What is BBL broadband light?
Broadband light (BBL) is an innovative technology designed to treat common skin conditions associated with ageing and sun damage. BBL uses the unique properties of light energy to interact with cosmetically undesirable blemishes, such as freckles, sun spots and visible facial veins. Exposure to this specialised light minimises the target blemishes and stimulates the skin to rejuvenate itself. By adjusting the machine’s parameters, your dermatologist is able to tailor the treatment to match your skin’s condition and your desired results.
What will BBL treatment do?
The goal of our BBL technology is to minimise the number and intensity of discoloured blemishes on the skin and to ultimately make the skin more uniform in tone. Your skin will be smoother and more vibrant, and it will have a more youthful appearance as a result.
What conditions can be treated with BBL?
- age spots
- small facial veins (telangiectasia)
- redness and flushing
- solar lentigines (freckles) and brown spots
- port wine stains
- red spots (haemangiomas)
- burn erythema
- coarse, dark hair
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 for the face, neck, back of the hands, and the chest.
How long will it take to recover?
This is a non-invasive procedure with little down-time. Redness and swelling persisting through the first evening, and sometimes into the next day, is standard. In most cases, you will be able to return to work, apply make-up, and resume most of your activities the next day. Brown patches will darken and take a week or so to clear. This gives a rather ‘dirty’ appearance to the skin. Make-up usually hides this on the face.
What should I expect after the treatment?
You may experience some redness that should resolve within a few hours to a day. For some pigmented lesions, you will see a darkening of the treated areas, followed by fading and flaking off at a later stage, typically over 7 to 10 days. After the initial healing phase, you should begin to appreciate an improvement in skin tone and quality.
The first treatment typically produces the most evident improvement, as the greatest number of red and brown targets are present prior to the initial therapy. Energies are usually increased at subsequent visits to maintain response. It is typical for less redness and dirty flaking to be noted with subsequent treatments.
Results depend on your condition, the number of treatments, and the area treated. Your dermatologist will provide you with complete information about the post-treatment care, and your results.
Will it be uncomfortable?
There is discomfort, often described as a hot elastic band flicked onto the skin. However, this varies from patient to patient and depends on the depth of treatment. There is no need for a topical anaesthetic; however, your dermatologist may choose to use one on more sensitive areas. A cold air blower is used, and this provides substantial relief from discomfort. Inhalational anaesthesia can be used if the above measures are not adequate. However, it is only a small minority of patients who would require this step. Your dermatologist will recommend the best options during your consultation.
What will happen during the procedure?
Your eyes will be protected with safety shields or glasses. You may briefly feel a hot elastic 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 dermatologist will discuss all of your options with you.
Initially, one or two pulses are performed at average energies to determine the individual patient’s response. These are observed for five minutes or so before full-face treatment is performed. This is more critical in patients of darker skin type.
What aftercare do I need?
It is important to follow your dermatologist’s instructions. You may be given some skincare products and instructions on how to use them. These will minimise your risk of inflammation or redness and ensure the shortest healing time. You will be sensitive to ultraviolet light and you must avoid direct sun exposure until you are fully healed. Fully cover your skin or use a good sunscreen (SPF30+) whenever you go outdoors.
What are the side-effects of BBL photorejuvenation treatment?
As with any therapy, scarring is possible, but it is a rare side-effect of BBL treatment.
Redness is normal following treatment, and usually fades over a day or two, dependent on the intensity of treatment.
Patterning is possible as a side-effect after the first treatment, but it usually clears with a subsequent treatment, which fills in any skipped areas. This is more commonly seen on the neck and chest.
Patients with darker skin type are more prone to pigment disturbances, especially temporary darkening, and then loss of pigment if the energies are too high. An initial mild treatment is recommended for this group of patients.
As per any injury, infection is possible but is unusual following treatment.
Male patients may experience temporary loss of dark hair from the treatment area, but this typically returns within 2 to 3 months.
Also, patients are advised to anticipate the contrast between skin in the treatment area compared to untreated skin (for example, improvement in facial skin after treatment may exaggerate damage on the neck and chest). Likewise, although every effort is made to blend treated and untreated zones, improved skin on the neck and chest may highlight adjacent damage on the shoulders and arms.
Finally, whilst not a side-effect, response to treatment is often partial. For example, redness and blood vessels will improve but will not completely clear. It is often difficult to obtain a greater response. More aggressive therapies, using other systems, are available.
How many treatments will I need?
From 2 to 5 treatments, at four-week (or longer) intervals, will produce the desired results. You may benefit from additional treatments, depending on the severity of your condition.
Response to the first treatment will determine energies used in subsequent treatments, and the rate at which you will improve.
Maintenance treatment may keep blemishes and skin conditions such as rosacea at bay, and may be performed once every 1 to 2 years, depending on individual lifestyle and skin behaviour.