the skin and under the skin tissue. The technique is similar to mesotherapy, except for the infusion of CO2 gas (in Carboxytherapy) vs. mix of liquid ingredients (in Mesotherapy). The needles are attached to a tube with medical grade carbon dioxide, which design allows controlled flow and dosage of gas. Injected in the subcutaneous tissue carbon dioxide increases local blood circulation, destroys fat cells, reduces the amounts of intercellular fluid, stimulates production of collagen. Wider and more flexible blood vessels lead to more oxygen and less fluid in such areas as dark eye circles and puffiness, cellulite affected areas and overall aged skin.

Carboxytherapy as a stretch mark treatment delivers faster and better results on recent and still pink scars. Typically the results for stretch marks are permanent as long as no new growth occurs in the treated area. Each doctor has his/her own technic and time frames, but generally 1-2 times a week for 2-4 weeks followed by once in 2 weeks /1 month treatments should be enough for even severe or older, silvery in appearance stretch marks. The total number of procedures varies from individual to individual and is in the range of 6-10 treatments.

Carboxytherapy for eye area are treated following the same schema, as stretch marks except eyes require maintenance. The appearance of the eye area is influenced by much more factors, therefore maintenance treatments should be carried out at least once every half year or as needed.

Each session last 10-20 minutes. The average effect of the course of treatment lasts from 6 to 12 months, depending on pre-treatment conditions, the area and post treatment life-stile.

The patients treated with CO2 gas report the procedure to be in the range from “very painful” to “pretty comfortable”, but mostly the treatment is considered painful with most discomfort at the moment when the gas enters the skin. It’s caused by the pressure increase and partial detachment of the skin layers. It takes 5-10 minutes for the gas to assimilate and relief the pressure. The local burning sensation and redness in the treated areas are pretty much common. The pain, when it appears, is a signal for the doctor to remove the needle and start working on another area.

Carboxytherapy for Cellulite

When used for cellulite reduction carbon dioxide is delivered deep under the skin, where the blood and lymph circulation is sluggish, causing formation of fat deposits. The injections are combined with manual massage for even distribution of CO2 gas and better results. The jump-start in blood and lymph circulation stimulates metabolic reaction, which eliminates built up of fluid and toxins surrounding the fat cells, initiates lymphatic drainage, softens and destroys the walls of fat cells causing the fat to leak out. The procedure improves the elasticity of the deeper skin layers and stimulates production of new collagen leading to overall rejuvenation and tighter, smoother looking skin.

The CO2 treatment is effective for all stages of cellulite as well as for cellulite prevention. The results become obvious after the 5th session, but some improvements can be noticed after the first treatment. As a fat shrinkage and body shaping treatment the procedure should be done twice weekly for average of 10-15 sessions, followed by monthly treatments as desired (done a week before your period to offset results of water retention). It is recommended to do up to 5 maintenance treatments every 6 months to prevent cellulite from creeping back.

Carboxytherapy Downtime, Restrictions and Side Effects

Carboxytherapy does not require any downtime and there are no restrictions on any activity after the treatment. Most of the patients have no visual signs of injections, however some bruising, swelling and redness may occur, which is rarely seen in eye treatments. Some tingling sensation near the injection site, which disappears within few minutes, is another common side effect. The area surrounding the injection site may feel substantially warmer for 10 to 20 minutes.

The gas used for the injection is sterile and goes through 1) bacteria filter before it enters inside the CO2 insufflator. 2) anti-bacteria / anti-virus 0.20 micron filter, inserted between the machine and the injection 30G needle.

 It is NOT recommended:

  • To wash the treated area for 6 hours following the procedure
  • To swim and/or use the sauna    
  • To use high or low temperatures on the injection site before the swelling and redness disappear

 Carboxytherapy - Major Risks:

  1. As with any other injection there are risk of unsafe injection, during which some infection can be transmitted into the blood, causing blood borne illness. Make sure your practitioner meets all sanitary precautions.
  2. Injecting gas directly into a blood vessel or vein can form a gas bubble, which can go through the circulatory system causing arrhythmia or vision problems, if the injected vessel is close to the eyes.
  3. Carbon dioxide is a poisoning gas and the dosage of the injection is important and makes a huge difference. Wrong dosage or prolonged exposure can be extremely harmful to your health.
  4. Patients taking blood thinning drugs (Heparin or Coumadin) and pregnant women shouldn’t consider this treatment.

Carboxytherapy Prices:

The cost of Carboxytherapy, as with any other treatment varies by the doctor, the city, etc., etc. Depending on the area being treated you can expect to pay approximately $100-$150 for each treatment, however our research in NYC gave us results of up to $175 for the body, $250 for stretch marks and face.

Most of the private clinics offer substantial multiple area reduced fee and package discounts.

Due to many patients reporting the procedure to be extremely painful we would not suggest going for a package deal until you try at least one procedure and decide for yourself if the pain is tolerable for you. Many people give up half the way and wasted their money, not being able to complete the course of treatments.