BBL or broadband light is an effective treatment for acne. It can give good results within a few days. This treatment is best for inflammatory acne, & less useful for blackhead acne. Blue light reduces bacterial overgrowth, yellow light reduces inflammation, & IR light stimulates collagen.
- BBL stands for broad band light or intense pulse light
- Light in the blue & red spectrum can kill acne forming bacteria
- BBL & lasers are ideally suited for patients who want to avoid creams & medications
- Results can be seen within a few days
- 3-4 sessions are ideal
- Addition of a photosensitive gel can enhance results
BBL Forever Clear Acne Treatments at a glance
Our results speak for themselves
Physical exfoliation to reduce blackheads & oily skin
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Chemical peels including salicylic acid & retinoic acid are excellent methods to reduce acne lesions
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Intense pulse light is a mediation free method of treating acne. BBL concentrates blue light whilst filtering out the dangerous UV spectrum.
The bacteria found in acne lesions are sensitive to both blue & red light, hence the basis behind BBL Forever Clear.
Zits, pimples, & pustules do best with these treatments as they are packed with c.acnes bacteria. The blue light spectrum of BBL Forever Clear targets the bacterial rich environment.
Blue light should be avoided in patients with darker skin types as PIH or pigment scarring can be worsened – see below for an explanation.
This treatment program delivers concentrated blue light into the acne lesion, killing c.acnes- the bacteria implicated to cause acne.
The next step is to deliver yellow light as this reduces inflammation secondary to bacterial overgrowth.
The last step involves IR or infrared light that can theoretically increase collagen & mitigate acne scars.
Most cases will come back, however some cases go into remission. Light therapy* only targets bacteria that cause acne.
Medical therapy targets the four causes of acne, including sebum (oil) overproduction, bacteria, inflammation, & abnormal shedding of cells.
*Yellow light, in theory reduces inflammation, however there are limited studies demonstrating clinical effects.
BBL Forever Clear can treat the face, neck, chest, shoulders & back. It can be an effective way to clear truncal acne, including bacne. BBL is not a good treatment for hormonal or jawline acne.
*For best results, lasers, BBL & phototherapy is only used on pimples & zits. Blackheads, congestion, & comedonal acne respond best to simple salicylic acid peels.
It is widely known that darker skin types (ethnics, including Asian & Middle Eastern) have blue light receptors on pigment cells known as Opsin 3 or OPN3.
The main emitting spectrum of BBL Forever Clear emits blue light that kills bacteria, but unfortunately can worsen post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.
On this basis we elect to treat darker skin types with lasers that emit red light.
Blue light can be effective in treating acne. Our specialist team of dermatologists & nurses can deliver phototherapy using low level lasers as well as broad band light using Lumenis & Sciton BBL Forever Clear.
Dermatologists at Cutis have extensive expertise in the treatment of darker skin patients.
For this patient cohort we use light in the red spectrum, delivered via low level laser emission, or pulse dye laser as this has much less effects on the pigment cells compared to blue light BBL Forever Clear.
For post-inflammatory pigmentation we employ pico lasers including Picoway & Picosure Pro.
Though BBL & lasers are safe in the context of treating acne (questionable for darker skin patients), their effects are temporary. Therefore dermatologists are cautious in prescribing this treatment for patients who have no contraindication to medications.
If you receive good clearance & remission with BBL, then the answer is yes. If BBL improves your acne but does not totally clear it, then it is questionable.
If you have a propensity to scar, consider treatments that give you total clearance & a high chance of remission. Why? Because if you still have active acne, scarring will most likely worsen.
BBL & light emitting diodes are more effective for papular & pustular acne, namely zits & pimples. They are less useful in the management of –
- Blackhead & comedonal acne.
- Cystic acne, as this has a propensity to scar
- Hormonal acne (jawline). This form of acne is super deep.
- Acne in darker skin types as blue light from BBL can potentially worsen pigmentation.
BBL & lasers are ideally suited for patients who desire a temporary improvement in their acne & who would like to avoid creams & medications.
At Cutis we offer these treatments to the public, but we are careful to warn them that acne will most likely return after treatment. BBL is ideally suited for pregnant women, those contemplating conception & those who are breastfeeding.
Look, we get it, business is a commercial venture. There is however a cross over when it comes to medical ethics. If a patient has a few pimples & would like cleaner skin, yes, there is an argument that they are a sitting target for sales. Heck, Proactive does it, so does Kleresca & many other companies. Market away.
Where we get p*ssed off is when acne is medical. Take for example cystic acne, or deep painful hormonal acne. These forms of acne have a high incidence of acne scars. They also frequently give emotional scars that can be lifelong.
In these groups of patients (not clients, not consumers), acne treatments should be managed ethically with remission in mind, not commercially. Tell it like it is, let the patient decide.
The name of Forever Clear is not ethically right. In fact, it is misleading. If it was the name of a cancer drug, the company would have been sued within an hour of launching. Does Cutis Dermatology own & support devices from Sciton? Absolutely. We use their devices daily, including BBL.
Acne treatments are a big financial decision for patients. You should carefully consider the following-
Long-term efficacy of treatments: Are treatments temporary or have they got studies backing long-term studies?
Safety: Is blue light really safe for darker skin types?
Options: are there more cost-effective options for patients? Will topicals give better results in comparison to BBL Forever Clear treatments?