2 new FDA-approved treatments help erase signs of aging

Published: Oct. 4, 2016 at 4:22 PM EDT
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Wrinkles, brown spots, and enlarged pores are just some of the changes that come as we age, but two new FDA-approved treatments are helping people save face as they get older.

“I would love to even out my skin tone," Laurie Watson admits.

The 53-year-old loves the outdoors, but the sun has taken a toll on her skin.

Rather than undergo surgery, Watson is choosing two new procedures to help erase the signs of aging.

BBL, or broadband light, uses flashes of light specifically designed to treat brown spots and redness by targeting blood vessels and pigment in the skin.

BBL takes about 20 minutes, it's not painful, and there's no downtime at all.

“What happens is the pigment in your skin absorbs the light, and by absorbing it with that energy, it breaks apart the pigment cells,” explains Mathew M. Avram, MD, from Massachusetts General Hospital.

In addition to the pigment problem, Watson wanted to smooth out her skin, so she added a new laser treatment called Halo. To make it more comfortable, doctors put on a topical anesthetic for the half-hour procedure.

“It only treats a small portion of the skin when you are doing the treatment, but it affects the entire skin and gives benefits to the entire skin,” Dr. Avram explains.

Halo uses two lasers to create columns of heat throughout the face. It helps correct pigment and pore size, as well as texture and tone.

Dr. Avram says that if patients stay out of the sun, the glowing results can last a few years.

The average cost of a BBL treatment is $400-$600 and is recommended several times a year.

Halo costs about $1,300 per treatment, and patients typically need just one or two sessions that can last a few years.



TOPIC: Two Machines To Look Younger

REPORT: MB #4161

BACKGROUND: It is well-documented that intense pulsed light (IPL) is effective in skin rejuvenation. Broadband light (BBL) spans a wider visible spectrum and is said to be effective for combating aging skin, even though some experts remain skeptical. Similar to IPL, BBL produces a light within the visible spectrum to the infrared spectrum. 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. IPL and BBL-treated skin is said to have had a decreased likelihood of developing pre-malignancies and skin cancer. Doctors claim that it is still too early to tell that regular treatments can prevent cutaneous pre-malignancies and skin cancer. The Halo hybrid fractional laser is the world's first hybrid fractional laser system. Halo combines two laser wavelengths to get rid of brown spots and other color defects, as well as smooth out skin and give it a youthful, healthy glow. Halo allows for customizable treatment to precisely target skin damage and it reduces pore size and increases skin reflectivity.

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IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT BBL: There are certain side effects that may occur after BBL treatment. The spots from the laser may start to darken, and there could also be reddening of the skin. This typically subsides within a couple of hours, and the dark spots will fade over the course of 1-3 weeks. As for the safety of the BBL treatment, it has been rigorously tested in clinical studies and has been approved by the FDA. The pulsed light hand piece is designed to treat only pigment, not the surrounding skin or tissue. Typically, in order for a person to start seeing results, one or two treatments should suffice. Any additional treatments may be required for very large dark spots or for densely covered areas. Although the person’s skin may be a bit red, they can apply make-up right away, and can immediately resume normal activities. The only recommended thing to do is to avoid direct sunlight and to be sure to apply sunscreen to the skin at all times.

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