They’re not foaming cleansers or bubbly face masks. These products contain water infused with carbon dioxide. We find out if there’s any substance behind the airy talk.
Carbon dioxide to jumpstart sluggish skin.
The idea behind carbonated skincare is the same as carboxytherapy – an aesthetic treatment not offered in Singapore where carbon dioxide (CO2) is injected into skin, causing blood vessels in the area to dilate and bring in more oxygen for skin renewal, enhanced radiance and better skincare absorption.
Japanese brand Sofina is among those that have bottled the benefits of CO2. Its signature product, IP Dodai Essence, has CO2 microbubbles that penetrate deep into skin to stimulate blood circulation. This is supposed to result in better skin regeneration.
Ahn Ryeo Eun, founder of South Korean brand Ceramine, says carbonated water (carbonic acid) is also a cleansing ace. By encouraging increased blood flow and oxygen to the skin, CO2 speeds up the natural detox process. “Regular cleansers may have allergens that irritate sensitive skin. But Ceramine’s Miracle Carbonated-water Bubble Cleansing Foam uses natural carbonic acid with tiny carbon dioxide bubbles, which clean effectively without irritation,” she says.
However, not everyone is buying into it. Dr Tay Liang Kiat, a consultant dermatologist and dermatologic surgeon at the Dermatology & Surgery Clinic, says that many products championing the use of CO2 are cosmeceuticals or cosmetics with no scientifically proven and significant benefits.
“There are therapies with a seemingly logical scientific basis or postulated mechanism of action, but they may not necessarily translate to clinical efficacy and are not backed by robust clinical evidence. More research and clinical trials are needed to prove the theoretical benefits which these treatments are supposed to provide,” he says.
In the Hera Bubble Awakening Mask, microbubbles are generated upon application to help clear out pores. This also makes for handy makeup prep, as it moisturises and reduces skin flakiness. $38 One small blob of the Sofina IP Dodai Essence’s fine, dense foam supposedly holds 20 million microbubbles of CO2 to kick-start sluggish skin. $85 The carbonated water in Ceramine Miracle Carbonatedwater Bubble Cleansing Foam comes from a geological source and is said to be antibacterial and antiinflammatory. $36 D’skin CO2 Gel Masque. The sheet mask and gel combine to create CO2. $169 for six sheets