Semi Permanent BB Cream Facial – Does It Really Work?

By Emily M.| Last updated on July 14, 2022
Do BB Cream facials work
⏱️ 5 min read

Let’s face it – a flawless complexion is something we’d give an arm and a leg for. Even-toned, smooth and radiant skin is the often unattainable ideal we all strive for, and the beauty industry knows this.

So it’s no wonder there are so many treatments available, with new ones popping up like mushrooms after the rain.

One of the more experimental skin-perfecting treatments is the semi permanent BB cream facial, which promises to improve the tone of the skin and camouflage imperfections and make this effect last!

This definitely sounds good, but does it actually work? Is it safe? Is it worth it? Let’s answer all those questions, and more!

What’s a Semi Permanent BB Cream Facial?

Better known as BB glow, the semi permanent BB cream is a facial treatment which implements tinted serums into the skin of the face by opening it up with either the microneedling or the nanoneedling technique.

Microneedling uses thin needles to create microchannels all the way down to the dermis, the second layer of the skin.

This tool isn’t really used for BB glow although it was used in the past, as the depth is too great and the serums shouldn’t go so deep. The dermis doesn’t get exfoliated, so the pigments would get permanently trapped.

Nanoneedling is a more suitable option. Here, a pen-shaped device stamps a flat disc covered with thin pins against the skin, and the pins make tiny punctures in the epidermis, the outermost layer of the skin.

The epidermis continuously exfoliates itself, so the pigments get taken away over time, which is why you need maintenance sessions.

A series of BB cream facials build up the concentration of pigments in the epidermis, which leads to an improvement in its tone.

Semi permanent BB cream facialImage source: Instagram @kalance_beauty

Okay, So Does This Work?

A semi permanent BB cream facial definitely can improve the complexion, but not to the point of perfection.

Just like the name suggests, the treatment can provide an improvement along the lines of wearing BB cream, a light-coverage moisturizing foundation, not a full-on flawless skin look. The effects are temporary (they last as long as it takes for the epidermis to renew itself), but they’re still more permanent than topical foundation.

However, there are certain benefits outside of the pigmentation to be mentioned here.

The modern-day BB cream facial is based on the nanoneedling technique, a form collagen induction which can improve a range of skin imperfections.

Find out more about how the treatment is done in our Comprehensive Guide Through BB Glow.

Results of semi permanent BB cream facialImage source: Instagram @face.look.canada

A Bit About Nanoneedling

Nanoneedling is exactly what it sounds like – a treatment where nano-punctures are made across the skin with extremely fine pins. This controlled trauma, although superficial, can trigger a boosted production of collagen.

Collagen is a protein that gives the skin its structure. As its production is stimulated, the skin basically repairs itself, giving multiple benefits:

  • Improving the texture
  • Improving firmness
  • Minimizing fine lines and wrinkles
  • Repairing acne scars
  • Minimizing discoloration
  • Evening out the tone
  • Providing a healthy glow

So a holistic approach to skin restoration! However, collagen induction is not that intense with nanoneedling (especially compared to microneedling), since the trauma is superficial.

Before and after a BB glow facialImage source: Instagram @canalesmer_boutique

So Far So Good! Are There Any Downsides?

Well, yes. The semi permanent BB cream facial is not FDA-approved and it carries several known risks, and potentially a lot of unknown ones. Let’s zoom in on them.

Is the Semi Permanent BB Cream Facial Safe?

The primary issue with this treatment lies in the formulation of the tinted serums. While there are many different brands with different formulas, a large portion of them contains a substance called titanium dioxide.

Titanium dioxide is a white pigment used as a base for skin-toned cosmetics. When implemented into the skin rather than on top of it, it can be problematic.

Although pigments aren’t supposed to reach the dermis, this sometimes happens anyway, especially with repeated treatments, and that’s when serious risks come into play.

The adverse effects of long-term titanium dioxide exposure are yet to be fully studied, some of the known side effects include:

  • Discoloration over time
  • The possibility of textural changes to the skin
  • Immediate or delayed allergies


Since this is a facial treatment, the skin where pigments were implemented inevitably gets exposed to sunlight. When titanium dioxide is exposed to sunlight, it can turn yellowish or greenish, which can show up as staining on the skin.

Skin where titanium dioxide was deposited can’t be treated with any type of laser, since this substance darkens when touched by a laser beam.

Textural Changes

As the molecules are deposited into the skin, the body may not accept this foreign matter, and try to extract it over time. This can result in pigments rising towards the surface of the skin and causing visible bumps on the skin.

The skin may start creating a barrier around the molecules, and granulomas can emerge. These are sort of capsules the skin creates around a foreign substance it can’t extract, to isolate it from the surrounding tissue. This causes visible texture changes to the skin.


Formulas of serums used for a semi permanent BB cream facial can contain 40+ ingredients, and sometimes not all of them are disclosed, so there’s a high risk of allergic reactions.

To make things worse, allergies don’t have to emerge immediately, so not even a patch test can prevent them. They can develop over the years due to long-term exposure and culminate out of the blue.

To learn more about the risks and side effects, head over to our BB Glow Gone Wrong Page.

So, Is the Treatment Worth it?

A semi permanent BB cream facial done perfectly can give great results and absolve you from wearing foundation for up to a few months. But should something go wrong and pigments get trapped in the skin, a wide range of side effects can occur, some quite serious.

In general, a BB glow treats the symptoms, not the cause. If you really want to work on a particular skin condition, you have to tackle the root of the problem, and treatments like microneedling, microdermabrasion and chemical peels can give you all the benefits with none of the side effects.

Cover image source: Freepik



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