6 Things to Know About the BBL Photofacial Kim Kardashian Loves

Los Angeles-based plastic surgeon Dr. Ashkan Ghavami tells PEOPLE that this treatment is like the fountain of youth for your skin

Ashkan Ghavami MD Kim K.'s plastic surgeon/facialist ttps://www.instagram.com/p/CgmrizZpQiz/
Photo: Ashkan Ghavami/instagram (2)

Kim Kardashian has said she would "eat poop every single day" if it would make her look younger. Luckily, with the help of Dr. Ashkan Ghavami, she doesn't have to resort to that.

Kardashian, 41, shared an Instagram Story in July to show off a recent visit to Dr. Ghavami's to get a BBL Photofacial (Broadband Light Photofacial) and SCITON's MOXI Laser treatment, both of which are designed to together to target sun damage, skin discoloration and pore size.

While in the chair at Dr. Ghavami's, her face covered with numbing cream, Kardashian underwent both procedures while the plastic surgeon explained what exactly she could expect from the treatment.

Dr. Ghavami spoke to PEOPLE further about why this procedure is gaining popularity. With the BBL Photofacial and MOXI working together, he says, skin can become younger looking and smoother virtually overnight: "It's the closest thing we have right now to a fountain of youth because your skin, on a histological cellular level, is going backwards in time."

Ashkan Ghavami MD Kim K.'s plastic surgeon/facialist ttps://www.instagram.com/p/CgmrizZpQiz/
Ashkan Ghavami/instagram

What Is a BBL Photofacial?

The BBL Photofacial uses light rather than a laser; the glass tip of the machine sends a beam of light under your skin in what Dr. Ghavami calls a "broad brush stroke," rather than a direct pinpoint, and which he says makes this machine much less painful and invasive. Though it's largely used to target skin discoloration, specifically from sun damage, dermatologists can use it for other applications, including targeting cystic acne.

"Usually, someone who has a full-on, inflamed, acute acne episode, usually you have to stay away from it," he says. "This actually calms it down."

"There are settings where you can modify it and actually tighten the skin specifically," Dr. Ghavami continues about how individualized the treatment can get. "There are settings where you can target capillaries that have exploded, like those spidery telangiectasias, especially on the corner of the nose."

In short, he says, the treatment is less hard on your skin than peels or lasers; in the videos of Kardashian's treatment, Dr. Ghavami informed her that she could wear makeup the next day. He clarifies to PEOPLE that while it is true that you can put makeup on almost immediately after, he would recommend giving your skin a little downtime and staying out of the sun for a few days, particularly if teamed with the MOXI treatement.

What Is a MOXI Treatment?

Though the BBL Photofacial isn't a laser, the SCITON MOXI is, and Dr. Ghavami recommends using them together, as they target different things (though can both be used separately).

The primary reason for using MOXI on clients is for if they have melasma or if they have more pigmented skin; Dr. Ghavami points out that BBL doesn't work as well on clients with dark skin tones, but MOXI does.

"MOXI does all the things that BBL doesn't; they target certain different things, but they don't get in each other's way. It's like peanut butter and jelly." Dr. Ghavami says. "You do the BBL to get the light under the skin, and then you do the [MOXI] fractionated laser to stimulate collagen and tighten those pores, and then erase pigment by almost micro-injury to the skin."

If you use MOXI, be aware: "Your face, afterwards, feels like sandpaper for a couple days, because all of those breaks in your skin are healing."

What Are the Rules Around Doing BBL or MOXI?

It's important to prep your skin for a treatment like these. This means staying out of the sun in the weeks leading up to your appointment and also not using self-tanner. Not only can tan skin make it harder for your doctor and the machine to truly see what your skin looks like, but it can even lead to burns from the machine.

Dr. Ghavami also recommends doing a light chemical peel two or three weeks before the treatment "to clean your skin or resurface it to get the dead skin off;" that way, your skin "accepts the technology the best."

Which Is Best for Melasma?

The BBL Photofacial machine will target a lot of your skin concerns, but one thing it can't handle is melasma. This form of hormone-induced skin discoloration is very stubborn, Dr. Ghavami says, and is extremely difficult to get rid of. The SCITON MOXI laser, however, can help (though you have to continue to get MOXI treatments if you want to keep the skin discoloration to a minimum).

"Melasma is actually, technically, not treatable but permanently correctable," Dr. Ghavami says. "We've just got to get behind it and get on top of it. Because it's hormonally induced and it's a totally different entity than hyperpigmentation from other reasons, you can't do BBL. MOXI treats melasma, though. I have family members and people in the office who have had melasma for years, and after this one treatment it's like 75% better."

Ashkan Ghavami MD Kim K.'s plastic surgeon/facialist ttps://www.instagram.com/p/CgmrizZpQiz/
Ashkan Ghavami/instagram

What Does a BBL Photofacial or MOXI Treatment Cost?

Dr. Ghavami says he has some clients who choose to do the BBL Photofacial all over their bodies because they have years of sun damage. "When we talk about BBL and MOXI, we typically say it's from neck to hairline, but a lot of people that can afford it and have the time to be doing these treatments will do it to their decollete, arms too."

How frequently you do the treatments is up to you, Dr. Ghavami says. A face treatement, which can cost anywhere from $1,200 to $2,000, takes under an hour to complete and can be done every couple weeks if you choose. Dr. Ghavami, who has also had these treatments done, says he likes to evaluate his skin and get the BBL Photofacial when he feels like his skin looks uneven again.

"BBL you can do every two weeks if you really want to," he says. "But most people don't have the downtime, and it's not realistic. If someone had a BBL machine at home and they did it every two or three weeks, they would look like they were one of their high school pictures, and the skin feels that way too."

MOXI, on the other hand, shouldn't be done more than every few months, as it's harsher on the skin.

How long the results last on your skin can vary, but you can expect to see evenness in your skin that lasts months — or even years — depending on your skincare routine and your age. Doing the treatments more often will enhance the results, but you should still get results from even one treatment.

How to Be Sure You're Getting the Treatments Done Correctly

If there's one thing Dr. Ghavami wants to make clear, it's the importance of finding someone who is fully qualified to do this treatment for you. These are machines that are readily available to be purchased, but having the properly training and knowledge will make the difference in whether or not your treatments are done correctly.

A BBL Photofacial and MOXI treatment should be fully customized to your skin and your needs, and Dr. Ghavami recommends finding a board-certified dermatologist or plastic surgeon with a reputable practice who will do a thorough consultation before doing any facials.

"Boutique practices that are not storefronts will have experience in this, as well as dermatologists or plastic surgeons that can do [these treatments] and know how to do other things" like more extensive plastic surgery and skin treatments, Dr. Ghavami says.

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