Medical Minute: What is Forever Young BBL

Today we’re going to talk about Broadband light (BBL) treatments and ways it helps your skin stay younger for years. There are so many claims out there by laser companies about how their treatments can help people turn back time in terms of skin aging.

How do doctors and their patients navigate these claims? The trouble is that most of the claims are hard to substantiate with real science. In addition, while some technologies can cause an improvement in the appearance of skin, it’s unclear whether anything deeper than just the simulation of younger skin is taking place. It’s like when a person puts on makeup to cover up skin imperfection—the skin isn’t necessarily being rejuvenated; it just looks rejuvenated. All the makeup is doing is camouflaging irregularities, while the underlying skin imperfections remain unchanged.

The same question can be asked of the many laser, light and energy treatments in the marketplace today: Are they actually improving the skin, or just creating the appearance of improved skin? Some treatments give minimal to subtle results, while others can cause quite noticeable changes in a person’s skin. But is this similar to makeup? Are the changes simply superficial, without any long-term results? Or is there something deeper going on which can give both short-term improvement and long-term results at the same time?

Recent research performed at the Stanford University School of Medicine sheds some light on this subject.

This research has shown that one specific treatment device, called BBLTM or Broad Based Light, can cause both short-term and long-term improvement. In addition, the research shows that the device causes changes in the DNA of the skin cells that make them behave like younger cells.

How does BBLTM Work?

Deoxyribonucleic Acid or DNA is a collection of molecules in our cells which lie in the center in a structure called the nucleus. Our DNA is a record of instructions telling each cell what kind of cell it is going to be and how it should function. With age, our DNA becomes damaged by the environment and the general aging process. This aged DNA makes the cell perform less effectively and act as an “older” cell.

When it comes to skin cells, the top layer of our skin (known as the epidermis) is generated by its deepest cell layer (known as the basal cell). If this basal cell is healthy, all of the cells above it are healthy. If the basal cell is unhealthy, all of the cells above it are unhealthy. Interestingly, sun exposure will affect the DNA of this basal cell and make it unhealthy, which often happens with age. Some deeper rejuvenation procedures I perform, such as my Reset Laser Festoon Treatment and Laser Skin Resurfacing, are able to fix this DNA damage, but these procedures do have some downtime associated with them.

What makes the Stanford study truly groundbreaking is that it showed that BBL treatments have little to no down time and were able to stimulate skin cells back to a younger state by rejuvenating the actual genes and genetic code in the cells themselves.

The study compared the skin of young people who never had BBL treatment, older people with sun-damaged and aged skin, and older people with sun-damaged skin who had undergone three BBL treatments over the course of three months. Small skin biopsies were obtained from all three groups and were then analyzed for their genetic components.

Researchers looked at youthful skin at the genetic level for the markers which indicate younger skin cells. They then examined the aged skin treated with BBL and noticed that these cells, as compared to those not treated with BBL, had some of their markers (1,000 genetic expressions) reverted back to the state of the younger skin cells.

Cosmetic surgeons knew that BBL treatments caused improvement to the appearance of fine wrinkles, brown spots, red spots and vessels in the skin. But what we didn’t know was that beyond the surface improvement that was achieved, a deeper healing at the genetic level was occurring and this means the tissue was truly being ‘rejuvenated’.

So with this treatment, not only are we getting quick results; we’re likely also getting long-term rejuvenation as well.

All with a treatment that:

  • Has zero downtime: patients can resume normal activities immediately
  • Shows long-lasting results: studies include patients treated 10+ years ago
  • Is a Fast treatment: average treatment time of 12-15 minutes for a full face
  • Is effective on all body areas: face, neck, chest, arms, and hands

What are the Benefits to You and Me?

Breakthroughs like this BBL study are always exciting for me as a Doctor, because I am always striving for new ways to help my patients achieve a long-lasting improvement to their appearance not just the appearance of an improvement, but an actual, deep-seated change that literally reverses years of damage. To know that BBL involve little to no downtime is just icing on the cake.

It’s wonderful to be able to help people look and feel better about themselves through a range of services, including this new technology. Now we can tell our patients that the treatments available to improve their immediate appearance will also have a beneficial effect on their skin aging for years to come. It’s a win-win for everyone.