what to expect: BBL/IPL

Broadband Light (BBL) and Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) technology is an innovation based on the principle of selective photothermolysis and photochemical effects. BBL and IPLare like a laser, but instead of just one wavelength of light, it is made up of a band of wavelengths. This broad band light reacts with the skin tissue for the treatment of acne, pigmented/vascular lesions, and skin discoloration (freckles, sun spots, etc.).  


  • Stop topical Retinols and Retin-A (tretinoin) 5-7 days prior to treatment.
  • If you have a history of cold sores (herpes simplex) we can provide a prescription to prevent an outbreak. This is started the day before the procedure.
  • You should not be suntanned before any IPL treatment, including self-tanner
  • For photofacials: please arrive with clean skin and no makeup

Day of Procedure:  

A clear gel is applied to the skin. The device beeps with each pulse and this is repeated many times.  There may be a slight odor from the warming of your skin.  A little discomfort can be expected but most people do not require a topical anesthetic. This is available for a small fee if necessary. Please avoid flushing (intense workout, hot yoga) for 2-3 days after the procedure, especially if treating redness/rosacea.


  • Once the treatment is over your skin will likely be red. Cool compresses may be soothing.  Keep the skin hydrated with moisturizer, HA serum or both. 
  • Avoid sun exposure until you are healed. Wear sunblock every day. 
  • Healing time varies with the type and aggressiveness of treatment. 
  • For pigmented areas, the skin will darken immediately and form a crust in the first day or two. This will slowly slough on its own. It is important never to pick at the crust or you may scar or worsen pigmentation. The skin should be completely healed within 1-2 weeks.
  • For redness the skin may be red and a little puffy for a day or two. Red lesions usually fade within the first 1-2 weeks. 
  • We expect you will see continued improvement with each day.  You must however, continue to avoid wind and direct sun.  Do not pick your skin; resist the temptation to peel away any flakes.

Possible side effects:

  • Short-term effects may include reddening, swelling, bumps, mild burning, temporary bruising or blistering.  Any reddening will generally fade within 2-3 days.  Hyperpigmentation (browning of skin) and Hypopigmentation (lightening of skin), although rare, may occur. These conditions usually resolve within 3 – 6 months, but permanent color change and/or scarring is a rare risk, less than 1%. Avoiding sun exposure before and after treatment reduces the risk of color change. 
  • Infection following treatment is quite unusual, but bacterial, fungal and viral infections can occur. Herpes simplex virus infections around the mouth can be stimulated by laser treatment. This applies to both individuals with a past history of herpes simplex virus infections and individuals with no known history of herpes simplex virus infections in the mouth area. Should any type of skin infection occur, additional skin treatments or medical antibiotics may be necessary. 
  • Allergic reactions, although very rare, may occur. Local skin allergies to topical preparations, tape, or preservatives used in cosmetics can occur.  Avoid irritants such as products containing glycolic acid or Retin-A in the area for 5-7 days.
  • Laser light could cause serious eye injury; protective eyewear must be worn during treatment.

If any of the conditions above persist, please consult your physician immediately.

Occasionally unforeseen scheduling or device issues may occur and your appointment will need to be rescheduled. We will make every effort to notify you prior to your arrival to the office. Please be understanding if we cause you any inconvenience.

Results: Best results happen after a series of treatments. 

  • Laser hair removal requires multiple treatments, usually between 6 - 10 treatments, but can occasionally require fewer or more.
  • Pigmented lesions lighten after each treatment and often require a series of 3 or more. We highly recommend adding a pigment correcting serum for best results.
  • Redness and dilated vessels sometimes respond after only one treatment but usually require a series of 3 or more.
  • BBL and IPL can be used in combination with other treatments (chemical peels, laser, skin care products) to maximize results. 
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