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Broadband light therapy fights signs of skin aging

Article-Broadband light therapy fights signs of skin aging

Key iconKey Points

  • Broadband light produces light within visible spectrum to the infrared spectrum, with a wavelength spectrum ranging from 500 nm to 2,000 nm
  • Broadband light attracted to different structures in skin, including melanin and hemoglobin

Dr. Bitter
It is well-documented that intense pulsed light (IPL) is effective in skin rejuvenation. Spanning a wider visible spectrum, broadband light (BBL) is at least as effective, and though some may be skeptical, one expert says years of IPL or BBL treatment can be effective for combating skin aging.

"I believe that IPL, and particularly BBL, have a role in anti-aging therapy. In my observational experience, the skin areas I have treated regularly for years in my patients using IPL and more recently with BBL look years younger than the skin that did not receive these treatments in the same patient," says Patrick Bitter Jr., M.D., a dermatologist in private practice in Los Gatos, Calif.


A 58-year-old patient before (left) and eight-and-a-half years after 22 full-face IPL and BBL treatments (the last five treatments were exclusively BBL). The patient has averaged two to four IPL or BBL treatments per year, with the exception of a two-year, four-month hiatus in treatments between October 2005 and February 2008. This patient also had a BCC excised from her upper lip in October 1996, and she has had only one new BCC on the cheek since. There have been virtually no actinic keratoses appearing or requiring treatment since she started her IPL treatments. She originally started her IPL treatments for rosacea, which is currently well-controlled and nearly symptom-free. (Photos credit: Patrick Bitter Jr., M.D.)
Similar to IPL, BBL produces a light within the visible spectrum to the infrared spectrum. Most IPLs usually range between 400 nm and 1,100 nm, whereas BBL encompasses a broader wavelength spectrum and can range from 500 nm to 2,000 nm. Both IPL and BBL can address a range of cosmetic concerns, including dyspigmentation, melasma, ephelides, scars, hemangiomas, telangiectasias, acne and hair removal, achieving very similar cosmetic outcomes with no downtime. Dr. Bitter has performed IPL regularly for 14 years. Recently, he has used BBL as a skin-rejuvenation therapy in more than 7,000 patients. His protocol consists of two to four yearly treatments, but the number of treatments that patients receive could be limitless. Dr. Bitter says IPL and BBL appear to slow the aging process in the skin, because years of repeated treatments have resulted in significantly younger-looking skin.

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