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January 18, 2021

Pico Laser vs Traditional Laser

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pico vs traditional laser for face treatment

When you hear about laser skin treatments, you think about its effectiveness and the outcome it leaves you with. Laser treatments have been a mainstream choice for several individuals looking to tackle unsightly issues and boost their appearance due to treatments being comparatively straightforward with minimal side effects and anticipated efficiency. With the continuous developments in technology, we have been granted a myriad of choices when it comes to aesthetic treatments.

Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation known for its acronym ‘Laser’ is a non-surgical, non-intrusive treatment that uses heat and light energy to cast out multiple forms of treatments such as elimination of pigmentation, rejuvenate wrinkled or droopy skin, treating acneacne scars, and even tattoo removal! Currently, the Pico Laser has been on the rise in the laser treatment community. 

What is a Q-Switched Laser?

The predecessor to Pico Laser, the Q-Switched laser or nanosecond laser delivers light beams in pulses per nanosecond. The beams work to eliminate the excess pigments into smaller particles by pinpointing a targeted area. These particles are then consumed by the body and discharged by the immune system as waste. The Q-Switched laser, before the popularity of the Pico Laser, was proven as the Gold Standard for treating numerous conditions such as pigmented skin, melasma, wrinkles, acne, and tattoo removals. Now, the need for this treatment has stagnated over time.

What is a Pico Laser?

A Pico laser is a picosecond non-surgical laser that generates intense power (1.8GW) working in ultrashort picosecond laser pulses for immediate and effective results. Compared to a Q-Switched Laser, its pulse rate is 100x shorter meaning that the Pico Laser can administer more laser pulses to the targeted area for optimum efficiency. Due to the shorter pulse duration, the risk of hyper-pigmentation is also lessened as the skin heating up is reduced. 

Another noteworthy point is that due to the ultrashort pulse ability, this laser presents a safe and efficacious procedure to remove tattoos as the pigmentation is broken down into smaller fragments. This also leads to fewer treatment sessions, considerably less to no discomfort and recovery time is reduced depending on the severity of the condition. Despite how new the Pico Laser is, it is greatly respected among Skincare Experts globally. 

In comparison to traditional lasers, the Pico Laser treatment is non-intrusive, making it safer as the skin damage is particularly minimal and does not impact the surrounding tissues during the treatment. Hence, there are fewer complications when it comes to scarring, burning, and pigmentation side effects. Traditional lasers such as Q-Switched lasers can be unsuccessful regarding certain skin types, while the Pico Laser is suitable for all skin types due to its precision.

Which is the better laser: Q-switched laser or Pico laser? 

diagram pico vs traditional laser

As Asians, we have experienced drawbacks to our naturally blessed smooth skin. Unfortunately, we are more susceptible to pigmentation issues such as freckles to the much-feared hyperpigmentation. Most women tend to notice parts of their facial skin slowly darken due to the external environment, the sun, chemicals, and even hormonal changes. Those unwanted dark spots on the face result from the increased production of melanin. Unfortunately, it is hyperpigmentation that frequently torments most of the population. 

No laser is “better” than the other per se, but a certain one might be better suited for your skin condition. We’ve created a table for your quick comparison:

A quick table comparison between Q-Switched Laser and PicoCare 450 Pico Laser.

Q-Switched LaserPicoCare 450 Pico Laser
Results are observed after a longer period of time when applied to difficult skin pigmentationResults are noted in a quicker time when applied to difficult skin pigmentation
More treatments are required when administered to difficult skin pigmentationThe number of treatments needed is reduced when administered to difficult skin pigmentation

When it comes to eradicating skin pigmentation, doctors have been known to utilise both lasers. However, there are serious skin pigmentation issues that Q-Switched lasers are not able to eliminate. Freckles (Solar Lentigines), Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation, Melasma, and Sun Spots are skin conditions that can be treated by both Q-Switched lasers and PicoCare 450 lasers.

Freckles: Small brown spots on your skin that form due to the overproduction of melanin that comes from ultraviolet (UV) radiation stimulation. There are two types of freckles: ephelides and solar lentigines. Ephelides are freckles that result from sun exposure and sunburns and can pop up on anyone who has not protected themselves from UV rays. Freckles are found most commonly among people with lighter skin tones. Solar lentigines are dark patches of skin that include freckles, sunspots, and ageing spots that develop in adults over 40 years old.

Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation (PIH): A pigmentation that occurs after an occasion of inflammation to the skin, for instance, acne, eczema, or chemical peels. People of darker tones are more susceptible to this condition and can be noticed as blotches of light or dark brown or pink coloured skin.  

Melasma: Frequently occurs among women aged 20-40 years old these darker discoloured patches occur on the skin from hormonal changes during the child-bearing period, or due to taking birth control or stress can usher melasma to flare-up.

Sun Spots: This results in the development of light to dark brown spots on the skin caused by ultraviolet rays from the sun. The rays increase the assembly of melanin in the skin at an irregular pace darkening certain parts of the skin while the rest remains normal, ruining our perfect complexion. Those with fairer skin are more prone to this condition. 

These few skin conditions can be treated by both Q-Switched Laser and PicoCare 450 Laser. However, when it comes to the treatment of melasma, it has been shown that using both lasers consecutively is far more beneficial rather than just using either one. Q-Switched lasers are rather helpful in separating pigmentation blotches that are bigger into bite-sized portions. Pico lasers are utilised to eliminate the last pigments into tinier pieces afterward. These are then absorbed into the skin and treated by the body to be discharged as waste. This technique type, using both the lasers has been optimised by trained doctors, especially when dealing with more complex melasma cases.

Why is PicoCare 450 Pico Laser used more frequently for laser therapy?

Despite Pico Lasers being remarkably new, the second generation PicoCare 450 laser, utilised by Cambridge Medical Group, has been proven effective for skin rejuvenation and pigmentation removal treatments. This effectively breaks up the pigments into smaller fragments by leading laser energy into the skin that is soaked up by the pigments. This in turn, activates the body’s immune system and begins flushing out the shattered pigments. 

The PicoCare 450 laser has also upped the speed game by releasing light pulses at the rate of a picosecond, faster than a nanosecond. This permits each treatment session to be completed in less time and is far more successful. Through this high efficiency, the treatment needs to discharge fewer shots, which means less thermal heat produced, decreased pain, lesser side effects, and little to no skin irritation. 

PicoCare 450 utilises the Pico laser that discharges shots of lasers at a much faster speed. This produces a photoacoustic shock wave that smashes pigments into tiny fragments with deft accuracy. The speed of the shock wave is distributed at a trillionth of a second that permits the slightest production of heat. The heat can reach the target area and disappear so quickly that the skin has no chance to soak up the heat produced. 

What are some of the benefits of PicoCare 450 Pico Laser?

Reduction of Acne Scarring: At Cambridge, we carry an advanced extension of the Pico 450 Laser, the HEXA Microlens Array Technology (or HEXA MLA for short) for acne scar removal. The Pico Laser + HEXA MLA allows 15 times more light energy focus on each dot. When the Pico 450 Laser and HEXA MLA are combined, it creates a special chain effect called Laser Induced Optical Breakdown (or LIOB for short) Plasma Cavitation. This creates “bubbles” on the treatment area under the skin which has the ability to lift depressed acne scars, thus smoothening uneven skin. It is effective, safe, and has a shorter recover time compared to CO2 Lasers.

Reduction of Fine Lines, Wrinkles, Dark Spots, and Improved Skin Rejuvenation: Some of the other benefits that PicoCare 450 has to offer is if individuals tend to experience any skin problems that are quite persistent such as wrinkles, fine lines, and dark spots. The Pico laser utilises skin resurfacing to mark the dermal skin layers to activate elastin and collagen production, in comparison to traditional laser treatments, that tend to burn away your skin and then force it to heal. The increase in collagen production diminishes the look and feel of fine lines and wrinkles. This leads to firmer, renewed skin that goes with a fresh and radiant complexion. Their skin will naturally heal on its own and this will not need much time. 

Effective Tattoo Removal: For several years, Q-Switched lasers have been known as the gold standard for tattoo removal, though the effectiveness was never this powerful. The arrival of Pico lasers has increased the bar in the past couple of years. The PicoCare 450 laser uses energy pulses within a short period of time to target several types of tattoo ink pigments, even those that are coloured or deep into the dermis layers. This generates pressure waves that smash the tattoo ink pigments into minute particles. The laser is extremely effective on brighter ink pigments such as red, orange, and yellow. 

Traditional lasers tend to depend on heat or light waves to shatter the tattoo ink pigments that then permits the body to absorb it, diminishing the colour. The PicoCare 450 Lasers are unique in this matter as they utilise both light and heat waves to break apart the ink. Combined with the faster, shorter energy pulses, this diminishes the possibility of thermal ink damage while ensuring that it is a far more efficient solution for tattoo removal. 

Minimal Discomfort and No Recovery Downtime: The PicoCare 450 Laser is a non-intrusive laser treatment that honours its patients in presenting little to no discomfort depending on the patient during the process and after. Many patients have recounted experiencing the procedure as ‘rubber bands snapping' against the skin. Additionally, the individual may experience a mild tingling sensation due to the shock waves putting pressure in the dermal layers caused by the laser. Once the procedure is completed, they will either encounter no discomfort at all or a mild redness in the treated areas. This will clear up within a few hours.

A Safe Treatment for ALL Skin Types:

diagram pico vs traditional laser

The treatment procedure is safe to discharge for all skin types as the PicoCare 450 laser uses non-thermal energy to target distinct skin cells instead of generally penetrating the skin’s surface layers. This ensures that everyone can go for the PicoCare 450 Laser without any harm or risk to them and can also be used for other parts of the body, not just the face. 
 
In comparison with traditional lasers and the previous generation of Pico lasers, the PicoCare 450 laser is one you should consider if you have been doing your research in aesthetic treatments. With its many benefits, the PicoCare 450 laser sets the bar for the laser market standard that could help in making your decision. 

For more information on the treatment, visit our PicoCare 450 Pico Laser. Make sure to consult your doctor prior to any treatments or cosmetic procedures for a better gauge if the treatment is suitable for you

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