How does BBL work?
The light energy delivered by the BBL will gently heat the upper layers of your skin. The heat absorbed by the targeted areas will stimulate your skin cells to regenerate new collagen. This process will restore your skin to its natural beauty, blending its natural colors and making it smoother, vibrant, and younger-looking. In addition, the photothermal energy will eliminate fine vessels that cause redness and reduce unwanted melanin that produces pigmented lesions.
What conditions can be treated with BBL?
- Pigmented Lesions (e.g., freckles, age spots and other hyperpigmentation)
- Vascular Lesions (e.g., small blood vessels, rosacea, hemangiomas)
Many/most conditions for which BBL are useful need a series of treatments to reach the desired or optimal improvement, from one to six or more. Some lesions/conditions lighten/improve, but do not completely disappear. Other lesions/conditions may respond minimally or not at all to this treatment. After an initial treatment series, periodic maintenance treatments are recommended for many/most conditions. Although BBL is effective in most cases, no guarantees can be made that a specific patient will benefit from treatment.
What areas can be treated?
Any area of your body can be treated. The most common areas are those most exposed to the damaging effects of sunlight. The most popular treatments are on the face, neck, back of the hands, chest, and shoulders.
How many treatments will I need?
The number of treatments required will vary from patient to patient and your provider will personalize a treatment plan based on the level of improvement you desire. Although one treatment is beneficial, a series of treatments is usually recommended. Multiple treatments (3-6) may be necessary over 2-4 week intervals. For acne, 1-2 week intervals are recommended. After the initial treatment series, periodic maintenance may be advised (depending upon condition/s treated). Your provider may also combine your treatment with other popular aesthetic procedures to further personalize your treatment.
What will happen during the procedure?
Your eyes will be protected with safety shields or glasses. You may briefly feel a warm or “rubber band snap” sensation as the light is absorbed by the targeted areas. Your procedure may take a few minutes to half an hour depending on the size of the area to be treated and the type of procedure performed. Your provider will discuss all of your options with you.
Will it be uncomfortable?
The procedure is gentle, non-invasive, and safe. Generally, there is no need for a topical anesthetic, however, your provider may choose to use it on more sensitive areas.
What should I expect after the treatment?
You may experience some redness that should resolve within a few hours. For some pigmented lesions, you will see a darkening of the treated areas followed by fading and flaking off at a later stage. Your treated skin will feel smoother, fine lines and pores will be less noticeable, and sunspots or uneven pigmentation will fade. Results depend on your condition, the number of treatments and the area treated. Your provider will provide you with complete information about the post-treatment care and results.
How long will it take to recover?
This is a noninvasive and gentle procedure with virtually no downtime. In most cases, you are able to return to work, apply makeup, and resume most of your activities immediately. In general, improvement is progressive and gradual, occurring over 2-8 weeks after each treatment, depending upon the condition treated. Occasionally, focal to extensive purpura (bruising of red-purple color) is present, which will last or gradually fade over 5-10 days or sometimes more.
What aftercare do I need?
It is important to follow your provider’s instructions. You may be given some skincare products and instructions on how to use them. You will be sensitive to ultraviolet light and you must avoid direct sun exposure until completely healed. Fully cover your skin or use good sunscreen whenever you go outdoors.
Contraindications (i.e. patients who are not good candidates) to BBL treatment may include (but are not limited to) those patients who:
- are sensitive to light or take medication that is known to increase sunlight sensitivity, such as Acutane and Gold therapy
- have a seizure disorder triggered by light
- are sunburned or suntanned or have a very dark skin color (black skin color / e. Fitzpatrick skin type 6)
Avoid sun exposure, tanning beds & creams for 2-4 weeks prior and throughout the BBL treatment course; (no suntan).
If unavoidable, treatment sessions may need to be increased due to reduced fluence (i.e. energy) settings or even canceled if recently exposed. Do not use aspirin, ibuprofen, vitamin E, Ginko, or alcohol for at least 1 week before and for the first 2 days after treatment (of vascular targets).
Post-BBL Care Instructions
- Apply a soothing ointment or Aloe Vera as needed to treated area/s to prevent drying and for soothing (e.g. Post Laser Gel, Eucerin, Aquafor/Hydrofor)
- If the treated area scales or scabs up, apply a thin coat of antibiotic ointment (i.e. Bacitracin or Polysporin) to the treated area twice daily for 7 days, or until the surface looks Cover with Telfa non-stick gauze (or similar) as needed. Change daily.
- Do not rub, scratch, or pick the area(s), as treated areas may be more fragile for up to several days or more after
- Makeup is permitted immediately after treatment (as long as skin is intact), be very gentle when applying or removing
- You may get the treated area wet, but be very gentle when drying Pat dry after showering.
- Swimming/saunas/hot tubs/exercise are generally permitted after 1-2 days or once all crusts (if any) have fallen off (usually, 5-10 days).
- Avoid/minimize sun exposure, as best as possible, for 2-4 weeks before and after treatment and throughout treatment
- Wear protective clothing (hat, ) and a broad spectrum (UVA/UVB), high SPF (at least SPF 30) sunblock. to protect the treated area from direct sun exposure. Apply after any other topicals.
- You may help relieve any swelling by applying an ice pack wrapped in a soft cloth 5-10 minutes/hour for several or more
- Take Tylenol or another pain reliever that contains no aspirin or ibuprofen, if
- If the treated area becomes increasingly tender, red, swollen, and/or purulent or itchy contact our office immediately as this may represent an infection or allergic reaction that may require
- Please inform us of any areas with artificial/permanent make-up or tattoos as we usually try to avoid these areas.
What are the possible side effects and complications of BBL treatment?
Pain/Discomfort – BBL causes mild discomfort. Patients describe a BBL pulse as feeling like “being snapped with a rubber band”, or like the slight sting of a mosquito bite. Most patients tolerate treatment with no need for anesthesia. Mild short term post-BBL discomfort may occur.
Blistering/Crusting of the Healing Wound – Rarely, a blister, crust, or superficial wound forms that require care. This crusting does not mean infection. Apply a topical antibiotic ointment like Bacitracin or Polysporin until healed; usually, within 5-10 days.
Pigment Changes – Treated areas may heal with temporary increased pigmentation (aka hyperpigmentation, i.e. skin color darkening), particularly in darker skin types. We advise avoiding direct, unprotected (i.e. without using a full-strength (SPF 30 or >) sunblock) sun exposure of the treated sites.
Bruising – (Vascular lesion targeted) BBL treatment may cause a focal to generalized purple bruising called purpura in the treated area(s). This may last 5-10 days or sometimes more. Make-up may be applied immediately after BBL if so desired. Short term redness (without bruising) of several hours or more may occur. Unwanted Hair Reduction/Removal – If treating for conditions other than hair removal.
Swelling – (Hives/Urticarial-like response) – After BBL treatment, the skin may slightly swell, especially skin of the eyelid, cheek, or nose. Ice packs help to reduce this. Swelling is normal and does not mean infection or scarring.