IPL vs BBL The use of Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) to treat various skin conditions has existed since the 1990s. However, BroadBand Light (BBL) has recently been gaining popularity, resulting in strong competition between the two technologies. Here, we will compare IPL vs BBL for treating skin conditions.


IPL and BBL penetrate the skin’s upper layers to increase the production of collagen and elastin, which rejuvenate the skin. They are primarily used to repair damage caused by sun exposure.

Dr. Shimon Eckhouse developed IPL technology 30 years ago, obtaining FDA approval for the first IPL device in 1995. IPL was initially approved for treating spider veins, although it has since received approval for treating many other health and cosmetic conditions. Sciton developed BBL as a proprietary technology that’s a more advanced version of IPL. This company has designed three distinct devices based on the conditions they treat, including acne, hair removal, and photoaging.


Both methods produce light with different wavelengths, known scientifically as polychromatic light, that penetrates the skin. The heat from this light breaks down cells that contain pigments like melanin and hemoglobin, which starts the healing process that renews skin cells.

IPL devices use relatively weak pulses of light compared to the more powerful pulses of BBL. However, BBL uses more filters, allowing it to target a greater range of skin conditions than IPL. In addition, BBL has a more advanced cooling system, making this procedure more comfortable for the patient.

How Treatment Can Help

Both methods generally treat the signs of photoaging, which is caused by exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light. There is considerable overlap in the use of these technologies, as they both have FDA approval for treating the following conditions:

  • Acne
  • Brown spots
  • Freckles
  • Hyperpigmentation
  • Melasma
  • Rosacea
  • Spider veins
  • Unwanted hair
  • Wrinkles

In addition, BBL is approved for the following conditions that IPL doesn’t have FDA approval for:

  • Large pores
  • Sagging skin
  • Scars
  • Uneven tone and texture

Schedule Your Appointment Today

Both IPL and BBL can provide impressive results for a range of skin conditions. Book a consultation with one of the laser technicians at the practice of Dr. Jeffrey Dawes to find out which method is right for you. You can schedule your appointment at our Calgary, AB, office by calling 403-571-3141.

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“My role, in part, is to assist patients through the process of determining which surgical or non-surgical options would help them meet their aesthetic goals and realistic expectations” - Jeffrey C. Dawes MD, FRCSC


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What Happens in a Consultation?

  1. You will meet Dr. Dawes for an individualized, comprehensive evaluation. Dr. Dawes will offer individualized recommendations regarding the best treatment options available to you in a way that will allow you to make a confident, well-informed decision.

  2. You will then meet with a staff member to review your customized quote, discuss financial options and ask questions.

  3. Discuss potential treatment or procedure dates.

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