Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) is starting to be seen as a viable treatment for skin issues. HBOT delivers high concentrations of oxygen to the body tissues, which can help to speed up the healing process. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy benefits for skin include boosting collagen, skin rejuvenation, wound healing, and reducing inflammation. If you’ve ever been in a hyperbaric chamber, you know how cold and claustrophobic it can feel but perhaps the results are worth it.
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy History
HBOT treatments have been around for over 100 years and were first used to help treat scuba divers with the bends. In the 1960s, HBOT was approved by the FDA to treat decompression sickness and gas gangrene. In the 1990s, HBOT began to be used as a treatment for wounds and has been shown to be effective in treating diabetic ulcers and pressure sores.
The treatment involves sitting or lying in a chamber that is pressurized with 100% pure oxygen. The high concentration of oxygen helps to improve the healing process by increasing the amount of oxygen that reaches the tissues. It’s usually used for medical conditions like wounds that won’t heal, traumatic brain injury, decompression sickness, and carbon monoxide poisoning but there is some evidence to suggest that it can also be helpful for skin conditions like acne, eczema, and psoriasis.
This medical treatment is usually not covered by insurance and can be quite expensive. A single session can cost anywhere from $200 to $600 and a course of treatment may require 10 or more sessions. Despite the cost, HBOT is gaining popularity as an alternative treatment for skin conditions.
15 Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Benefits Skin
1. Boosts Collagen
A hyperbaric oxygen chamber has been referred to as the fountain of youth. One of the main reasons for this is that it can help to boost collagen production. Collagen is a protein that helps to keep the skin looking firm, elastic, and youthful. As we age, our collagen production decreases which can lead to wrinkles and sagging skin.1
Clinical trials published in Dermatologic Surgery found that HBOT can help to increase collagen production. The study found that HBOT increased collagen synthesis by up to three times. This increase in collagen can help to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and keep the skin looking young and healthy.
2. Skin Rejuvenation
Blood flow carries oxygen and nutrients to the skin cells which are essential for healthy, youthful skin. The high concentration of oxygen in a hyperbaric chamber can help to increase blood flow and nourish the skin cells. This can help to improve the appearance of the skin and make it look more radiant.2
Blood plasma is also rich in growth factors that can help to improve the appearance of the skin. A study published in The Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology found that HBOT can help to increase the level of growth factors in the blood. This can help to improve the texture and tone of the skin.
3. Reduces the Signs of Aging
Age spots, fine lines, and wrinkles are all signs of aging skin. The increased blood flow and oxygenation that hyperbaric oxygen therapy benefits for skin provide can help to reduce the appearance of these signs of aging. The appearance of fine lines and wrinkles can be reduced by up to 70% with regular HBOT treatments.3
4. Improves Wound Healing
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy benefits for skin have been shown to be effective in healing wounds. The high concentration of oxygen helps to promote the growth of new blood vessels and skin cells. This can speed up the healing process and help to prevent infection. Skin grafts are also more likely to take when HBOT is used.
The increased oxygen levels also help to reduce inflammation and swelling. Skin cell damage caused by free radicals does damage to the skin and can delay healing. The high concentration of oxygen helps to neutralize free radicals and reduce cell damage.4
5. Reduces Inflammation
HBOT has anti-inflammatory properties that can help to reduce the redness, swelling, and pain associated with skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis. On a cellular level, HBOT can help to reduce inflammation by inhibiting the release of inflammatory cytokines.
The effects of HBOT play a major role in wound healing but can also be beneficial for other skin conditions. Hyperbaric therapy can help to reduce the symptoms of conditions like acne, rosacea, and eczema. The increased pressure in the chamber can help to reduce the severity of these conditions.5
6. Improves Skin Texture
Oxidative stress can damage the skin cells and lead to a dull, uneven complexion. Combine that with poor circulation and poor collagen structure and you have the perfect recipe for lackluster skin. HBOT can help to improve skin texture by reducing oxidative stress and increasing collagen production. The growth of new cells and improved blood flow can also help to give the skin a more even, youthful appearance.
7. Reduces Pore Size
Enlarged pores can be caused by a number of factors including genetics, environmental damage, and poor skin care. Whatever the cause, HBOT can help to reduce pore size. The increase in collagen production and new cell growth can help to tighten the skin and reduce the appearance of large pores.
When pores are smaller, they are less likely to become clogged with dirt and oil. This can help to reduce the risk of breakouts and improve the overall appearance of the skin.
8. Tightens Skin
Saggy skin is a common sign of aging. The loss of collagen and elastin can cause the skin to lose its firmness and elasticity. Atmospheric pressure in a hyperbaric chamber can help to temporarily tighten the skin and reduce the appearance of wrinkles.
Skin elasticity and firmness can also be improved with regular HBOT treatments. The increase in collagen production helps to tighten and tone the skin. The pressurized chamber can also help to stimulate the production of elastin.
9. Improves Acne
Air pressure in a hyperbaric chamber can help to improve acne by reducing inflammation and promoting the growth of new skin cells. The high concentration of oxygen can also help to kill bacteria that can cause acne.
While HBOT isn’t a miracle cure for acne, it can help to improve the appearance of the skin and reduce the number of breakouts. The extra oxygen can also help to speed up the healing of blemishes.
10. Reduces scarring
Red blood cells carry oxygen to the tissues and help to repair damaged tissue. The high concentration of oxygen in a hyperbaric chamber can help to increase the production of red blood cells. This can help to reduce the appearance of scars by promoting the growth of new tissue.
Tissue damage can also lead to the formation of keloids, which are raised scars. HBOT can help to reduce the size of keloids and improve their appearance. Skin cell damage can also be reduced with HBOT, which can help to prevent scars from forming in the first place.
11. Reduces rosacea
Different skin complexions react differently to rosacea treatments. For some, hyperbaric oxygen therapy has shown to be an effective treatment. The anti-inflammatory properties of HBOT can help to reduce the redness and swelling associated with rosacea.
When used in combination with other rosacea treatments, HBOT can help to improve the appearance of the skin. The extra oxygen can also help to speed up the healing process. It’s important to consult with a dermatologist to determine if HBOT is right for you.
12. Fights free radical damage
Cell repair and growth depend on the presence of oxygen. Free radicals can damage cells and prevent them from getting the oxygen they need. This can lead to the formation of wrinkles and other signs of aging skin. The high concentration of oxygen in a hyperbaric chamber can help to fight free radical damage and improve the health of the skin cells.
13. Improves psoriasis
The body’s ability to fight infection decreases with age. This can lead to an increased risk of developing psoriasis. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy can help to improve the body’s ability to fight infection and reduce the symptoms of psoriasis. Typically, HBOT is used in conjunction with other treatments such as light therapy or medication.
14. Improves eczema
Most skin care products only provide temporary relief from the symptoms of eczema. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy can help to improve the condition of the skin and provide long-term relief from the symptoms of eczema. When used in combination with other treatments, HBOT can help to improve the appearance of the skin and reduce the need for topical medications.
15. Protects Skin
Environmental pollution, UV radiation, and other environmental factors can damage the skin. The high concentration of oxygen in a hyperbaric chamber can help to protect the skin. It also helps to reduce the risk of developing skin cancer. While HBOT can’t completely protect the skin from environmental damage, it can help to reduce the effects of pollution and other harmful factors.
Most people with decent health can safely undergo hyperbaric oxygen therapy. There are, however, a few groups of people who should consult their physician or certified provider before starting treatment. These include:
- Pregnant women
- Children under the age of 2
- People with serious heart conditions
- People with claustrophobia (fear of enclosed spaces)
- People with a history of seizures
If you have any other chronic health conditions, please consult your physician or certified provider to see if hyperbaric oxygen therapy is right for you. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy has a wide range of potential benefits, and most people can safely undergo treatment. However, there are a few groups of people who should consult their physician or
There are many conditions that can be treated with hyperbaric oxygen therapy. In general, any condition that involves tissue damage or poor blood circulation can potentially be helped by HBOT.
Some specific conditions that may be treated with HBOT include:
- Wounds that are not healing properly
- Skin grafts and flaps that are not healing correctly
- Bone infections
- Carbon monoxide poisoning
- Decompression sickness
- Certain types of anemia
- Radiation injuries
If you have any of these conditions, speak to your doctor to see if hyperbaric oxygen therapy could help you.
What To Expect At A Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Session
Most hyperbaric oxygen therapy sessions last between one and two hours. During this time, you will be sitting or lying in a chamber that is pressurized with 100% oxygen. The pressure in the chamber is about 2.5 times higher than the atmospheric pressure. This increase in pressure helps to push more oxygen into the body tissues.
You may experience some side effects during an HBOT session. These side effects are usually mild and resolve on their own. Side effects can include:
- Ear pain
- Nasal congestion
- Skin rash
It’s important to drink plenty of fluids before and after an HBOT session to prevent dehydration. You should also avoid smoking and drinking alcohol before and after a session.
If you have any medical conditions, be sure to tell your doctor before starting HBOT. You should also let your doctor know if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is a safe and effective treatment for many skin conditions. If you’re considering HBOT, be sure to talk to your doctor to see if it’s right for you.