What is a Pico Laser?
One step up from the ever-popular Q-Switched Laser, the Discovery Pico Laser (or picosecond laser) comes in an ablative and non-ablative modes. It is used for pigmentation removal, acne scars, skin rejuvenation and brightening, and tattoo removal.
The Pico Laser works in ultrashort picosecond laser pulses, as compared to nanosecond pulses in a Q-Switched Laser.
The pulse duration (how much time 1 laser shot stays on the skin) of a Picosecond Laser is 100x shorter than a Q-Switched Laser. This means more shots can be fired by a Picosecond Laser in the same amount of time.
The shorter pulse duration also means that the skin heats up less. This reduces the risk of hyper-pigmentation which can sometimes form due to laser procedures.
Pico Laser vs Q-Switched Laser Comparison
Like the Q-Switched Laser, the Pico Laser mainly operates at a 1064nm wavelength. The Discovery Pico Laser, with its patented Quanta Pico-Boost Technology, can deliver up to 1.8GW of power, making the Discovery Pico the most powerful laser in its class.
At 1064nm wavelength, both the Q-Switched Laser and Pico Laser targets pigmentation. Pigmentation under the skin absorbs the laser energy shatters into smaller fragments. These fragmented pigments are then removed by the skin’s immune system.
The Picosecond laser breaks down pigmentation into much smaller fragments as compared to a Q-Switched Laser. This not only enables to skin to clear these fragments faster and easier, it also reduces the number of treatments required.
With the Discovery Pico Laser, pigmentations and tattoos can cleared much faster than a Q-Switched Laser (i.e. lesser sessions).
Dr. Tan prefers to tackle and clear pigmentation conditions within a few sessions of the Pico Laser, and maintain the results with regular sessions of the Q-Switched Laser.
For patients seeking treatment for active acne, the Q-Switched Laser (or Pro-Yellow Laser) will still be the laser of choice. This is due to the higher amount of heat generated which kills P.acne bacteria, reduces inflammation, and shrinks oil glands.
Have a discussion with our doctors about your concerns and condition to better understand which laser would be more beneficial for you.
Benefits / What to expect from a Picosecond Laser
- Pigmentation reduction
- Acne marks clearance
- Brighter and tighter skin due to collagen stimulation
- Reduction in fine lines
- Faster and more effective removal of tattoos
Some videos to help you understand how the pico laser works for removal of tattoos and pigmentation.
Is the procedure painful?
This is based on individual’s pain tolerance and location of the pigmented lesion(s). Most patients are able to tolerate the lasers sessions without much discomfort. The laser feels like tiny warm pricks on the skin.
Are there any side effects?
A small portion of patients can experience a pinkish flush or mild itchiness after the laser. This goes away within a few hours.
Is there any downtime?
You can return to work or daily activities immediately after the laser. One should avoid prolonged / intentional sun exposure for a week post-laser to avoid hyper-pigmentation. Creams are sometimes prescribed for this purpose as well.
For certain patients, greying/browning/darkening of the existing pigmentation may be expected before it fades off. This is normal and one shouldn’t worry as it fades off in time.
How many sessions are required?
Depending on condition and the type of pigmentation, number of treatments can vary. A few factors influence the outcome of the treatment; nature of pigmentation, skin type, skin health, hormones, sun exposure, acne, etc.
On average, about 4 – 6 treatments will be required for best results.
Are results permanent?
Most pigmentation, like tattoos, will not return after removal. However, due to sun exposure, aging and hormonal changes (mostly in women), new pigmentation can develop.
It is important to apply sunscreen to prevent new pigmentation from forming. Regular maintenance treatments with the Pico Laser or Q-Switched Laser can also benefit some patients.
Why choose the Discovery Pico over other Picosecond lasers?
There are 3 main picosecond Lasers available in Singapore. The Discovery Pico, PicoSure, and PicoWay.
Some clinics may offer other lasers as a “Pico Laser” – an example being the Fotona Starwalker. While they may work to varying extents, they are not true picosecond lasers, and are unable to generate the speed as a genuine pico laser. Thus, these lasers may give different results as compared to a genuine picosecond laser.
The Discovery Pico, being a second-generation pico laser, generates the highest peak power. It is the most powerful dual wavelength pico laser in the world. This ensures that results are faster, and more effective with lesser sessions.