Author: Dr. Oreste Di Mattei Di Matteo

Cryotherapy started out as a treatment for rheumatoid arthritis. Over the years it has found an increasing number of applications in medicine up to its use in aesthetic medicine.

What is cryotherapy?
Cryotherapy is a treatment that uses intense cold, produced from liquid nitrogen, for the treatment of:

  • skin lesions (warts)
  • sports medicine
  • general medicine

Cryotherapy in aesthetic medicine

Aesthetic cryotherapy is derived from medical cryotherapy. The success of medical cryotherapy applications is due to the use of intense cold for treatments that enable strong vasoconstriction, and are analgesic and anti-inflammatory. Precisely because of these properties, it can have effective therapeutic applications for various disorders, diseases or in sports medicine. 

Why not apply these medical results to aesthetic treatments?
The intuition of applying cryotherapy to aesthetic treatments comes from the action that cold has on adipose cells and skin.
The effectiveness of medical cryotherapy has been applied to aesthetic treatments, aesthetics and aesthetic medicine.

What are the applications of cryotherapy in aesthetics Generally, it is used for:

  • Weight control
  • Fat reduction in localised areas
  • Cellulite treatment
  • Improving skin appearance

Cryotherapy in aesthetic medicine and skin
Aesthetic cryotherapy improves the appearance of the skin and has vasoconstriction properties. After having subjected the part to intense cold, the subsequent interruption of cold stimulation produces the opposite effect, a vasodilation that oxidises and tones the dermis for producing an astringent effect on the elastic fibres.

Types and techniques of cryotherapy in aesthetic medicine There are different techniques and treatments using aesthetic cryotherapy; the following are the most common:

  • Cryosauna: Treatment is carried out in a special cabin in which liquid nitrogen is diffused. This result is obtained thanks to the therapeutic action of liquid nitrogen vapour. It lasts a few minutes and after 1 treatment the appearance of the skin is improved because the production of collagen is stimulated.
  • Applications with a cold-effect cream: a composition based on cryogenic substances and others such as caffeine and algae is applied to the skin for about 40 minutes. To reduce the discomfort, a cream product is used that helps in better tolerating the cold effect.
  • Bandages with ice: bandages containing caffeine, herb and plant extracts are used. This type of aesthetic cryotherapy requires at least 12 applications, with an average duration of 20 minutes per session. The bandages are applied directly on the areas to be treated and left to act.

Cryotherapy in aesthetic medicine: cryolipolysis
is a non-invasive procedure. A special device is used that produces controlled cold for cooling and freezing adipose cells. Adipose cells are eliminated because apoptosis is produced. The result leads to the reduction of fat over time (from 2 months to 3 months) thanks to an inflammatory action that allows disposal with the metabolism.  The method is not invasive and will not damage the skin or tissues. Cryolipolysis could be an alternative to liposuction. The desired results would be remodelling of the body and rejuvenation of the skin in the treated areas.

Contraindications Cryotherapy has some contraindications; the following are the most common:

  • Arterial pressure disorders
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Raynaud's disease
  • Rheumatic problems
  • Heart disease
  • Very sensitive skin
  • Kidney dialysis
  • Diabetes

Results The results of aesthetic cryotherapy are temporary, so the treatment should be integrated with other procedures (some treatments such as draining and lymphatic massage can be easily combined with cryotherapy) in order to maintain the results for as long as possible.

Related articles