Looking to try the BB Glow? Here’s everything you need to know about it
I read about this new treatment called BB GLOW. What is your opinion on it?
For those who do not know, BB Glow is a treatment that uses the well-trusted and entirely safe procedure of Microneedling to tattoo BB Cream into the skin as a form of semi-permanent makeup, thus promising to hide blemishes, allowing you to wake up looking radiant.
The art of permanent makeup has taken the world by storm, ensuring that you can look your best with little to no effort. First came brows, then lips and eyeliner were possible.
At the same time, BB Cream became popular due to the appeal of one product replacing multitudes of tubes and pots in your skincare regime and so I understand the thought process behind the invention of BB Glow. The allure of the treatment is waking up all year round with a naturally glowing, smooth complexion without having to apply foundation. Immediate benefits are touted as saving time and money, as well as eliminating the need for touch-ups. I wish I could advocate that BB Glow is a miracle treatment but unfortunately I cannot – in fact, I have to admit that I am very much alarmed by this treatment as I believe it is incredibly unsafe. Let me explain to you why.
The skin barrier has a physical, chemical, and immunological component. Disturb any of these complex components and the outcome may be problematic. Disturb all three simultaneously, which is what happens in a BB Glow treatment, and the risk of an adverse outcome skyrockets.
The difference between creams infused for anti-aging versus BB Cream has everything to do with the type and number of ingredients. With a Microneedling treatment, the mechanical effects on the skin are of very short duration. By using safe and scientifically researched anti-aging creams, the ingredients absorbed through the channels are mostly biodegradable, or are diluted, carried away, and excreted, so their chemical effects are limited. In contrast, the non-degradable substances in BB Cream accumulate over time and trigger an immune response which may end up being prolonged.
Most of the risks of BB Glow are related to the ingredients that are being infused and the quantity of non-degradable material that is being deposited over the entire face. To put it simply, the vast quantity of ingredients, (40-plus in BB Cream), increases the risk of allergies and contact dermatitis, as well as the large surface area being treated when compared to permanent makeup of lips and brows.
Think about this: one of the tests used to determine allergies is called a “scratch test”. A small scratch is created in the epidermis and common allergy-provoking substances are applied to this tiny area. After 20 minutes the skin is examined for a reaction in the form of redness, swelling or a rash. Some of the BB formulas used in this treatment contain as many as 44 ingredients, many of which are known to have adverse effects for the skin. So in essence, this treatment is performing a giant allergy test on your skin, without the ability to reverse it!
Another side effect is post-inflammatory pigmentation (PIH). In general, the risk for PIH increases in higher Fitzpatrick skin types i.e. those with paler skin – and these are the target market for the BB Glow treatment. Most troubling of all is that aside from these side effects, there are many more which can have devastating effects, including scarring, organ toxicity, cell damage, and quite possible most concerning of all, cancer.
There is also another issue at play when it comes to this treatment, one which most people will not have realised. It is not possible to do laser treatments if you have had this treatment and ignoring this can have catastrophic effects. Dr Ashraf Badawi, Associate Professor of Dermatology at the National Institute of Laser Sciences, Cairo University explains: “When the ink used in these treatments interacts with lasers, skin can become burned and scarred. Also the ink can oxidise and turn blue, leading to a disfiguration that is very difficult, if not impossible, to treat.” In my role as a laser and energy-based device therapist, I am very uncomfortable about the emerging popularity of this treatment and the complications that can arise.
The greatest challenge with this treatment is that in some instances the adverse outcome is invisible to the naked eye and may take years to show, for example in the case of cancer. I understand that it is tempting to throw caution to the wind in today’s Instagram-obsessed world when instant gratification is involved. But given the side effects and the fact that the treatment has not been FDA-approved, when it comes to a choice between to BB or not to BB then I am firmly in the not to BB camp as the benefits are not worth the likely cost.
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(Image displayed is not linked to the treatment and just for visual purpose)
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