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Cosmetic IPL Laser Reviews & Comparisons > Sciton BBL vs Palomar Starlux 500

Please help with this one. Sciton BBL vs Palomar Starlux 500
I am about to buy an IPL. Which is the best between the two?
Any ideas?

09.12 | Unregistered CommenterEDS

I think they both perform well but if you look at your ROI and long term costs the BBL wins. I also did not like the fact that with the Palomar you needed to change the heads if you wanted a different filter or if you wanted a different size head.

I have the BBLs which is a individual unit and not attached to another laser. I did this so that I could be working with the laser while my nurse is using the BBL.

09.12 | Unregistered CommenterLH

LH: What is the price for the BBLs? Can it be purchased as a "stand alone" device?

Sciton BBL/s is about 70-80K, by the time you buy the various filters (sold separately for 20k!!!).

09.13 | Unregistered CommenterTF

Thanks, TF. The information in the Aesthetics Buyers Guide is totally misleading (I believe it says the BBLs is only $40K). It is surprisingly hard to find actual comparison prices on these various devices and optional add-ons.

We compared the Sciton BBLs and the Palomar. Palomar is very arrogant and very expensive and very secretive with their information (everything is proprietary). Sciton is open and friendly. Their IPL makes sense financiallly and makes sense in terms of support.

You can buy your car from the arrogant jerk who looks down on you (and thinks you are an idiot) or you can buy a better car for a better price from a guy who wants to help you and be your friend.

Palomar better wake up and realize that their competition is better priced, friendlier, more helpful and performs better.

In my opinion, the BBL is the best by far. Palomar comes in a distant second and all the rest and trash.

09.13 | Unregistered CommenterMDR

"all the rest is trash" (sorry)

09.13 | Unregistered CommenterMDR


With the BBL you get all the filters except the SkinTyte. The SkinTyte I believe is a $15000 upgrade. Which if you think about it is not too bad. Cutera wants $40,000 for the Titan and then you have to replace the handpieces.

The Palomar on the other hand is way overpriced. With it you have to purchase the power source and then each individual head. You will be around $100,000 just to do hair and photofacials.

I am pretty frustrated with ALL of the laser companies as their warranty programs are way overpriced. I basically can purchase a 1 or 2 year old laser without an extended warranty use it for 3 years and then replace it for what it would cost to have a maintenance contract for the same amount of time.

These laser companies need to stop ripping us off with their maintenance contract and then not supporting their lasers bought on the secondary market. I checked with one company and they wanted $23,000 to check out a laser bought on the secondary market and then $12,000/yr.

09.13 | Unregistered CommenterLH

With the BBLs (just the IPL and not the platform for the lasers), you get the ST filter at no additional charge. Check this with your rep.

We bought the Titan for $85,000 a few years ago. You can get a used Titan for under $10,000 but it doesn't work, you can't get service or a warrenty and the handpieces cost $10,000 for 7500 pulses (average treatment for face is 200 pulses).

BBLs comes with 3 year warrently and unlimited pulses covered. This is the best warrenty by far.

09.14 | Unregistered CommenterMDR

You get the skin tighning for no additional charge? My rep wants 19k for it. Normal?
Thanks everyone. It seems that the BBL's is one of the best. I have work with the Palomar starlux 500 for a year now (never had any problrems) and I am ready to buy this coming week. The BBL's seems to be very friendly user and I like the idea of changing the filter instead of the handpiece.
I just need to be sure as I want to make a wise choice.
Thanks all.

09.14 | Unregistered CommenterEDS

There still seems to be a great deal of confusion about the cost of the BBL system in the various configurations--

As a "tand alone" unit
With Skin Tyte ("BBLs?) -- and is "Skin Tyte" just another filter or is it a separate hand piece??
Part of the multi-platform system (i.e., er:YAG, etc.)
How much do they charge to add Skin Type to an older model of the BBL??

It would also be nice to know the amounts they are charging for service contracts after the warranty expires.

Does anyone have this information and care to share it?

1. With the stand alone BBLs, the ST comes included for no additional charge (that was our deal).
2. With the multisystem platform, it may be extra

3. For anyone considering an IPL there are a few MUST reads so you can learn the questions to ask: You must read the Dog and Lemon IPL Guide, The Fox and Chicken Guide and Palomar's response to the Dog and Lemon. To download these reports go to : . Some of these are dated, but once your read them, you will know what to look for and the questions to ask. You MUST ask these questions and you must know the pitfalls to avoid!

Hope this helps

09.14 | Unregistered CommenterMDR


Just buy the BBL or BBLs " with blind eyes".Compared to Palomar the BBL is far the best!!

09.15 | Unregistered Commentercharry

The geocities is no longer available. Do you know where to find this "Dog and Lemon IPL Guide"?

01.7 | Unregistered Commenterjohn

I owned a BBL and the skin tyte. Just a few weeks ago I purchased a Starlux 500 and the 1440 fractional non-ablative hand piece. The BBL does have one hand piece and add on filters but the results are not good. The sciton rep won't tell you but you need to add their 1064 yag to treat facial vessells and rosacia. Sciton alo does not have a non-ablative option which is huge. My 1440 will treat wrinkles fine lines scars and stretchmarks. Also my aesthetician can operate itt where in my state the yag must be operated by the physician.
Sciton also charges 10% of the list price for servuce every year after year 3. This cost me $31,000 per year!
Palomar is superior. i wont even use my bbl anymore

03.20 | Unregistered Commenterderm man

derm man....Maybe you compare the BBL with the 1064 module of Starlux 500.Don't compare a broadband light with a laser.With which Starlux handpiece do you treat facial vessels and rosacea?I have been using the BBL 5 years know and i have very good results in treating facial vessels and rosacea.As for the non-ablative option maybe you don't know that Sciton has a 1320 module as a part of Joule system.


Charry Chavelas

M.D. Dermatologist-Venereologist

M.Aggelou 5

45332 , Ioannina


03.20 | Unregistered Commentercharry

All of you are so focused on price that you forgot the most important part about investing in a laser which is quality. If you do your research, which is what a doctor should do, you would see that the Palomar is much, much better than the Sciton.

Just look at how the Sciton BBL is set up. You use filters to change the wavelength and this technology has not changed in over a decade. Lumenis, Photoderm and others used these filters back in the 90s and the same poor results will continue.

The reason Palomar has a separate handpiece instead of filters is for a couple of reasons. The filters in these less effective units are dichroic, meaning that they reflect the unintended light back so not to reach the target or skin. Dichroic filters are only effective with lasers because only those photons on a 45 degree angle will be reflected back. As you should know IPL stands for intense pulsed light and the light scatters. So if you are trying to reflect light on a fliter coming in at only 45 degrees then you are going to have light pass through the filter because IPL light is scattered and photons will be coming in at angles 30 degrees, 39 degrees, 60 degrees, etc. You get my point.

Second Palomar uses a dual filter. You can read about it in their literature. There are dichroic filters and absorbtive filters. If any light passes through the dichroic filter then the absorptive filter will catch the remaining light that does not need to pass through. So when you compare the light spectrums of what is actually coming out of a Palomar handpiece vs. the BBL you will get the exact IPL range (525nm - 1200nm for example) to pass through. Because there is an absorptive filter the head would get hot. So Palomar has a cooling mechanism that circulates water through the handpiece to keep it cool. Also it has a contact cooling mechanism which is far superior than the BBL. If you think all this is BS then check with Palomar for the white paper. I did and so should you.

Sooooo....what does this mean for you?? You have a much more specific IPL that is safer, more powerful and more effective. You can hit the same spot on the face with Palomar's IPL and not burn anyone, but with the BBL that is not the case. Also, the energy levels of the BBL do not compare with the Palomar. You can get a cheaper IPL on the market with the same amount of energy output as the BBL.

If you are going to be treating a lot of reds, especially tough reds, then stay away from the BBL. If you are looking just to treat some pigment then the BBL may be the way to go, but when you are dealing with stubborn pigment and tougher reds you will get what you paid for. And if Sciton or any other company tells you to use the 1064 handpiece for reds or facial vessels then please throw him out the door. There have been so many incidences of pitting and scarring from users treating nasal vessels with the 1064. It is very unsafe because of the thin skin and higher absorption of water in that area. There are even lawsuits pending because of this.

From what some of these reps tell me the 1064 is the cheapest laser to manufacture and thats why so many of them like Sciton, Cutera push it so hard.

Also think of the financials and stability of the company. Sciton is not publicly traded and companies like Cutera are losing a lot of money.

In summary if you are content with being an average or lower than average site for photofacial/IPL treatments then go with the BBL. But don't be surprised when your customers are not loyal because they are not happy with the results and they go somewhere with a better quality product like the Palomar. As far as costs... remember this - The most expensive investment is the one that doesn't work.

04.9 | Unregistered Commentertxtruth


Maybe you are a Palomar rep.In this forum >90% of of participants have said that BBL is much better than Starlux 500.One of them it's me too.Good try but is a black hole!!


Charry Chavelas

M.D. Dermatologist-Venereologist

M.Aggelou 5

45332 , Ioannina


04.9 | Unregistered Commentercharry


Everyone that has read this post more than twice knows you love everything about Sciton....everything. I tink Sciton is a great platfom but certainly has it's weakness with the BBL. I am not sure what the disertation from txtruth is all about. But it does seem to be the case. I for one like the Palomar over the BBL. So maybe it is not >90%

texas laser

Just there is one reason that gives superiority to BBL over the Starlux....The treatments that you are doing need about the half of fluence for BBL in comparison to Starlux.If the last device has been using better filters as txtruth said the opposite had to be the truth!!It is simple physics and logic.And yes i love my platform (Sciton).Anyway in my country are saying "for what you are hungry there is no discussion".Have a good weekend!!


Charry Chavelas

M.D. Dermatologist-Venereologist

M.Aggelou 5

45332 , Ioannina


04.10 | Unregistered Commentercharry

I got one even better one for you...the treatments may only need half of the amount of fluence with Sciton, BUT and here is the BIG BUT.....with Palomar you are using only about 65-70% of the actual power that is listed on the platform screen. Let be very clear with this. If you have a G hand piece and are using 50J/cm2 on the screen to close off facial vessels. You are actually using only about 35-40J/cm2. Don't ask me how or why....I don't work for Palomar. I would love to own a Sciton and maybe someday I will. The profractional is absolutely tops....especially if you get the dual erbium yag...then when you fire it up on a is like some kind of Star Wars machine. The YAG is nice too with the Sciton. But I pefer the Palomar for my photo and hair removal.

texas laser

And on the BBL for the same treatment (facial vessels) you are using less of a half of the max amount of fluence (e.g. for the 560nm filter you are using 12-15J/cm2 when the max fluence for this filter is 30J/cm2).Anyway as i said before "for what you are hungry there is no discussion".Good day!!!


Charry Chavelas

M.D. Dermatologist-Venereologist

M.Aggelou 5

45332 , Ioannina


04.11 | Unregistered Commentercharry

"I wanted to ask you Charry about your BBL. I am an owner of a day spa and recently became a certified laser technecian
and I am thinking of purchasing the BBL. Do you have good results on the hair removal? You can send me a private
e-mail if you wish. Efxaristo.


04.28 | Unregistered Commenterskincare


Please write out your email in order to communicate....


Charry Chavelas

M.D. Dermatologist-Venereologist

M.Aggelou 5

45332 , Ioannina


04.29 | Unregistered Commentercharry

Sorry, I forgot.
Looking forward to chat

I recently went through the whole Sciton or Palomar bit....I found Sciton the only IPL to make vessels disappear before your eyes. The highest powered machine, far more power than Palomar and 3rd and 4th treatments were way better results with Sciton than Palomar. I am a physcian just getting into the IPL game but have been told by many the Palomar systems were the best and highest powered systmes on the market and it was a load from the rep. If you do your research you will find they are not anywhere close to what Sciton BBL systems can do when you are talking about Time on Tissue. Don't go down the Palomar road. One physcian told me, he thought he had a great system, until he saw a Sciton in action. He got rid of his Palomar system soon after seeing the results and says he can't believe he listened to the rep. Palomar reps are snakes.

07.29 | Unregistered CommenterKaty

If your priority is to clear vessels I would be looking at a 532nm (+ 1064nm) laser like the Gemini. Also look at costs for maintenance...potentially less with a the Gemini laser. Gemini also will treat lentigines and actinic dyschromia.
I recently tested the Artisan (from Palomar) and found the IPL to be quite good (Max G handpiece). Colleagues with the Sciton certainly like the machine but I have had feedback that BBL is not as effective as vascular laser for treating telangiectasia.

07.31 | Unregistered Commenterozderm


It is all based on the size of the vessel. Many lasers can not get the fine venous matting on the cheeks but they can get the larger vessels. I will use both the 1064 nm laser for the larger vessels and then my BBL for the fine vessels. I have even used the BBL fro venous matting following sclerotherapy on the legs with excellent results.

08.2 | Unregistered CommenterLH

It is all about settings when treating vascular lesions, and telangiectasia. I have experienced some settings and watched vessels disappear in one treatment. If the patient can handle the heat, they get results. You can add a 1064 and 1319 Nd YAG to the Joule applicationfor more indications such as acne scars, and wrinkles. In combination with the micro laser peel the result even better.

08.15 | Unregistered CommenterKaty

I accept completely that BBL/IPL can effectively treat telangiectasia and that it does indeed relate to factors like vessel size. Operator experience is also critical.
The gemini 532/1064nm and candela 595nm lasers have large spot sizes. Their wavelengths are well absorbed by hemoglobin. Both are good for treating fine telangiectasia and the background erythema associated with rosacea. Both cool the epidermis and so patient tolerance is good.
The difficulty for physicians is deciding which device to invest in as there are some good ones to choose from. I think versatility, reliability, initial costs and ongoing costs are important considerations.

08.15 | Unregistered Commenterozderm


You are exactly right. That is why I went with the BBL as it has significantly more versatility.


08.16 | Unregistered CommenterLH

has anyone tried the new Icon platform with the max G handpiece and how this compares to the BBL for telangiectasia on the face. it is being touted as equal or better than PDL.

12.25 | Unregistered CommenterLyne

I would like to know if anyone tried Ellipse I2PL for vascular treatments. It would be wonderful to hear experience of users who has other than US brands. Ellipse claim they have best system for vascular treatments. Adding that their dual filter(patent pending?) and square pulse is unique.


04.14 | Registered Commenterahmet okan

i tried both of them the results almost the same according to hair removal but the palomar handpiece is very expensive and i cant make a good profit. how much does it costs the BBL as second hand?? please help

04.19 | Unregistered Commenterteio

@teilo, I would follow any advice that LH gives you. He's well known on these boards and has a great reputation.

04.20 | Unregistered CommenterKami

As a long term Ellipse user as well as a long term Starlux 300/500 user I can safely say that the Ellipse is unsurpassed.
Until the MaxG arrived, the Starlux was underpowered for vascular treatment. The MaxG has corrected this, but nasal telangiectasia do far better with the 1064 YAG (Lyra/Gemini at 1mm, 10-15 msec is best).
The Ellipse is not contact cooled so is less comfortable, and I would not recommend for inexperienced users as it has so much power in reserve. The Starlux has the benefit of portability. We do not use the Ellipse as a hair removal tool (LightSheer for that). The Starlux has the edge as a hair removal IPL as it has large, contact cooled yellow and red heads.
The Ellipse is superior for photorejuvenation.

04.25 | Unregistered CommenterDavid Main

From what I've been reading from the physician interviews, it is better to lease a machine than to purchase splurge. Maybe you should consider that too, EDS.

04.26 | Unregistered CommenterTracey

Which would you folks recommend the best is for treating hyper-pigmentation on all skin tones?

11.6 | Unregistered CommenterDima

There is no one system that will work on all skin types. Pigmentation is a very complicated problem in darker skin types. IPL/BBL/AFT or whatever might be fine in lighter skin but if you starting to deal with birth marks, melasma, PIH, dermal pigments, nevi etc especailly in Type 4 or above, you'd better know what you are doing.

12.6 | Unregistered CommenterCanMD

Hey there, I am not sure if anyone is in the market for a lumenis lumone IPL cosmetic laser machine. It does excellent Fotofacials and has different filters that does laser hair removal and skin tightening (facial rejuvenation). I have closed my spa and I have tons of dealers trying to contact me to purchase it for peanuts. I paid $60,000 for it.
They r selling from 23,000 to 36,000. Will let it go for go for 15,000 OBO.

06.16 | Unregistered CommenterSam

It is hard to take many of these opinions seriously. Everyone is so polarizing..."system X is sooo much better than the rest." Most IPL systems available today work just fine. You just have to learn how to use them properly. I honestly believe that this website is full of reps, especially Sciton. Don't get me wrong; Sciton makes good products, but the bias on this page raises a lot of doubts.

07.7 | Unregistered CommenterTXMD

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