Two Procedures Help Reduce the Effects of Aging on Skin

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," said 53-year-old Laurie Watson.

She 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, is not painful, and has 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," explained Dr. Mathew M. Avram, director of MGH Dermatology Laser & Cosmetic Center at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

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," Avram said.

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

"I think things did soften and even out," said Watson.

Avram said 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 typically patients need just one or two sessions that can last a few years.

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 one to three weeks. As for the safety of the BBL treatment, it has been rigorously tested in clinical studies and has been approved by the FDA.

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