Caring for our skin in the longterm goes deeper than moisturising. We know to apply sunscreen daily, to cleanse and tone after washing our faces. But sometimes, we can go a little deeper and engage in a treatment that intimately looks at the skin and works to have it appearing at its most even and smooth. One such treatment is BBL light therapy, one you may have heard of through word of mouth or from your dermatologist. But, what exactly is BBL light therapy and what can you expect from a treatment? Here, we breakdown what you need to know.
What is BBL light therapy?
Broadband light (BBL) laser therapy is often employed as a treatment for a variety of cosmetic skin concerns, with dermatologists commonly using the procedure to aid in the following:
- Treating skin conditions like acne, rosacea or spider veins
- Minimise the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles and sun damage
- Evening our skin texture and tone
The treatment is known for being fairly gentle, and is also commonly known as a photofacial, most frequently targeting the face, neck, chest and hands. However, it can be employed across the body to enhance the skin’s firmness, elasticity and pigmentation. It may also increase the body’s self-healing and ability to regrow healthy skin.
The dermatologist performing your BBL treatment will recommend how many sessions you may need, and this will be based on your current skin type, condition and aims from engaging the treatment. Three-to-six treatments spaced a few weeks apart is the typical arrangement, After the initial allocation, it is recommended you have two treatments annually to maintain and improve results.
BBL light therapy also stimulates the body’s collagen production, the protein giving structure to skin.
What happens in a BBL light therapy treatment?
At your first BBL consultation, a dermatologist examines your skin to determine which areas are needing to be targeted. From this, a treatment plan will be created involving a series of laser therapy sessions, typically lasting 30 minutes depending on the size of the area being treated.
During the procedure, a cooling gel will be applied to the treatment area, and possibly a topical anaesthetic. You yourself will be clad in safety shields and goggles to protect your eyes as a precaution. While the procedure is underway, you may experience pulses and sensations to the area, with your skin feeling warm and appearing slightly red or swollen.
BBL treatments employ a broad spectrum of wavelengths targeting the underlying layers o the skin, with the skin absorbing this energy to promote collagen production and eliminate pigmented skin cells. Within a few days or weeks of your first treatment, you should begin to see visible changes to your skin. As treatment continues, more significant changes should become apparent.
How do I prepare for my treatment?
Like most skin treatments, prior to receiving your BBL treatment, you will need to prepare your skin in advance. Four-to-six weeks prior to and after each session, you must avoid direct sunlight and tanning. In addition to this, for at least one week prior to your treatment, avoid waxing, chemical peels and any products containing retinol, salicylic acid or glycolic acid.
After your sessions, avoid anything that causes sweating for at least two days, including exercise, hot temperatures, saunas and spicy food.
It is also important to speak with your health professional to ensure it safe to cease taking any medications that may cause photosensitivity, which is an intense sensitivity to UV light.
How effective is BBL light therapy?
As mentioned earlier, you can expect to see noticeable changes to your skin within a few days after your first BBL light therapy treatment. Any blemishes and blood vessels typically clear up within a few weeks. Two weeks post-treatment, skin may feel smoother and appear more even, with fewer discolouration and fine lines visible.
What are the side effects of the treatment?
In the weeks following your treatment, you may notice pigment rising to the surface of the skin, with redness, peeling and swelling also common. Dark spots and freckles may darken begore fading and flaking off, this typically occurring within one-to-three weeks.
As the skin’s melanin absorbs the light energy in BBL treatments, the procedure is ideal for those with pale, untanned skin. Those who have a darker skin tone are more prone to experience burning, hyperpigmentation or scarring due to their skin containing ore melanin.
When washing the area that has been treated, avoid hot or cold water and rather find the happy medium of lukewarm water. Unscented, gentle skincare products can be applied, bit avoid scratching or rubbing the skin.