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In the world of aesthetic medicine, laser treatments are a favourite go-to procedure for solving a lot of skin problems. Spot fat reduction and hair removal included. One such type that has been gaining popularity recently is the “pico laser”. Pico lasers have been advertised as “faster, safer, and better” than traditional ones. Because of all the fuss, several patients of mine have been curious about this great piece of technology.
But what exactly is this procedure? Is there really any truth to the claim that it’s more effective for solving skin problems than the traditional one? What exactly can a pico laser treatment do for you?
To answer these questions, here are 15 things you need to know about pico laser treatment in Singapore.
1. The “pico” stands for a picosecond or 1/1000000000000 of a second
A picosecond laser, shortened as “pico laser”, is a type of laser that emits optical pulses at a speed of 1 pulse per 1 to 10 picoseconds. This means that each second, a pico laser emits 1 trillion optical pulses!
Because of its really fast speed, it belongs to a category of lasers called ultrafast lasers or ultrashort pulse lasers. It is an improved version of Q-switched nanosecond lasers, which emit 1 billion pulses per second.
2. Pico lasers have a greater advantage over traditional lasers
Compared to traditional lasers that use a single Q-switched technology, picosecond lasers are distinctively different. They release laser energy at higher peaks with a shorter pulse period, which results in safer and more effective treatment. That is why the conventional technique may require as twice the number of sessions to achieve similar results. In some cases, even after six rounds older technology lasers do not produce results at all. Think of all the money and time you must spend with traditional laser treatments.
In addition, if not performed by a well-trained professional, the traditional laser may cause reactions such as hyperpigmentation, swelling and blisters. Developing these may require you to undergo more sessions to address the issue.
3. Pico lasers are guaranteed safe
Picosecond lasers are FDA-approved and therefore, they are certified safe. For additional safety, picosecond laser technology minimises damage to the surrounding skin by controlling the amount of heat discharged into the target area. Thus, there is less downtime and zero to minimal side effects.
4. Pico laser treatments can only be performed by a qualified doctor
In Singapore, only qualified doctors are permitted to treat medical concerns with the use of lasers. Be extra cautious and don’t be fooled by scams who offer cheap pico laser services in beauty salons or spas. These treatments are usually performed by a non-qualified individual. Not to mention, they are illegal and extremely unsafe.
5. Pico lasers are effective in treating skin pigmentation problems
One of the main selling points of picosecond lasers is their effectiveness. This is especially true when it comes to skin pigmentation issues such as melasma and solar lentigines.
Ultrafast lasers, in general, are great for targeting melanin (which causes the skin pigmentation) underneath the skin for two reasons:
- The high intensity of each pulse is strong enough to destroy the melanin pigmentation in the skin. Picosecond lasers are precisely calibrated to be able to deliver the right amount of energy to shatter and destroy the melanin under the skin.
- Because pico lasers deliver pulses at ultrafast speeds, there is just enough time to destroy the melanin all the while keeping the surrounding tissue undamaged. A longer pulse would mean a bigger chance for the beams to damage the surrounding area.
Since picosecond lasers are faster than traditional lasers, it is a safer and more effective solution for pigmentation removal.
6. Pico lasers are also great for tattoo removal
Ever regretted your decision of getting a tattoo when you were younger? Don’t worry because picosecond lasers are effective in removing tattoos. The science behind skin pigmentation removal is similar to tattoo removal. And this makes picosecond lasers wonderful tools for the latter. The only difference is that instead of targeting the secreted melanin of melanocytes, they get to the tattoo ink under your skin.
7. A pico laser can also assist in treating wrinkles and scars
In treating wrinkles and scars, the usual laser treatment utilised is an ablative or non-ablative laser procedure. These laser treatments work by stimulating your skin to produce more collagen, thereby rejuvenating the skin and making it tighter and firmer.
A pico laser can be used in conjunction with these treatments to reach a deeper area of skin. This allows for better and more pleasing results compared to without the pico laser. When opting for pico lasers to treat scars and wrinkles, a higher intensity setting is chosen which may cause redness.
8. Pico lasers are often used in conjunction with nanosecond lasers for better results
The one advantage of nanosecond lasers over picosecond lasers is that they can target a larger area of skin in each pulse.
Thus, for larger pigment spots (such as a big solar lentigo) or tattoos a doctor can first use a nanosecond laser to dissolve the pigment into smaller spots. Afterwards, a picosecond laser may be used to further dissolve these into tinier pieces. This strategy can save both time and effort for the specialist performing the treatment.
9. The cost of pico laser treatments may vary
The cost of pico laser treatments in Singapore may range from $250 to $1,000 per session. There are numerous factors involved, including:
- The number of sessions (usually 4-6)
- The type of medical problem to be treated (e.g., pigmentation, tattoo removal, wrinkles or pimple scarring)
- The complexity of the medical concern and the procedure to be performed
- The patient's skin type (sensitive skin may require more rounds)
- Doctor’s fee
- Follow-up check-ups and medications if you develop side effects (though extremely rare)
This product is expensive for a reason. Picosecond laser technology is not only the newest advancement in the cosmetic world, but also one of the most effective cosmetic treatments available.
It is important to note that some clinics may charge hidden costs that are not discussed during your consultation period. So, it is better to ask for a detailed calculation of your total treatment fee to avoid inconveniences in the future.
10. Pico lasers treatments have minimal discomfort
For pico laser treatments, minimal discomfort and heating sensation may be expected during the delivery of energy into the skin. The extent of this really depends on the tolerance of each person.
As a word of advice, it is important the patient speaks up if there is any unpleasant feeling, so the doctor can try to address the issue right away. They will employ different methods such as numbing cream, ice packs ,and anaesthetics.
After the procedure, people may also get some sort of discomfort, but nevertheless tolerable, that will go away in a few hours.
11. Pico lasers also have minimal to zero downtime
Pico laser treatment is naturally non-invasive - meaning, there is no surgery needed. Therefore, patients can expect minimal downtime. Some even say that after each session, they can effortlessly proceed to their normal everyday routine without experiencing any issues.
12. Minimal side effects can be expected after pico laser treatments
Some patients report minimal side effects like dry skin and minor hyperpigmentation after every session. The good thing is these disappear in a couple of days. With pico lasers, you don't have to worry about scarring. Truth is, the risk is insignificant compared with conventional laser technologies.
For those who have undergone tattoo removal using pico lasers, some mild scabbing may be expected but will also go away after a few days. While recovering, make sure you keep yourself from exposure to direct sunlight to prevent further complications.
13. Pico lasers can deliver satisfactory results
After the treatment, instant results can already be felt and after a few weeks, the effects will be more evident. After pico laser treatment, reduced wrinkles, smaller pores, lessened hollowness, lesser pigmentation and an overall tightening of the face can be expected. These effects of pico laser are long lasting and very effective.
For tattoo removal using pico lasers, 75%-90% development in tattoo removal can be expected within 4-6 rounds. Other traditional machines such as Q-switched lasers may require twice as many sessions to achieve the same results. This also applies to laser machines unlawfully used in salons and spas.
For patients with acne scars, an average of 70%-80% improvement can be expected after the treatment. The number of sessions will depend on different factors such as the severity of the scaring, the size of the affected area and the patient’s responsiveness to the manipulation. The optimum result is achieved over a period of 2-3 months to give the skin time to produce new collagen.
14. There are many brands of pico lasers in Singapore
In Singapore, there are several existing brands of Pico laser technology that are offered by different clinics. However, not all of them deliver the same level of treatments. As a result of continuing advancements in technology and medical research, newer generations of picosecond lasers are now emerging.
Due to the highly technical differences between the various brands of pico lasers, it can be very difficult to decide which one to choose. The best way to ensure that you are getting the correct pico laser technology for you is to discuss it with your doctor. During your consultation, you can ask them about the type of brand he/she is using and what wavelengths are available.
Usually, different products offer specific treatments (i.e., pigmentation treatments). What is more, a picosecond laser that can produce more wavelengths will be able to address a wider range of medical concerns.
It is also essential to note if there have been published medical researches and trials with the specific brand. This way you can have a better understanding of its quality and effectiveness.
15. There are numerous clinics in Singapore that offer a wide range of pico laser treatments
Before committing to a doctor and clinic, remember to do your research, read reviews online. Be sure to check for the doctor’s qualifications and related training, the type of treatments offered, and the type of machine to be used. Also, ask for opinion from other people who have tried the treatments before, so you can have an informed decision.
Keep in mind that pico laser treatments are medical procedures and they require utmost care by a qualified medical professional. So, it is crucial to choose a doctor you can trust.