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Does BBL increase the risk of skin cancer?

Question posted by Anonymous from Canada

Does either the light or the heat of laser treatment increase free radical production or in any way risk skin cancer?

Doctor's Response

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2 thoughts on “Does BBL increase the risk of skin cancer?

  • BBL stands for broadband light and as one of many different intense pulsed light devices and sources out there.  Intense pulsed light is a form of pulse visible light that is spread over about 10 milliseconds and delivers photons of energy to the skin.  Intense pulsed light including Voluminous M22, the Lumecca, the Max G and the BBL are some of the most commonly used and effective intense pulsed light systems are designed to selectively reduce brown pigmentation, blood vessels and provide fine textural improvement.  They’ve worked for a process called selective photothermalize this is just selective targeting a different chromophores.  The injury that they produce creates a mild inflammation and then resolution of the targeted chromophore.

    All intense pulsed light systems including the BBL are extremely safe and have been around for over 20 years.  They do not stimulate the production of cancer cells or increase the risk of skin cancer.  In fact, using intense pulsed light including BBL with topical solutions such as Aminolevulinic acid can reduce Actinic Keratosis and other pre-cancers. So, I think you can certainly reassure yourself that intense pulsed light treatments will provide better quality skin, smoother, brighter, more luminescent and healthier and that skin cancer is not a concern.

    Of course, one should be alert for signs of symptoms of skin cancers that are not caused by intense pulsed light such as raised lesions that are scabby, irritated, painful, bleeding or change in colour or size.  These should be brought to the immediate attention of your physician or perhaps biopsied to ensure they are not cancerous.

    I hope this information has been of some assistance and best of luck.

    For more information, please review our IPL photofacial page.

    For more information please visit our website to schedule an online consultation or call (416) 922-2868.

    R. Stephen Mulholland, M.D.

    Certified Plastic Surgeon

    Yorkville, Toronto 

  • To my knowledge no study has been done to look at this. There is light being emitted but I don’t know what percentage of UVA or UVB light, if any, is being transmitted.

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