Published: Sep 09, 2021
IPL vs BBL: Comprehensive Overview
IPL and BBL are similar forms of light therapy, but it’s important to learn the differences between them to determine which works best for you. This overview will shed light on those differences and the effectiveness of IPL and BBL to help you find out which treatment fits best.
What is BBL Therapy?
BBL is short for broadband light. Specifically, it is a broadband light device that uses several wavelengths of light to target redness and brown pigment on light skin. Recognized as a kind of laser, it is part of a procedure that pinpoints spots with a series of high-intensity flashes.
Patients mostly receive treatment for face, neck, chest, and arm irregularities, but BBL can be performed on all body areas. There is no recovery time, but it will require several follow-ups and maybe an annual appointment, typically after summer.
BBL can eliminate and prevent many skin-related issues such as:
- Broken blood vessels and capillaries
- Acne scars
- Frown lines
- Pore size and hair removal
Most importantly, BBL works best with lighter skin tones, as BBL can cause the opposite effect on darker skin tones. This effect is what’s referred to as hyperpigmentation of the skin. Dark pigments tend to absorb more light than lighter pigments during BBL, which is designed to rid the skin of dark spots.
People perfect for BBL would be those who don’t have a tan, don’t use hyperpigmentation-causing medications, but do have the above skin problems. In those areas, there can be a bit of inconvenience, but many aestheticians can work with you on that.
Overall, you will find many older people attracted to BBL because it rejuvenates the face. This is because broadband light gradually heats the dermis, causing a tightening of the skin for a younger look. Unfortunately, the BBL treatment isn’t the best fit.
What is IPL Therapy?
IPL (intense pulsed light), also known as photofacial, was forgotten in the wake of BBL. The reason for this is because although IPL work towards the same outcomes as BBL - with similar complex ways of utilizing light frequencies - IPL has become a little controversial. But let’s outline the similarities and differences first.
IPL uses a computer-controlled flashgun that delivers blinding wavelengths of pulsing light to the skin; You will see this, but you won’t see it filters out harmful wavelengths that can damage the skin. The light, just like BBL, heats and destroys unnecessary skin cells selectively. For IPL, this includes:
- Wrinkles and freckles
- Varicose vein
- Age spots
- Body hair
- Sun damage
IPL is designed to target specific areas, unlike BBL, which can be seen as more thorough and effective. It is usually for unwanted hair removal but is increasingly applied in the fields of optometry and ophthalmology. Both are best for fair skin tones, but the spectrum of skin tones it works well for seems to broaden for BBL.
Common Thoughts About the Treatments
The problem with IPL lies in the cross between what’s cosmetic and what’s medical. It is mentioned above that varicose veins are treated. Varicose veins are enlarged, twisted veins in the body that are benign overall. The issue comes with the desire for a better outer appearance. With age, veins protrude, which can be seen as unattractive. The point of cosmetic treatment is to do the opposite.
IPL corrects this, but it is important to note that seeking skin therapy treatment deters medical treatment. Thus, symptoms are not getting handled with the seriousness that medical practice has, and light therapy unfortunately treads that line.
IPL has been used for over 20 years before being approved for use, but poor light therapy treatment over time will cause burns. This is troubling for many, as burned skin is more likely to develop skin cancer. As it stands, people are worried about the long-term effects of these treatments and thus migrate to BBL.
As long as anyone lives, they will have a want or need for skin treatment since it is a reoccurring issue. Light therapy capitalizes on this. That is why it is important to weigh long-term effects against skin issues you may be able to solve at home.
And many have done that with IPL home devices since IPL is like a laser treatment. Lasers are simpler, which is why regular people can feel comfortable trying IPL hair removal products at home. Light therapy overall uses several layers of light that need to be interchanged by doctors for the best approach. For BBL, you won’t see many home care products .
Which One is Right for You?
Now that you better understand BBL and IPL, it’s time to make your decision. Light therapy is interesting in its own way, but let’s talk more about what all patients care about the most. Which is safest, more convenient, and less expensive? Quell those worries by doing the following:
1. Understanding Your Skin Problems
While many may want to try these procedures, understand that certain biological reasons may prevent you from doing so. Having skin cancer, for one, or being pregnant for another is not advised mostly because the research is not conclusive for these conditions.
2. Being Mindful of Your Phenotype
Your hair color, skin tone, and type must be taken into account for the appropriate treatment. IPL works with dark hair rather than light and BBL is best for dark to medium hair. Regarding skin tone, it is the amount of melanin present in the uppermost level of your skin, while skin type deals with what’s underneath that layer.
Of course, your anesthesiologist will advise you on this. What’s important is that you seek a medical opinion on the matter. Ignoring the advice will only exacerbate some of the issues you are seeking help with eliminating in the first place.
3. Noting the Consistency of Each Treatment
Both are performed in the wintertime and springtime. Summertime is sun exposure time, so it is usually after summer that patients receive additional treatment for accumulated pigment. Both require a few sessions for the best results.
4. Planning for After-Treatment Care
Treatment for both procedures brings pigment to the surface that looks like coffee grounds, but many can continue with their day right after. You might even be able to wear makeup. However, medical professionals will warn against working out or using a sauna in the 24-hour aftermath of your session.
In addition, there will be redness and swelling. You will also be advised to take measures to avoid the sun like wearing a sun hat and applying SPF50.
5. Calculating all expenses
Above all, it may come down to what you can afford. IPL tends to be a little more on the expensive side. The average cost of treatment is 700 to 1200 dollars. BBL falls just short of that around 400-600 dollars. Both are cosmetic treatments, therefore most health plans won’t cover the costs.
Moreover, the severity of your condition will determine additional costs for anesthesia, follow-up care, and medications.