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Pico Laser procedure is one of the most popular treatments for pigmentation removal in Singapore, due to its effectiveness and treatment benefits. In recent years, it has become one of the most sought-after treatments for pigmentation, acne scars, skin rejuvenation, skin brightening, and for tattoo removal.
But what exactly does a Pico Laser do? What makes Pico Laser stand out from the rest? Is Pico Laser right for you? Unsure? Fret not. This article is YOUR guide to everything you need to know about Pico Lasers in Singapore.
What is Pico Laser?
Pico Laser is not exactly a brand, neither is it a machine. It is actually a type of laser technology. The name ‘Pico’ refers to the technology that is able to produce laser beams of extremely short duration - picosecond.
This laser is a new development that has an extremely short pulse duration of picoseconds (10-12 seconds), or a trillionth of a second and generates very high-power energy to the tune of up to 1.8 GW. It comes in different wavelengths - 532nm, 755nm, 1064nm and can specifically target damaged melanocytes at different depths of the skin, making it a safe and effective therapy for a range of pigmentation conditions 
Once used exclusively for tattoo removal, the first Picosecond laser used for pigmentation removal was the 755nm Alexandrite laser. Subsequently, other manufacturers modified the design of their nanosecond 532nm and 1064nm Nd YAG lasers (with a pulse duration of 10-9 seconds) or a billionth of a second to produce picosecond pulses.
The Alexandrite picosecond laser is different therapeutic effects. Using high peak power and ultra-short pulse duration, Pico Lasers can break down melanin into much smaller and finer particles compared to nanosecond lasers, eliminating pigmentation more efficiently .
As Pico Lasers have a pulse rate that is 100 shorter than a nanosecond laser, it targets pigmentation with more photoacoustic (sound) energy and has less thermal energy. The much shorter pulse duration therefore reduces the chances of skin heating up and thus decreases the risk of hyperpigmentation.
Studies indicate that this class of lasers generate energies at picosecond frequencies, selectively targets melanin pigments, and avoids thermal damage to adjoining tissues .
Pico Lasers also require a shorter amount of time to deliver effective results, which means fewer treatment sessions .
What Conditions can Pico Laser Treat?
How Pico Laser Works on Your Skin
Pico Laser technology selectively targets pigmented lesions to deliver a speedy and effective treatment. It also induces elastin production to add softness, and plumpness to skin giving it a more youthful appearance.
The Pico Laser blasts the pigments in the skin by focusing extremely short pulses of laser light onto the treatment zones. Even as the laser heats up the melanin pigments, it does not raise the temperature of the surrounding skin cells as much as the nanosecond laser because of the ultra-short duration of the light pulses. Once the pigments disintegrate under the impact of the laser beams, the body’s lymphatic processes flush out the sediment gradually over the following weeks and months.
The high precision level of the Pico Laser technology allow maximum utilisation of the photoacoustic energy and help deliver optimal results. This is also a reason that despite its extremely concentrated energy, the laser does not harm the skin’s outer layer. As a result, patients undergoing Pico Laser treatment experience minimal discomfort .
It is an extremely precise technology, which allows the practitioner to achieve the optimal photomechanical effect. Although its pulses of energy are highly concentrated, the laser’s effect is gentle to the outer layer of the skin. Pico Lasers do not burn the skin - patients typically experience very little or no discomfort during the course of their treatment.
The Pico laser is better able to produce Laser Induced Optical Breakdown (LIOB). This is a phenomenon that occurs when short-pulsed high-energy lasers and induce deep dermal cavitation as a result of a non-thermal photomechanical effect which is a good treatment for acne scarring.
Effectiveness of Pico Laser in Clinical Studies
In the treatment of pigmentary disorders as well as other skin concerns such as scarring, several studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of Pico Laser in comparison with other lasers in treating these conditions.
One study evaluated the efficacy and safety of the picosecond 755nm alexandrite laser against the 1064nm Q-Switched Nd:YAG laser for the treatment of melasma in Asians. The test was conducted on 12 patients who received 4 sessions of treatment at a 1-month interval in a split-face manner. The right side of each patient's face received 755 nm picosecond laser, and the other side received 1064 nm Q-Switched Nd:YAG laser.
At the 3 months follow-up, greater clearance was observed at the 755 nm picosecond laser side compared to the 1064 nm Q-Switched Nd:YAG side. The 755 nm Alexandrite picosecond laser has been observed to achieve a faster and better clearance rate for melasma compared to 1064 nm Q-Switched Nd:YAG laser .
Another study assessed various novel oral, injectable and topical treatments, and also investigated laser and light treatment in melasma. It found that the picosecond laser had shown excellent results in the test subjects.
In addition to the studies that tested the treatment of pigmentary disorders with Pico Laser, some studies also showed promising results when it comes to the treatment of acne scars. One study demonstrated favourable clinical outcomes in acne scar management with the 755 nm picosecond laser. Treatment of facial acne scars with a diffractive lens array and 755 nm picosecond laser produced improvement in appearance and texture after 3 months .
Side Effects of Pico Laser
While Pico Laser treatments are mostly well tolerated, potential side effects from Pico Laser treatments include pain, erythema, oedema, pinpoint bleeding, crusting, blistering, scarring, post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation and post-inflammatory hypopigmentation.
That said, Pico Laser treatments are safe to be used to treat the mentioned skin conditions and should be performed by appropriately trained personnel only.
This is why at Ensoul Medical Clinic, the treatment protocol utilizes a combination of different treatment modalities to effectively target skin concerns, whether it is acquired pigmentary disorders, acne, or even skin rejuvenation for scars and wrinkles. This also allows for a tailored treatment for each individual patient to effectively target their unique skin concerns.
Speak to us today to find out more about Pico Laser treatment.