Skip to main content

What's Up Magazine

The Skin You're In: Three little letters changing the face of laser light therapy

Nov 18, 2015 02:00PM ● By Cate Reynolds

This patient had BBL performed to address pigmentation (a.k.a. brown spots).

By Lisa A. Lewis and Lisa J. Gotto


With all the acronyms flying across social media and our cell screens these days it could be easy to miss that last one, but if you’re conscientious about your appearance and always want to look your best, BBL is another acronym worth knowing.

In cosmetic circles “BBL” stands for Broad Band Light and while the practice of using laser light technology to improve the quality of skin and address problem areas on the skin has been around for the better part of two decades, recent advancements in this technology now make it more effective and easier than ever for you to shed some years along with some outdated skin cells.

Who Knew?

If you were like many of us, when you were in your teens and 20s, you either didn’t know or didn’t care about the side effects that all that sun worshipping would have on you. Side effects like discolored patches on the skin, brown spots and even dilation, or enlargement of veins underneath the skin. Collectively, it is side effects like these that now stand between you and looking younger. Even pitting and scarring from previous bouts with acne can make you look older.

If this sounds like you, you may be an ideal candidate for Sciton® BBL™ Broadband Light therapy. During this procedure, light energy delivered by the laser gently heats the upper layers of your skin and stimulates your skin cells to generate new collagen, which helps restore your skin to its natural beauty—removing irregular pigmentation and making it smoother and younger looking.

“There are many IPL [Intense Pulsed Light] laser systems, but the Sciton® BBL™ Broadband Light represents the top of the line in technology and is the most clinical laser used by doctors,” says Henry D. Sandel, IV, M.D., F.A.C.S., a facial plastic surgeon at the Sandel Center for Facial Plastic Surgery in Annapolis. “Although the technology isn’t new, the ability to control it has evolved—allowing doctors to use BBL broadband light energy to target a patient’s problem areas with a greater level of precision. The treatment is customized to fit the patient’s specific needs, and the expected results are fairly predictable.

And It’s Non-Evasive!

The most common conditions treated with BBL are brown sunspots on your face, neck, chest, and hands, small veins on your cheeks and around your nose, rosacea, birthmarks, and dark hair on light skin. For optimal results, you typically require three treatments, which are scheduled three weeks apart. The procedure causes minimal or no discomfort and requires no downtime. You can resume your regular activities—even applying makeup—immediately. The duration of the treatment depends on your desired results and may last a few minutes to half an hour. BBL is appropriate for both men and women, and patients in their 40s and 50s who want to remove troublesome sun damage are ideal candidates. Even patients in their early 30s who are just beginning to notice a difference in their skin resulting from sun exposure can benefit from this enhanced technology.

What To Expect

Dr. Sandel typically pre-treats your skin with a topical numbing cream. The cream is removed, and a thin layer of clear gel is placed on your skin. During treatment with the laser, eye protection is used, and you feel a sensation similar to that of a rubber band snap. Ice packs are applied for five to ten minutes after the procedure. If brown spots are treated, you will notice a “peppering” of your skin that gently flakes away after a week or two, but there is no peeling.

“I enjoy performing BBL on patients who didn’t realize the technology existed,” says Sandel. “Perhaps they heard about it from a friend, so they decided to try it, and they’re amazed by the results. They can’t believe how easy it was and that they didn’t do it sooner. Seeing their reaction is a very rewarding experience for me.”

Dr. Henry D. Sandel IV specializes in facial cosmetic surgery, laser skin rejuvenation, and nonsurgical procedures. To learn more about his approach to BBL therapy or to schedule a consultation, call 410-266-7120 or visit