If you were a visitor to the Royal Spas of France back in the early 1930’s, you might have been one of the “who’s who” lavishing in a pool of carbon dioxide rich water which was touted for its ability to heal wounds and reduce the appearance of dark marks, scarring and other skin imperfections. As the bodies of the elite made contact with the carbon dioxide rich pools, their skin reacted by pushing oxygen to its surface. This oxygenation process regenerated the skin cells, resulting in a smoother, younger and brighter complexion for those lucky enough to indulge in a dip.
Studies relating to carbon dioxide and its effect on the skin continued through the decades and in the early 2000’s, doctors, plastic surgeons, and dermatologists began to introduce an injectable treatment called carboxytherapy to reduce the appearance of stretch marks, cellulite and dark under eye circles.
So how does it work?
You might remember from high school science class that we breathe in oxygen and breathe out carbon dioxide, which is absorbed by plants and recycled back to us as oxygen. When oxygen enters our bodies, our red blood cells carry it to areas of tissue that have been working hard and are emitting too much carbon dioxide. That process allows the blood cells to flip their configuration and release oxygen molecules. So effectively, when carbon dioxide is injected into the skin, it tricks the cells into increasing their oxygen production, which in turn increases blood circulation. As a lack of blood circulation is one of the key causes of stretch marks, dark circles, and dull, lifeless skin, the process of getting the blood circulating rigorously can vastly improve the appearance of those afflictions.
An injectable is fine for people who are comfortable with this type of procedure and don’t mind a $1,000+ price tag, but could the solution be recreated into a topical solution for those who don’t want to deal with the needle? Ling Chan, founder of Ling Skin Care, wondered the same thing and set out to discover how the healing properties of those royal baths in France could be captured in a topical treatment that people could apply in the comfort and convenience of their own bathroom.
Working in her lab, Ling and her team of scientists developed the SparkLING Makeover O2 Mask, a gel-based carbon dioxide solution that when applied to the skin triggers an instant bubbling reaction. As the mask goes to work, the oxygen from deep inside the skin is pulled up to the surface, even in the sensitive under eye area. After 10-15 minutes, the foaming stops and the mask can be removed with a warm wet washcloth, revealing a gorgeous bright glow. The mask also includes rose petal extract which works as an antioxidant to protect the skin from free radicals, as well as that wonderful mineral rich hot spring water that worked wonders rejuvenating the skin all those years ago. The result is clearer, brighter skin instantly, with no needles, no pain, and no downtime.
So how does the topical version of carboxytherapy stack up against the injectable option? Recently, the SparkLING Makeover O2 Mask was awarded the Indie Beauty Expo Best in Show Award for Best Mask, and it has been touted in Vogue, Stylecaster and PopSugar for its ability to uncover a gorgeous glow in just minutes. The mask, which comes in a box of five individual treatments, is available for $80 on lingskincare.com or can be included as a facial treatment add-on at LING Spas in Union Square and on the Upper West Side in New York City.