cheryl gerber photograph
My eyes were covered. I could hear Ellen moving around above my head. “Ready?” she says. And with a simple “OK,” I hear a zap and feel a faint sting, like that of a rubber band hitting my skin, on my cheek.
I was in the midst of my first Broadband Light, or BBL, treatment at Bopp Dermatology & Facial Plastic Surgery office. Dr. Barbara Bopp, her husband Dr. Felix Bopp and their team of physicians’ assistants, registered nurses, laser technicians, aestheticians and countless other team members have been a part of the Metairie community for 25 years.
After hearing about the BBL treatment from a friend, I knew it was my time to meet the Bopps. As a teenager, and in my early 20’s, I made the cardinal mistake of fake tanning. Not the type of tanning that stresses the importance of washing your hands to prevent staining; this was the UV light, bake yourself type of tanning. That, coupled with countless festivals and other outdoor activities throughout my life, I knew my skin would be far from perfect.
When I first arrived, I was greeted by the extremely welcoming doctors and aesthetician Ellen Radle Harsha. They listened intently as I told them about my skin journey, as well as the toll rheumatoid arthritis has taken on my skin – the ups, downs, rollercoaster ride that it has been – even suggesting that “what I thought was a rash” reaction from treatments may actually be rosacea.
Before the procedure began, I received a Visia Facial assessment. This assessment studied my skin for six key areas: wrinkles, texture, pores, UV spots, red areas and porphyrins (which I later found out was the gross stuff on your face that essentially causes pimples). Though it said my skin age was a year younger than my actual age, I hit the nail on the head in regard to the sun damage under my skin’s surface. Though Ellen assured me that being in the bottom four percent wasn’t bad, I knew she was just trying to calm my minor panic attack. (However, I’m happy to report my pores are ideal, the texture is pretty good and my only wrinkles are under my eyes – go figure.)
The Visia assessment helped Ellen when it came time for the BBL treatment, a non-invasive procedure involving broadband light that doesn’t damage the outer surface of your skin and is incision-free.
Sciton, the company that created the laser, describes it as such: “the broadband light technology utilizes the power of pulsed light to deliver excellent results in photorejuvenation therapy.” They go on to explain, “The light energy delivered by the BBL will gently heat up the upper layers of your skin. The heat absorbed by the targeted areas will stimulate your skin cells to generate new collagen.”
Ellen was able to take my Visia assessment results, see which parts of my skin needed to be targeted and adjust the laser as needed.
This treatment was no walk in the park, I won’t lie. The continuous hot zaps of laser across my face, though not at all a horrible pain, was not something that I would want to experience every day of my life. But after a few days, the results from just one treatment was worth the 45 minutes or so of being slightly uncomfortable. My face was a bit hot for a few hours, which I was told to expect, but that’s about it. Typically treatments like these cause my face to break out in an angry red color, but none of that happened with the BBL. Dr. Felix assured me that because of my age, this was only something I would need every year or so for maintenance. And I will definitely be taking him up on that advice.
Whether or not you want to dive in to a BBL treatment right away, booking a consultation can help assess where you are in your skin life and what is out there to help you prepare for the future.
I will definitely be “trying this” over and over again – with the OK from Dr. Bopp, of course.