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What is the PicoSure Laser Tattoo Removal?

by Dr. Nazarian@DoctorNazarian

The PicoSure laser can not only remove tattoo ink, but also revitalize skin by treating discoloration, acne scars, and wrinkles. It is important to know all about the different aspects of this treatment before using the PicoSure laser for tattoo removal or skin rejuvenation.

What is the PicoSure Laser?

The PicoSure laser, created by Cynosure has been approved by the FDA. In addition to removing tattoos, this laser is ideal for treating the skin’s pigmentary conditions. Most lasers rely on heat to burn or melt away tattoo ink or melanin. 

PicoSure is the first picosecond aesthetic laser that uses advanced technology to rapidly deliver energy. It causes the tiny particles that make up the skin’s pigment to shatter without burning any surrounding tissue. This technology is therefore safe for all skin types.

PicoSure’s advanced technology uses the body’s natural healing processes to restore skin. It causes less tissue damage and discomfort when compared to other lasers. 

PicoSure laser has three different wavelengths: 

  • 532 nm
  • 755 nm
  • 1064 nm

The PicoSure Laser for Skin Revitalization

Unlike regular lasers that involve painful procedures and longer recovery time, the PicoSure laser aims to improve the appearance of skin with a virtually painless process. PicoSure’s Focus lens is proven to improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. The laser targets melanin in the skin to treat pigmentary conditions including dark spots, sun spots, and acne scars without the downtime typically associated with other lasers. 

The PicoSure activates the body’s natural immune response to promote skin rejuvenation. It delivers rapid energy to the body’s cells, disrupting the particles, and promotes the healing process. The body will naturally create new collagen and elastin which work to remove dark spots and wrinkles. This process helps to unveil brighter, more youthful-looking skin. 

This laser treatment can be used to help diminish the appearance of skin imperfections including:

  • Acne scars
  • Brown spots
  • Fine lines
  • Freckles
  • Melasma
  • Pigmented lesions
  • Stretch marks
  • Wrinkles

The PicoSure Laser for Tattoo Removal

PicoSure is the only tattoo removal laser that uses PressureWave technology. The laser delivers incredibly fast energy that targets tattoo ink. When the energy hits the tattoo ink, the ink particles shatter without harming surrounding skin cells. The shattered ink particles are then absorbed by the body’s lymphatic system and are removed naturally from the body. 

PicoSure works on tattoo ink of all colors and is proven to remove previously treated tattoos that did not respond to normal ink removal lasers. PicoSure works best on colorful tattoos. The Focus lens feature is often used to target and focus the energy on tattoos with darker pigment. 

The color of tattoo ink will determine which laser wavelength is used to target the pigment. The 755nm wavelength is typically used to target darker inks like black, blue, and green. The 532 nm wavelength, although optional, is proven effective and targets brighter colors like red, orange, and yellow. 

If the skin does not respond to these treatments a higher wavelength can be used. It is commonly recommended that darker skin patients with dark ink tattoos use the 1064 nm wavelength to effectively remove ink pigmentation. Using PicoSure technology to remove tattoo ink is safer, more effective, and requires fewer sessions than other lasers. 

The Picosure Laser Tattoo Removal Before and After

See more laser tattoo removal before and after pictures.

The Picosure Laser Skin Resurfacing Results Before and After

See more laser skin resurfacing before and after pictures

Who Should Consider the PicoSure Laser?

The ideal candidate for the PicoSure laser is someone who is physically healthy and does not have skin infections. This procedure is the best fit for someone who is bothered by the appearance of tattoo ink or pigmentation. It is recommended for those who want to treat minor blemishes, dark spots, fine lines, and wrinkles. 

The PicoSure laser is deemed safe for most patients. However, patients should always consult with their doctor and share their medical history before the procedure. 

Pros and Cons of the PicoSure Laser

There are pros and cons of any procedure. The PicoSure laser uses breakthrough medical technology to target the skin and effectively remove tattoos. It promotes skin rejuvenation without damaging skin through the use of heat. 

Here is a general overview of the pros and cons associated with using the PicoSure laser. 

Pros:

  • Safe with minimal skin damage
  • Little to no discomfort or pain
  • Quick treatment session
  • Quick results
  • Minimal recovery time
  • Faster removal of tattoo ink
  • Promotes youthful-looking skin
  • Removes pigmentation and wrinkles
  • Promotes the body’s natural collagen
  • Activates the body’s natural healing process
  • Does not use heat to burn skin

Cons:

  • Expensive 
  • Complex and stubborn tattoos will take longer treatments
  • Redness of the skin immediately following rejuvenation procedures for about 20 minutes

Risks and Side Effects

Most patients do not experience any side effects with The PicoSure laser treatment. The most common side effect experienced is the redness of the skin for about 20 minutes after the treatment. 

Other potential side effects (mostly with tattoo removal) include:

  • Pain
  • Tissue swelling
  • Blistering
  • Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation
  • Post-inflammatory hypopigmentation
  • Pinpoint bleeding

The more pigmentation a person has, whether natural or from tanning, the greater the chance of developing post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation and hypopigmentation. 

There are risks and side effects associated with any aesthetic procedure. However, many patients who choose to use PicoSure develop little to no side effects after the treatment.

Why Use PicoSure Over Other Lasers?

The PicoSure laser is an advanced laser that utilizes cutting edge physics and revolutionary technology to treat skin conditions and remove tattoos without damaging the skin. Other lasers are known to use heat to burn and melt away melanin and tattoo ink. These procedures are painful and require longer recovery time. Although costly, it is important to consider the various factors when comparing the PicoSure lasers with other lasers. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Is PicoSure safe?

Yes, PicoSure is deemed safe to use for the skin. Research shows that this technology is an effective and safe treatment mode for the removal of tattoo pigments. PicoSure is also proven to be effective for skin rejuvenation when targeting pigmentation problems and wrinkles.

The laser minimizes the amount of heat that is transferred to the skin. Less heat used means less damage to the surrounding areas of the skin. This results in less injury and faster recovery time compared with lasers that use heat. 

Is the procedure painful?

No, the procedure is not painful. Most patients feel little to no discomfort from this treatment. Some patients may feel mild discomfort but this is commonly treated with a numbing gel from the provider. With tattoo removal, we perform lidocaine injections to make the removal process painless.

What does the procedure feel like?

The procedure is not painful. Many patients claim that skin rejuvenation treatments feel like a light and warm sand storm feeling. 

Tattoo removal treatments are slightly more discomforting to patients than skin rejuvenation treatments. Many patients claim that it feels similar to getting a tattoo. This is because more energy is required to shatter tattoo ink. If the patient exhibits discomfort, the treatment provider can provide the patient with a numbing cream or numbing injections to aid with the discomfort. 

How long does the treatment take?

The length of the treatment depends on patient needs and skin type. Read further for additional information on treatment length for tattoo ink removal and/or skin rejuvenation treatments.

How long does it take to remove a tattoo?

Treatment length depends on the size of the tattoo. On average, it takes about 10 minutes for each session. However, if the tattoo is large or more complex, then it will take longer. 

How many sessions does it take to remove a tattoo?

The amount of sessions it takes to remove a tattoo depends on the size, complexity, location, and density of ink. Treatments usually occur 6-8 weeks apart. 4-10 treatment sessions are most common for the removal of a tattoo. 

The treatment provider will provide the patient with a personalized plan and estimate for the number of sessions and length of time per session until tattoo removal is successful. 

How long does it take to rejuvenate skin?

Skin rejuvenation commonly takes about 20-30 minutes to numb with numbing cream and about 10 to 15 minutes for the actual treatment. However, the session length can depend on the amount of pigmentation that is being targeted on the skin.

How many sessions does it take to rejuvenate skin?

The amount of sessions it takes to rejuvenate the skin depends on the skin condition or unwanted pigmentation that is being targeted. Treatments for pigmentation typically take place every 2-6 weeks. Treatments using the Focus lens to treat acne scars and wrinkles take place every 3-4 weeks. Most patients require 2-5 treatments to treat skin concerns. 

The provider will provide the patient with a personalized plan and estimate for the number of sessions and length of time until desired results are reached. 

How do I know if the PicoSure laser is the right tattoo removal for me?

The PicoSure laser is proven to remove tattoos of all colors on patients of all skin types. The amount of sessions and length per session is dependent upon individual skin type, tattoo size, and tattoo complexity. Compared to other heat lasers, PicoSure is most effective and less damaging to the skin. 

How do I know if the PicoSure laser is the right skin rejuvenation process for me?

The PicoSure laser is just one out of the variety of aesthetic skin rejuvenation processes available. Patients can treat a variety of skin pigmentation problems as well as target fine lines and wrinkles. The PicoSure laser is beneficial as it promotes the skin’s natural healing process by promoting the production of collagen and does not use harmful heat on the skin.

How long do the results last?

Tattoo removal is permanent after this treatment. PicoSure technology removes ink particles from the human body. 

Skin rejuvenation treatments are long-lasting but are not permanent. As the human body ages, pigmentation problems and wrinkles will naturally re-occur in the skin. PicoSure treatments can be used as a preventative form of treatment by slowing down the appearance of wrinkles and pigmentation in the skin. 

Will there be scarring?

Scarring as a result of the PicoSure laser is extremely rare. The chances may be higher when using the PicoSure laser for tattoo removal as opposed to skin rejuvenation treatments. This is because a higher amount of energy is focused on the target area. 

Patients are more likely to experience temporary hypopigmentation or hyperpigmentation. The skin typically goes back to its natural skin color after the healing process is complete. 

What is the downtime and recovery process like?

There is virtually no downtime required as a result of this treatment. Patients can resume normal activities after treatment. Sun avoidance is recommended with tattoo removal treatments.

After skin rejuvenation treatments, patients commonly experience minor redness and swelling. This is common and should dissipate in a couple of hours. Patients may also apply skin products directly after the treatment if they wish. 

How much does the PicoSure skin rejuvenation treatments or the PicoSure laser tattoo removal cost?

The PicoSure laser is expensive and may cost $400-850 per session. Costs will vary based on the patient’s skin needs and goals. The cost will also vary depending on the treatment center patients wish to attend. 

Is it suitable for all skin types?

Yes, the procedure is suitable for all skin types. The length of the procedure and amount of sessions required may vary depending on skin type, color, and concerns. 

How old do you have to be to use the PicoSure laser?

There is no age requirement to use the PicoSure laser. However, it is recommended that patients be at least 18. Consult with your doctor before starting treatments that use the PicoSure laser. 

Is the PicoSure laser covered by insurance?

The PicoSure laser is considered an aesthetic cosmetic procedure and is not typically covered by insurance. Some providers may offer payment plans for the PicoSure laser procedure. 

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