Broad Band Light Treatment, AKA BBL therapy, gently heats the upper layers of skin to induce photo rejuvenation while leaving the surrounding skin intact. The purpose of this laser procedure is to diminish or remove vascular lesions (such as blood vessels seen in rosacea, telangiectasia, or general redness), pigmented lesions (such as liver spots, freckles, age spots, and sun spots), fine lines and wrinkles, and other changes of aging and sun damage. In addition, BBL is used for hair reduction on all parts of the body.
Broad Band Light Treatment: LET’S REVIEW THE FACTS
BBL uses light that penetrates the skin and heats the selected target. The lesion may lighten or darken in color or may disappear at the time of treatment. However, the lesion may remain visible for several weeks after the procedure before it fades. The area can be covered with makeup if desired.
It usually takes more than one treatment to successfully treat the area. Depending on what is being treated, a series of treatments may be required. For effective hair reduction, it is recommended that a minimum of seven treatments should be done. Brown spots may be treated effectively with 2-3 treatments whereas rosacea may need 3-5.
Light from a laser can be harmful to eyes and wearing special safety eyewear is necessary at all times during the procedure. Light from BBL is an intense burst of light and even though the special safety eyewear is in place, you will sense light emanating from the treatment area. Patients with seizures that are induced by flashes of light should not have this procedure.
The treatment may be uncomfortable in certain areas and feel like pin pricks or bursts of heat. The use of topical anesthetics is used at the discretion of the practitioner. There are known severe allergic and other reactions to ingredients in topical anesthetics. Patients with known allergies should always inform their practitioner.
Common Side Effects and Risks with BBL
Redness and swelling may occur in the area of treatment, and this may last several hours. The pattern of the laser may be visible on the skin, but this usually fades with healing. Itching and hive-like appearance may also occur. Non-painful red or purple marks may rarely occur, but will fade with time. A cool compress placed on the area provides comfort. The treated area should be cared for delicately for at least 12-24 hours. Limited activity may be advised during healing as well as avoidance of excess heat, including hot tub, steam, sauna, or hot shower use. Other possible short-term effects include bruising, superficial crusting, and discomfort.
A blister can form up to 48 hours after treatment and should be treated with Vaseline only and kept moist, your doctor should be notified. Scarring is a rare but possible complication, but good medical treatment minimizes this risk.
Discoloration of the treated skin, including both darkening and or lightening may occur. These conditions usually resolve within 2-6 months. Permanent color change is a rare risk, but is more common in patients with darker skin types or who have had recent sun exposure. Vigilant care must be taken to avoid sun exposure or tanning beds before and after the treatment to reduce the risk of color change. Sunscreen should be applied daily.
Infection is not usual after treatment, however, herpes simplex virus infections around the mouth (also known as cold sores or fever blisters) can occur following treatments. This applies to both individuals with a past history of the virus or individuals with no known history. Should any kind of infection occur, the clinician must be notified to prescribe appropriate medical care.
Allergic reaction is uncommon from treatment. Some persons may have a hive-like appearance in the treated area as discussed above. Some persons have localized reactions to cosmetics or topical preparations. Systemic reactions are rare.
This treatment may permanently decrease hair growth in the treated area. This may be a concern if treating men in the beard area. At the same time it could be a benefit if you would like less hair in the treatment area.
The following conditions may preclude you from having Broad Band Light treatments; photosensitive conditions, auto-immune deficiency, herpes, pregnancy, breastfeeding, hormonal disease, allergies, significant skin diseases or infections, a history of skin discoloration after healing, keloid scarring , hypertrophic scarring.