Is BB Glow Bad for Your Skin? Review of Risks and Side Effects

By Emily M.| Last updated on July 14, 2022
is bb glow bad for your skin
⏱️ 5 min read

The BB glow treatment is a controversial one. It definitely sounds great – a non-invasive treatment which gives your skin a long-lasting improvement along the lines of wearing a lightweight foundation, simultaneously improving its state from within.

The treatment has many fans, but there are also many cosmeticians and skin experts who bash it as unsafe. So clients are left confused – is BB glow bad for your skin or not? Do the risks outweigh the benefits?

Let’s go through the risks, side effects, and cases where getting BB glow is a bad idea. Hopefully, we’ll help you decide either way!

What Is Problematic About BB Glow?

The questions that bother skin experts about BB glow are its long-term effect, both esthetic and medical.

BB glow is done by combining a skin-perforating technique (either microneedling or nanoneedling) with the insertion of tinted serums into it. The idea is to build up the level of skin-tones pigments in the skin enough to even out the complexion, blend in hyperpigmented spots at least to a point, and even provide a subtle contouring effect.

The tinted serums are supposed to be implemented into the epidermis, the outermost layer of the skin which is made up of dead skin cells. The epidermis renews itself often, so the tint would stay in the skin for a certain time, but eventually get exfoliated away.

The issue here is that the serums can easily get deeper into the skin, into the dermis. The dermis layer is made up of living skin cells, so it’s not exfoliated. The pigments from the tint would therefore get trapped, stuck in the skin until the body’s immune system can break them down and extract them.

But what happens when the body can’t do that?

In that case, the pigments would remain in the skin potentially forever. This is problematic on several levels:

  • The pigments stuck in the skin don’t look good for long. Some of the components – primarily titanium dioxide, a type of white pigment often found in light-colored formulas – is known to change color over time, and it can end up yellowish or greenish.
  • Long-term exposure to some of the components – again, primarily titanium dioxide – is potentially hazardous. It has not been approved by the FDA for intradermal application, and it’s been linked to damage to reproductive health, among other conditions.

That’s more or less it about why BB glow can be harmful to your appearance and your overall system, but let’s move on to is BB glow bad for your skin in particular.

structure of the skin

In Which Cases Is BB Glow Bad for Your Skin?

Apart from potentially hazardous long-term exposure, which is yet to be studied extensively, the BB glow can be bad for your skin in some cases. Primarily, if the state of your skin isn’t that great.

BB glow is bad for your skin if:

  • You have an active acne breakout – the treatment will spread the bacteria and make it worse.
  • You’ve taken Accutane or a similar medication in the past year – your skin is too thinned out and the needling could damage it. There’s a risk of scarring.
  • You’re generally prone to keloid scarring – the needling will likely cause scarring.
  • You suffer from a skin disease, like eczema or psoriasis – the treatment can make your condition worse.
  • You’re prone to allergies to cosmetic products – always do a patch test before you have BB glow serums implemented into the skin.

It’s also worth noting that if you get a tan before your BB glow has been exfoliated, your skin might end up with lighter patches where the pigment concentration is high.

BB Glow Side Effects

Even if none of the contraindications apply to you and you’re a good candidate for BB glow, you will likely encounter some post-treatment side effects.

These include:

  • Tenderness
  • Redness
  • Some swelling
  • The sensation of tightness
  • Peeling a few days after the treatment

None of these are cause for concern as long as they subside within a couple of days. If they don’t, contact your practitioner or a dermatologist – you might be dealing with a skin infection.

Read more about the ways in which BB glow can go wrong in our guide.

bb glow side effectsImage source: Freepik

Application with Microneedling vs Nanoneedling

To cut BB glow some slack, we should explain that the techniques of implementing BB glow serums are actually beneficial for the skin – if done right.

There are 2 methods of implementing BB glow serums:

  • microneedling
  • nanoneedling.

Both imply poking the skin with tiny needles that go in and out of an electric handpiece to open up the microchannels that would allow the serums to soak in, but they are somewhat different.

Microneedling is done with longer needles that can go as deep into the skin as the technician wants them. The needle clusters usually have 12 needles that penetrate the skin at a 90° angle. The dermapen – the machine used for microneedling – was designed for treating deeper layers of the skin, so it can be very difficult to ensure the needles don’t reach the dermis.

But nanoneedling is done with thin tapered pins attached to a disk instead of needles. The nanoneedling device was designed specifically for treating the epidermis, so it’s a much better option for BB glow – the risk of the serums getting stuck in the dermis is much lower (although it’s still present).

Both microneedling and nanoneedling trigger a regenerative response from the skin, which means more collagen, better skin structure, and therefore appearance. So a large part of the complexion improvement achieved with BB glow is actually thanks to micro/nanoneedling.

implementing BB glow serums with Microneedling vs NanoneedlingImage source: Freepik

So, Is It Worth the Risk or Not?

Well, we can’t really answer this question for you, but hopefully, we’ve answered is BB glow bad for your skin. In general, BB glow isn’t inherently bad if you don’t suffer from any of the contraindications, but long-term effects should definitely be kept in mind.

Perhaps the safest route to take would be to try microneedling in its basic form. It’s a skin-perfecting treatment that’s been proven to work and it doesn’t entail the risks and the uncertainties BB glow does.

Read all about microneedling in our guide!

Cover image source: Freepik



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