BroadBand Light (BBL™) is one of our most commonly recommended procedures for prevention and treatment of skin aging. Also known as a Photofacial, BBL™ is an in-office treatment for improving skin clarity, tone, and texture. Using highly specialized filtered light, BBL™ targets red and brown discolorations, while minimizing trauma to the surrounding skin. Long-term use of BBL™ (three to four treatments per year) have also been shown to delay the progression of skin aging.1 Our advanced practice estheticians, Amy Nelson and Jillian Anderson, have each performed thousands of BBL™ treatments and can attest to the power of this minimally-invasive procedure.
One question we are often asked is the difference between BroadBand Light (BBL™) and Intense Pulsed Light (IPL). Both are similar technologies. The difference is BroadBand Light™ refers to a device manufactured by a company called Sciton. We feel that BBL™ from Sciton is the best, safest, and most powerful device for performing Photofacial treatments.
Who is a good candidate?
- Looking to delay the progression of skin aging
- Looking for wrinkle prevention
- Looking to even out skin tone
- Brown sun damage that is not melasma
- Red skin discoloration
- Lighter skin tones (BBL™ is not recommended for Indo/Pakastani or African skin tones)
Patients with a history of a skin condition called melasma should inform us of this prior to treatment. Melasma can sometimes worsen with BBL™ treatments.
BBL™ works best in patients who have contrast between the colored lesions and their natural skin tone. Patients who are tan, use tanning beds regularly, or have recently used self-tanner should inform us prior to treatment. We generally advise delaying treatment until skin returns to its normal tone. This is to prevent complications from treatment.
During the 45-minute treatment, skin is treated with pulses of visible light. The intensity and duration of these pulses requires intimate knowledge of the science and physics of BroadBand Light™, something our providers have mastered over several years. Patients will feel warmth associated with BBL™. Most will report that it is uncomfortable, but tolerable. In some situations, we apply numbing cream prior to treatment. Regular use of numbing cream is discouraged because we feel it can increase risk of complications. Our providers are trained to guide you comfortably through the procedure.
Using specialized filters, BBL™ can target very specific conditions and pigment. It is ideal for improving brown spots, treating redness from rosacea, removing hair, and tightening the skin. Our providers perform BBL™ procedures in accordance with the guidelines and tutelage from Patrick Bitter, MD. Dr. Bitter is a dermatologist who is known as the leading authority on BBL™ treatments.
Immediately following the procedure, appropriate skin care is applied and ice packs are provided (if necessary) for comfort.
BBL™ filters include:
- 420: AKA “blue light”. This filter is used during our acne treatments.
- 515: This filter is great for freckles, sunspots, and darker pigment. When skin is tan or there is a lot of pigment, we start with 560 or 590 filters before progressing to the 515 filter. This is for safety reasons.
- 560: This filter targets reds and browns. It is great for flushing and rosacea.
- 590, 640, 695: These filters are used for rejuvenating darker skin types and hair removal.
- ST filters: These filters are used for non-invasive skin tightening. By heating up the dermal layer of the skin, this type of treatment can cause collagen contraction and skin tightening.
The beauty of BBL™ treatment is that there is virtually no downtime. BBL™ can also be combined with other cosmetic procedures. We often combine BBL™ with chemical peels, BOTOX® Cosmetic or Dysport®, or dermal fillers during the same appointment.
BBL™ can also be combined with treatments such as:
- Chemical peels / laser resurfacing + BBL™ = Improvement in brown spots and skin quality and texture.
- Combination BBL™ treatments = Multiple filters can be used at the same time to target hair, brown spots, and skin tightening. Care must be taken to not overheat the skin.
What is the recovery?
There is minimal downtime associated with BBL™ treatments. In patients with brown spots, the lesions will get darker before they will slough off. During this time, meticulous skin care is required.
1For more BBL™ information read Dr. Patrick Butter Jr, and Dr. Jason Pozner’s article – “Retrospective Evaluation of the Long-term Antiaging Effects of BroadBand Light Therapy”
For more information on BBL™ therapy, or to schedule a consultation to talk more about your cosmetic enhancement goals, please contact us today.