In a subset of trial participants who agreed to have skin biopsies, hyperbaric oxygen therapy improved some markers of intrinsic skin aging.
During the aging process, skin thins and loses elasticity due to many age-related changes, including decreases in blood supply and collagen production.
(HBOT) is a treatment that delivers 100% oxygen in a chamber with an ambient pressure greater than sea level. Recent studies have used HBOT to target markers of cellular aging — can it be an effective tool for reversing the signs of intrinsic skin aging?
This study used a subset of a cohort who participated in a prospective clinical trial (70 participants) measuring the effects of HBOT on various outcomes related to aging. The current study included 13 participants (68 years of age on average) who agreed to undergo skin biopsies.
After a 3-month control period, the participants underwent 3 months of five weekly, 90-minute HBOT sessions (60 total sessions). Skin biopsies were taken from areas of the body protected from sun exposure at baseline, after the 3-month control period, and at 1 to 2 weeks following the HBOT intervention to measure changes in collagen, elastic fibers, and tissue blood vessel count.
After the HBOT intervention, the skin biopsies showed an increase in collagen density, elastic fiber length, and number of blood vessels. There were also decreases in fiber fragmentation (a measure of skin fragility), papillary dermis thickness (the thin, top layer of the dermis that thickens with age), and tissue senescent cells.
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