What to expect

  • Complications, though rare, can occur and should be discussed and understood. 
  • You must understand the importance of the post-treatment instructions, and that failure to comply may increase the potential for complications.
  • Scarring, though rare, can occur following any intense light procedure.
  • Histamine/Hives: some patients develop raised urticaria similar to hives. This irritation usually subsides in a few hours.
  • Pigmentary changes: hyperpigmentation or hypopigmentation may occur. There is a higher risk in darker skin types.
  • Purpura, which is purplish bruising, may occur in the treated area and may appear to be the size and shape of the BBL crystal. These bruises may last for 1-2 weeks. Purpura usually results from having the pulse width too short and/or fluence too high during the treatment. Purpura could also occur from the concomitant use of anticoagulant medications.
  • Swelling around the eyes and bridge of the nose may occur immediately after a BBL treatment and may remain for 24-48 hours.

Post-Treatment Instructions

  • The treated area must be treated with care. BE GENTLE! Do not scratch or pick at your skin
  • Subsequent treatments are based upon your clinician’s recommendation and are typically 2-6 weeks apart.
  • Until sensitivity has completely subsided, avoid all of the following:
    1. Use of scented lotions or soaps, exfoliating creams (Retin-A, glycolic/salicylic and alpha-hydroxyl acids), acne creams or gels, loofa sponges and aggressive scrubbing
    2. Hot or cold water – wash with tepid water
    3. Shaving
    4. Swimming pools and spas with multiple chemicals/chlorine
    5. Activities that cause excessive perspiration
  • A cold compress or an ice pack can be used to provide comfort if the treated area is especially warm. This is typically only needed within the first 12 hours after the treatment.
  • The skin may appear red and swollen and have a mild sunburn sensation. This is a normal reaction. It can last from a few hours to days after treatment. Applying an ice pack for the first 24 hours will help minimize swelling.
  • Vitamin E or Aloe Vera applied to the treatment area may provide a soothing effect. Post-treatment discomfort is typically minimal but if the area is very uncomfortable, oral pain relievers; i.e. Extra Strength Paracetamol or Advil, may be used.
  • Freckles and sunspots may turn slightly darker initially and then flake off within 7-14 days. This is a desired and normal reaction.
  • There may be erythema (redness) and slight edema (swelling) around the treated vessels. Often they are lighter in appearance and look somewhat smudgy or less defined.
  • Makeup may be applied immediately after the treatment as long as skin integrity has not been compromised.
  • In the unusual case of crusting of the skin in the treated area, apply an antibiotic ointment twice a day to the affected areas. Do not pick at these areas, as this may result in infection or scarring.
  • If the skin is broken or a blister appears, apply an antibiotic ointment and contact the office immediately. Keep the affected area moist and avoid direct sunlight.
  • Strictly avoid any sun exposure to the treated area for a minimum of 7 days after the procedure. The treated area is more prone to sunburn and pigmentation change. Keep the area covered and use a sunblock with a protection factor of 30+, and reapply every 2 hours. Delayed blistering secondary to sun exposure has been noted up to 72 hours post-treatment.
  • If in the middle of a series of Photo Therapy treatments, sun exposure should be avoided between treatments and sunblock should be used daily.