Broad Band Light/ Intense Pulsed Light and Laser Treatments- What’s Right for You?

Over the last few years, the medical esthetic industry has grown substantially and has filtered into our everyday lives. It’s no longer only within the reach of celebrities and the wealthy elite to get treatments such as botox and fillers, chemical peels and laser or IPL treatments.

Being that these treatments and technologies are much more widely available, it can be quite overwhelming to know the differences between treatments and what is the best approach.

The key is to schedule an appointment for a consultation, which depending on the clinic, will either be complimentary or fee based. Why is a consultation so important? What works for your friend or family member, is not necessarily what will work best for you. A consultation with a skin expert will help to narrow down the range of treatment options to what will best address your unique skin.

An area of major confusion that I’ve encountered is that many people do not know the difference between Laser technology and Broad Band Light Technology/Intense Pulsed Light technology. Part of the confusion is that these technologies are advanced and getting into the details of how they work can be complex. I’d like to make it as simple as possible- so here it goes.

Your skin is made up of different layers. Each layer has a corresponding depth below which is the subcutaneous layer where your fat cells, muscles and circulatory network reside.

When lasers and broad band lights are used on the skin, they are penetrating to specific depths of the skin. One of the main differences between lasers and broad band/ intense pulsed light systems, is that lasers go to a fixed depth in the skin, while BBL and IPL can penetrate to a variety of levels in the skin.

This is why there are different lasers for different types of treatments. Lasers often penetrate quite deeply into the skin, making for a more aggressive treatment with more down time and discomfort associated with these treatments.

BBL and IPL have several different wavelength options which relate to the visible light spectrum. Therefore, one piece of equipment can do several different types of treatments (photrejuvenationskin tighteningacne therapy and permanent hair removal) because it is able to target multiple depths in the skin. This technology is still quite powerful in what it can achieve, however, it is not as aggressive as laser, and has less risk of negative side effects.

Click here to read about the different types of treatments that are available with Broadband Light/Intense Pulsed Light.

The skin concerns that I advise are best treated with laser are pitted acne scars, deep lines/wrinkles and permanent hair reduction for skin types V & VI. Laser technology can resurface the skin to reduce scarring and wrinkles, whereas BBL/IPL does not resurface, but stimulates collagen production. Skin types V & VI (darker skin tones of Middle Eastern, South Asian and African descent) cannot be effectively and safely treated for hair reduction with BBL/ IPL. Look for a Lightshere Laser which is safe for use on these skin types for permanent hair reduction.

Here’s an article from the NY Times which reiterates much of the information shared here. 



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