We breathe in oxygen, we breathe out carbon dioxide. We all know that one basic fact. I don’t know about you, but as a student back in high school and before, I always imagined oxygen being the “good guy” and carbon dioxide the “bad guy”! But carbon dioxide has its redeeming qualities, and the one I’m talking about today is carboxytherapy.

So what does injecting CO­2 do exactly?

Generally speaking, injecting CO2 into tissues alerts the brain that a certain area in the body is hypoxic (low on oxygen), which makes the brain do all it can to supply the area with oxygen, meaning increasing blood flow to that area.

Carboxytherapy causes vasodilation, regulates the circulation and causes new blood vessel formation. It also improves metabolism, which translates into more efficient elimination of waste products. Blood influx also brings in wound repair factors and growth factors; collagen and elastin production are stimulated.

Basically, injecting more superficially leads to skin rejuvenation (good for wrinkles, scars, acne scars, stretch marks, under eye circles, and overall better feeling and looking, tighter skin), while deeper injection leads to lipolysis (good for treating cellulite and body contouring).

The histology of the subcutaneous tissue after carboxytherapy shows that fat cells actually break down after an injection, while leaving vasculature and connective tissue unharmed. There is also improvement of skin elasticity.

Other uses?

By the same mechanisms employed above, carboxytherapy has also been successful in treating atrophic scars, ulcers, hair fall, and alopecia. It also has applications outside aesthetics, in improving vascular insufficiencies of various kinds, such as seen in Reynaud’s phenomena and erectile dysfunction.

What are the sessions like?

A session would probably last between 10 to 30 minutes, depending on what you are planning to do. Under eye injections take the least amount of time, cellulite and stretch marks take longer. Usually your doctor will take a before picture and then take another one after three or four sessions, which are usually 1 – 5 weeks apart. Most patients show tremendous improvement, but if there is no improvement after four sessions, your doctor might consider discontinuing carboxytherapy, as some patients simply do not respond.


What does it feel like?

The needle used is very tiny, you might feel its prick, followed by a sensation described as “tingling” or  “like something moving under the skin”, or “tickling”; it really varies. There is also a feeling of pressure that might be a bit worrying especially in the under eye area, but it is completely normal and lasts less than a minute.


What are the benefits?

Carboxytherapy is a simple, quick, outpatient procedure that causes minimal discomfort, has no downtime whatsoever, and gives impressive results.