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Beautiful woman with nice skin
Woman with nice skin

BroadBand Light Therapy (BBL/IPL)

What is BroadBand Light Therapy (BBL)?

Broadband light therapy, or BBL, is a non-invasive laser treatment that improves and treats many skin conditions related to aging, sun damage and heredity.

This laser uses light energy to deliver pulses of light into the upper levels of the skin to stimulate collagen production, reduce melanin that is responsible for pigmented lesions (freckles and age spots) and can eliminate small blood vessels. BBL is most commonly used to treat the face, neck, chest and hands but can be used on any area of the skin. Your provider can design a treatment plan with BBL specifically for your skin concerns.

laser treatment
NOVA Plastic Surgery and Dermatology

What Skin Conditions Can be Treated with BBL?


This is a common skin condition that generally affects people over the age of 30 causing redness of the cheeks, nose, chin or forehead. If left untreated, this redness may progress to visible blood vessels and bumps or pimples on the skin. BBL uses pulsed light to heat and eliminate fine vessels that cause redness and rosacea


Facial acne occurs when pores become clogged with oil and debris resulting in redness and pimples. Acne can result in persistent redness even after active lesions have resolved. The controlled heating of sub-epidermal layers of the skin can treat overactive sebaceous glands that will result in decreased active acne lesions. The wave-length will also decrease lingering redness from prior acne lesions.

Pigmented/Sun Damaged Skin

Prolonged exposure to the UV rays of the sun can result in premature aging of the skin including discoloration, brown spots and redness. Discoloration and redness related to sun damage can be drastically improved long term with just three sessions spaced 4 weeks apart.

Vascular Lesions

These small blood vessels can occur due to aging or heredity. BBL can heat and eliminate these pesky areas.


Skin firmness and texture associated with aging can be improved through BBL. Collagen is stimulated by the heating of the tissue to promote continued younger healthy looking skin and diminish fine lines and wrinkles.

Before & After

BBL Patient 01
BBL Patient 02
BBL Patient 03

What Will be Discussed During Your Initial Consultation?

  • Discuss the procedure, what to expect during and after.
  • Develop a treatment plan that emphasizes the importance of maintenance. BBL should be done in series and requires 3-4 procedures per year to maintain results.
  • Stress the importance of sun protection before and after treatments.
  • Go over the patient’s Fitzpatrick Skin Type test and discuss what this result means for their treatment, including discussing risks for hyperpigmentation.
  • Contraindications: metal plates in the treatment area, Skin Type VI, active infections
  • If needed, write prescriptions for antivirals:Valtrex 500 MG PO BID x 5 days to start day of procedure or if possible 1 day before
  • Go over a comprehensive plan for home skin care for maintenance and discuss products.
Patient consultation
Beautiful woman in robe

What is the Recovery Process Like?

Since BBL is non-ablative and does not affect the outermost layers of the skin, the recovery process is quite simple.

You may experience some increased redness, swelling or burning like that of a mild sunburn. These symptoms may last hours to a few days. Some patients do not experience any of these at all and can see rather immediate results. Areas of pigment will initially darken and will gradually flake off or simply fade away in about one week. It is safe to apply make-up immediately following the treatment. Sunscreen is a must as your skin will be more vulnerable to the sun’s UV rays.

How Many Treatments of BBL Will I Need?

Skin redness and pigmented lesions are commonly treated with a series of three treatments spaced at least 4 weeks apart.

Chronic conditions, such as Rosacea and acne, will most likely require regular treatments for best results. Anti-aging concerns are best addressed with a few treatments per year.

Are There Any Special Considerations With BBL?

  • Hyperpigmentation: many patients who are being treated with BBL for hyperpigmentation would get an added benefit from a lightening cream such as Advanced Pigment Corrector
  • Melasma: Melasma is very challenging and should be treated with both topical bleaching creams and laser settings must be very gentle. Discuss the challenge of treating melasma with patients to set realistic expectations.
  • Acne: Acne treatments require up to 11 passes per session. It is best to use BBL in combination with topical and/or oral acne treatments at the same time. Sessions should be 1-2 a week for a minimum of 6 sessions. Destruction of P. acnes continues for a few weeks following the last BBL treatment and the effects of the treatment will be maintained until bacterial populations rebuild to their initial concentrations. Some patients may require a maintenance treatment within 3-6 months of the initial series of treatments.
  • If Botox is being done on the same day, do BBL first, then Botox. Filler should ideally not be done on the same day.

Instructions Following BBL Treatment

  • Intense burning, redness, warmth, and sunburned sensation are normal reactions following a BBL treatment. The discomfort and redness generally lasts 2-4 hours after the treatment. Cool compresses may help relieve the temporary discomfort.
  • Brown patches or spots will become darker and frequently feel scaly like coffee grounds on your skin within the first few days. Within 1-2 weeks these areas will fall off and leave new, healthy skin behind. Do not pick or scrub these spots, no matter how tempting!
  • To keep your skin lubricated, the use of a mild moisturizer, such as SkinCeuticals twice daily for the first week following the treatment is recommended.
  • Avoid the use of skin care products that contain Retin-A, Retinol, glycolic acid, or salicylic acid for 1 week.
  • Makeup can be used if there is no blistering. When applying and removing makeup treat the area with care, as it is still delicate and sensitive.
  • If the skin is broken or blisters appear, notify our office.
  • Prolonged sun exposure should be avoided for 4-weeks before and after treatments.. A total sunblock, like EltaMD or SkinCeuticals, containing zinc oxide should be applied daily if you are going to be in the sun. Unprotected exposure to the sun may cause complications such as permanent skin discoloration and severe blistering.

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