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Retinol Peels, CO2, Growth-Factors for Body Rejuvenation


What’s new in body skin care? According to Neil Sadick, MD, FACP, FAACS, FACph, FAAD, all fingers point to these methods.

Versatile cosmeceutical gel formulations like retinol peels and carboxytherapy gel masks are one way to improve pigmentation irregularities, aging, and acne scars, according to Neil Sadick, MD, FACP, FAACS, FACph, FAAD, clinical professor in the Department of Dermatology at Weill Medical College of Cornell University, New York, New York; faculty in the Department of Dermatology at the University of Minnesota, in Minneapolis; medical director of Sadick Dermatology, New York, New York; and president elect of the Noah Worcester Society.

He discussed new treatments for body rejuvenation in a recent presentation at the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) Annual Meeting, held March 25 to 29, in Boston, Massachusetts.1

This novel retinol peel, according to his presentation, includes 3% retinol, which targets fine lines, texture, and dark spots. Also, in the formulation of the peel is neocitrate, aminofil, bisabolol, and vitamin E. It’s a superficial physician-strength peel that targets the epidermis and has visible epidermal exfoliation. Additionally, this peel can be applied to the chest and hands.

Results from a study in the Journal of Drugs in Dermatology reported that a physician-strength retinol peel improved signs of aging and acne across skin types, including patients with melasma or skin of color. The peel was well-tolerate in photodamaged skin, Sadick said, continuing that a patient self-assessment and digital photography support these clinical findings.2

Carboxytherapy gel, another treatment Sadick discussed in his presentation, uses CO2 which is absorbed into the skin, leading to a deficiency of oxygen. To resolve this, the body then supplies more oxygen. Blood brings oxygen into the body, Sadick explained, and in order to supply more oxygen, the blood vessels are expanded. Along with more oxygen, nutrients and immunoregulatory substances are delivered through circulation. This increases hydration, stimulates epidermal cell turnover, activates fibroblasts and collagen production, and increases angiogenesis and nutrient delivery.

For Body firming, including cellulite and toning, he highlighted retinoids, collagen peptides, and methylxanthines. A study published in the Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology showed that the use of a topical botanical cream that included caffeine, retinol, antioxidants, and ceramides resulted in improvement in cellulite after 4 to 8 weeks.3

In another study, a twice daily applied topical which contained antioxidants, botanicals, and peptides saw improved cellular remodeling, tone, and laxity after 12 weeks.4

Sadick also discussed the use of growth-factor peptide cytokines for the body. Tripeptides-1 and hexapeptides-12 breakdown and remove aged dermal matrix, stimulate collagen and elastin production, and cultivate ongoing activation of dermal remodeling, according to the presentation. A 2021 study in Aesthetic Surgery Journal used a formulation of tripeptides-1 and hexapeptides-12 vs a moisturizer on the forearms for 12 weeks, with a twice daily application. Results showed that both investigators and study participants saw improvement in skin quality and hydration, according to Sadick.5


  1. Draelos ZD, Sadick NS, Taylor SC, Berson DS. The science of cosmeceuticals and nutraceuticals. Presented at: 2022 American Academy Dermatology Association Annual Meeting; March 25-29, 2022; Boston, MA.
  2. Sadick N, Edison BL, John G, Bohnert KL, Green B. An advanced, physician-strength retinol peel improves signs of aging and acne across a range of skin types including melasma and skin of color. J Drugs Dermatol. 2019;18(9):918-923.
  3. Yimam M, Lee YC, Jiao P, Hong M, Brownell L, Jia Q. A randomized, active comparator-controlled clinical trial of a topical botanical cream for skin hydration, elasticity, firmness, and cellulite. J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2018;11(8):51-57.
  4. Kavali CM, Nguyen TQ, Zahr AS, Jiang LI, Kononov T. A randomized, double-blind, split-body, placebo-controlled clinical study to evaluate the efficacy and tolerability of a topical body firming moisturizer for upper arm rejuvenation. Aesthetic Surgery Journal. 2021;41(6):NP472-NP483.
  5. Carruthers J, Bourne G, Bell M, Widgerow A. Prospective, randomized, comparative study of the cutaneous effects of a topical body treatment compared to a bland moisturizer. Aesthetic Surgery Journal. 2021;41(9):NP1188-NP1198.
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