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Tell Me More About Picosecond Lasers

Mar 19, 2021

Tell me more about picosecond lasers

Picosecond lasers use pulse durations of less than 1 nanosecond, which causes predominantly photoacoustic damage (pulses of light that can be measured by changes in pressure ie, sound waves) rather than photothermal destruction of pigment or ink particles (measured by production of heat). This results in effective clearance of abnormal pigment, while minimising photothermal damage to the surrounding tissue.

Why choose a picosecond laser?

A picosecond laser selectively destroys the target pigment without damaging healthy, normal tissue. This allows rapid clearing of the abnormal pigmentation with minimal collateral damage to surrounding tissue.

Picosecond lasers used for tattoo removal require fewer treatments, cause fewer side effects, and result in reduced post-procedural downtime compared to nanosecond Q-switched lasers. They can clear some tattoos that are refractory to other forms of laser therapy, and there is a reduced risk of causing scarring and hypopigmentation.

The additional cost and reduced availability of picosecond lasers compared to Q-switched lasers currently restricts their widespread use.

picosecond lasers


For small tattoos, approximately 5cm2, treatment is recommended every 4 – 6 weeks.

For large tattoos, it is recommended that you wait 6- 8 weeks in between treatments to allow the area to heal before the next laser delivery.

The type of tattoo (professional or amateur), size of the ink particles and colours used, which require different types of laser wavelength use, all have a bearing on the number of treatments sessions you will need to clear the tattoo. An experienced practitioner will be able to evaluate your tattoo and its response to treatment to recommend a realistic number of treatments that you will need.

Due to the way in which the picosecond technology shatters the ink, you will need fewer sessions than with traditional Q-switched laser tattoo removal techniques. Small tattoos can be treated and leave virtually no trace in approximately 4 – 6 sessions.