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BBL BROADBAND LIGHT (Intense pulsed light IPL, Fotofacial) FAQs

What is BBL BroadBand Light?

BBL is an innovative light-based technology that sets new standards for treating skin conditions associated with aging, active life-styles and sun damage.


How does BBL work?

BBL deposits pulses of light energy that gently heats the upper layers of skin. Within the skin, the light energy is absorbed by targets, such as fine, broken vessels that cause redness and brown spots or pigmented lesions that are caused by an overproduction of melanin. This scientific and biological process destroys the target, eliminating it from the skin and restoring it to its natural beauty, blending its natural tones, making it more vibrant and youthful in appearance and touch.


What conditions can be treated with BBL?

  • Pigmented Lesions (e.g., freckles, age spots, melasma)
  • Vascular Lesions (e.g., small blood vessels, rosacea and other micro-capillary flushing conditions)
  • Acne
  • Skin laxity
  • Uneven Skin Texture
  • Unwanted Hair


What areas can be treated?

Any area of your body can be treated. The most popular treatments are on the face, neck, back of the hands, chest and shoulders.


Can tanned skin be treated?

An active tan from the sun or tanning beds is not appropriate for treating with BBL. Tanned skin has a lot of pigment or melanin that may also absorb the BBL light energy. It is recommended that a person does not have sun exposure in the area to be treated for a period of 3-4 weeks prior to treatment with BBL. Self tanners must be faded from the skin for at least 7 to 10 days prior to treatment.


How many treatments will I need?

The number of treatments needed varies from patient to patient and your clinician will personalize a treatment plan based on your skin.  Most patients will need 2-3 treatments for full improvement.  Maintenance treatments, for example every Fall/Winter, are often advised to maintain results.  Also, data shows that the aging process of the skin can be significantly delayed through regularly spaced BBL every 6-12 months.  

What will happen during the procedure?

Your eyes will be protected with safety shields or glasses. You may briefly feel a hot or “rubber band snap” sensation as the light is absorbed by the targeted areas. Your procedure may take a few minutes to a half an hour depending on the size of the area to be treated and the type of procedure performed.


It it painful?

Most patients elect to have topical numbing applied in the office 30 minutes prior to the procedure.  With topical numbing, pain is tolerable, 4-5/10. 


What should I expect after the treatment?

A sunburn like reaction with redness and/or swelling is expected. This usually lasts 2-3 days but can persist 7-plus days. Any preexisting brown lesions may initially look raised and/or darker with a reddened perimeter. (Pigmented areas usually continue to improve over the several weeks after treatment). Scaling and fine crusting (“coffee grounding”) of the treated area is expected and usually resolves within 5-7 days. Do NOT pick any peeling or crusted areas, as this can contribute to pigment change, scarring and infection.

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.


What are the risks of BBL?

Risks include but are not limited to lightening or darkening of treated skin, crusting, scabbing, scarring, reactivation of cold sores, infection, redness, accidental hair removal, swelling and bruising.


What aftercare do I need?

You will be given some skin care products and instructions on how to use them. Strict sun avoidance essential, especially in the one month before and two weeks after treatment.


Will insurance cover this procedure?

BBL phototherapy, like other cosmetic procedures, are not usually covered by your insurance.