BBL pioneers Patrick Bitter Jr., MD, FAAD; Michael Gold, MD; and Jason Pozner, MD, FACS give their view on the latest device from Sciton

Patrick Bitter Jr., MD, FAAD, Founder of Advanced Aesthetic Dermatology, Los Gatos, CA, USA; Michael Gold, MD, Medical Director, Gold Skin Care Center & Tennessee Clinical Research Center, Nashville, TN, USA; Jason Pozner, MD, FACS, Medical Director of Sanctuary Plastic Surgery, Boca Raton, FL, USA 

email: [email protected]

All the scientific evidence and advanced technology in the world mean little if patients are not ‘wowed’ by a new device. 

The headline from the plastic surgeons and dermatologists who are using Sciton’s next-generation BroadBand Light (BBL) HERO is that patients consistently call their treatments and the way their skin looks after a treatment — ‘amazing.’ 

Patients start with one facial rejuvenation treatment and want more. They come back to have their arms, legs, backs and chest treated. They tell their friends. 

BBL HERO is new. Once celebrity and social media influencers get wind of what this non‑invasive new technology can do for the skin on their face and body, there is no predicting how demand will skyrocket. 

This is not the original BBL, nor is it just any IPL

Sciton’s original BBL, part of the JOULE platform, uses visible and infrared light (400 to 1400 nm) to deliver non-ablative phototherapy to the face and body. Early studies documented BBL’s powerful skin rejuvenating effects. 

Bitter and Pozner reported on 15 patients retrospectively, in a study published February 2013 in Restorative Aesthetic Therapy, a supplement to Cutis. They found BBL had long-term anti-ageing effects1.

‘Results from our study indicate that patients who maintain a regular annual or biannual regimen of BBL treatments over 5 to 11 years can reduce and delay the long-term signs of skin ageing, such as photodamage, telangiectasias, fine lines and wrinkles, and skin laxity, in a natural-looking way,’ they wrote.

Stanford University researcher Chang ALS et al. conducted a pilot study  published the same year in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology Open in which the authors concluded, ‘BBL treatment can restore gene expression pattern of photoaged and intrinsically aged human skin to resemble young skin.’2

The authors applied 30-end sequencing for expression quantification to uncover the gene expression programme associated with human photoageing and intrinsic skin ageing. They looked specifically at how BBL impacted skin ageing and found ‘… that skin ageing was associated with a significantly altered expression level of 2,265 coding and non-coding RNAs, of which 1,293 became ‘rejuvenated’ after BBL treatment… .’

While BBL uses intense pulsed light (IPL), Sciton named the technology BroadBand Light, or BBL, to avoid being lumped in with what they view as often less powerful, less consistent, less quality IPL devices. BBL made a name for itself seven years ago as the world’s most technologically advanced IPL device, with the promise of more consistent outcomes and science showing its efficacy. 

The original BBL already had key features that set it apart, including dual-lamp technology; precise, controlled cooling; a single handpiece with quick-change smart filters that allow it, for example, to quickly switch from treating vascularity to pigment; as well as finesse adaptors to easily target and treat smaller areas.

In recent years, Sciton engineers have discovered that there are key aspects to the device that make it better than the others, including pulse width and power. BBL’s two lamp (versus one lamp) technology gives practitioners the ability to put out a lot more energy and power per pulse than other devices. As a result, BBL works faster than other devices can work.

The innovating, however, has not stopped. And today’s new BBL HERO is a gamechanger to even its predecessor BBL. 

The next level of innovation and how that translates to amazing results

In the last year, Sciton engineers designed several features into the original BBL that created a better BBL/IPL device. HERO stands for High Energy Rapid Output, which sums up the technology’s edge quite nicely.  Billed as the ‘Swiss army knife of aesthetic and cosmetic systems,’ BBL HERO is an upgrade on Sciton’s JOULE or mJOULE platform, which now feature two new treatments, Forever Body and Forever Young+. 

Figure 1 (A) Before and (B) 2 month post 1 Forever Body treatment. Courtesy of Jason Pozner, MD

Changes to the system include: 

Figure 2 (A) Before and (B) post 3 Forever Young+ BBL treatments. Courtesy of Patrick Bitter, Jr., MD, FAAD

Figure 3 (A) Before and (B) 1 month post 1 Forever Body treatment. Courtesy of Jason Pozner, MD

BBL HERO’s pulse rate is four times faster, treating at up to 4 Hz. This is big news for aesthetic practices. The ability to treat at up to 4 pulses per second equates to faster treatment times and a practitioner’s ability to deliver more pulses per treatment than ever before.  For example, a face treatment with BBL originally would have delivered 250 to 350 pulses. With BBL HERO, the same practitioner can now deliver between 1200 to 1500 pulses. When practitioners can go four times faster, they cover the same area faster and deliver a lot more pulses of light. When you deliver a lot more pulses of light on the face or an arm, the result is clearer, smoother skin that looks more like a young person’s skin. The results are improvements to the appearance of pigment, pores, fine lines and wrinkles, laxity and improved overall skin smoothness. Patients notice the textural changes right away. They get off the table and comment their skin is smoother. This is something practitioners did not see with BBL. It would take a week before the skin looked better. The downtime is minimal to non-existent. Patients can be on a Zoom conference call immediately after treatment. They can go out to dinner. 

There is increased peak power and shortened pulse duration (as low as 3 milliseconds) with BBL HERO. Practitioners can pick up subtle pigment better and achieve better efficacy on darker skin types with a lower incidence of side-effects. Practitioners use lower energy to accomplish the same or better results, including better skin clarity than was possible with the previous BBL. Additionally, lower energy means the treatment is more comfortable for the patient and it is safer to do.  

Sciton has further enhanced cooling in the handpiece to allow the flashlamps to pulse faster without the crystal getting too hot. Without it, patients would be at risk of burns. Without the improved and enhanced cooling, the other innovations would not be possible. This innovation further improves patient comfort.

BBL HERO innovations translate to big benefits for providers and patients 

Practitioners fluidly move the BBL HERO handpiece in a motion technique, instead of single pulse stamping of treatment areas. The combination of the increased speed, shortened pulse width, higher peak power, and enhanced cooling lessens the chance of adverse events, such as striping and stamp marks. It makes treatment not only more predictable but also more enjoyable. Other devices require that practitioners stamp a treatment area, wait for the flash and move to the next area, at one flash per second. With BBL HERO, at four flashes per second, practitioners constantly move the handpiece over the treatment area in a smooth fast motion and can make multiple passes, which overlap for a more efficacious treatment. Practitioners who avoided using BBL or IPL on large areas of the body because of the monotony of stamping and risk for uneven results embrace and enjoy using BBL HERO’s Forever Body treatment. It is a completely different experience for the operator and not only makes the treatment safer but more enjoyable to perform. 

BBL HERO has broken down barriers to off-the-face skin rejuvenation with the Forever Body treatment, opening a new source of revenue for aesthetic practices. In minutes, practitioners can treat the chest to match the results achieved with the Forever Young+ face and neck treatment.  

Essentially, BBL HERO requires fewer treatments but produces better results. BBL HERO can achieve better results in one to three treatments compared to what would typically take five or more treatments with BBL or IPL. With each additional BBL HERO treatment, skin continues to become smoother and appear younger. 

Additionally, after the initial series of treatments, BBL HERO treatments performed two to four times a year help maintain results and keep skin healthy while slowing skin ageing.

Patients do not want to go back to the old way of rejuvenating their skin. And when asked why, patients say BBL HERO Forever Young+ and Forever Body treatments were easier than the old treatments, produced a faster and better result of clearer, smoother, less wrinkled, younger appearing skin than with traditional BBL. 

Again, the intricacies of innovation would be useless if it were not for the reality of amazing results, safety and ease of treatment associated with BBL HERO. According to those with decades’ experience in skin rejuvenation, BBL HERO rejuvenates face and body skin better than any non-invasive treatment before it.  

Lots of ways to capture long-term patients and some quick fixes

BBL HERO is the gold standard, in our opinion, for rejuvenating skin off the face. And we think it is the best non-invasive technology for the face. In addition to opening a source of revenue for off-the-face treatments, it is a game-changer in anti-ageing medicine. 

Aesthetic medicine has been focused on using technology to fix and correct imperfections, from vascular lesions to pigmented lesions, sun damage, age spots and fine lines. This technology can keep patients coming back for prevention and maintenance. It also opens the door for younger people who want to stay ahead of the ageing process. We believe BBL HERO is the secret to forever young all over the face and body. 

Still another reason patients increasingly demand BBL HERO, especially in pandemic times, is if they want to look good on camera or video right away. The solution for that is a BBL HERO Forever Young+ face treatment. It makes pores nearly vanish immediately. 

Because BBL HERO requires fewer treatments, it is more economical for the patient. But that does not mean it is less of a revenue generator for practices. BBL HERO is easy to delegate, teach and master — easier than prior IPL systems. Even if patients do not elect to maintain skin health and prevent skin ageing with BBL HERO, the chances are good that they will have treatments on the neck, chest and body. And don’t forget, they tell their friends about how they got those ‘amazing’ results. 

Sciton embraces the importance of proper training and has made available to every BBL HERO practitioner the most comprehensive and up-to-date training resources available in the aesthetic laser industry. 

  Declaration of interest Drs. Gold, Pozner and Bitter are consultants and speakers for Sciton.

 Figures 1–3 © Dr Pozner, 3 © Dr Bitter

  © Sciton Inc., 2020, all rights reserved. Sciton and BBL are registered trademark, BBL HERO, HERO, Forever Body, and Forever Young, are trademarks of Sciton, Inc.


  1. Bitter Jr. P, Pozner J.  Retrospective Evaluation of the Long-term Antiaging Effects of BroadBand Light Therapy. Cosmetic Dermatology 2013; A Supplement to Cutis®: 34–40
  2. Chang AL, Bitter PH Jr, Qu K, Lin M, Rapicavoli NA, Chang HY. Rejuvenation of gene expression pattern of aged human skin by broadband light treatment: a pilot study [published correction appears in J Invest Dermatol. 2013 Jun;133(6):1691]. J Invest Dermatol. 2013;133(2):394-402. doi:10.1038/jid.2012.287