Tattoos are more popular than ever — 36 percent of young Americans have one or more of them, according to the Pew Research Center — and, while a good chunk of these people love their tats, others have the occasional regret. In fact, a survey presented at the annual meeting of the British Association of Dermatologists (BAD) found that nearly one-third of people who have tattoos regret getting them. So what do you do when you have tattoo regret? Look into tattoo removal procedures, of course!
There are dozens of solutions on the market, from laser tattoo removal to creams and cover-ups. When you’re shopping around for different ways to zap away your regrettable tat’s, you’ll find that laser options are by and large the most popular and most effective procedures. In short, lasers target the old tattoo ink, breaking it into small fragments that are then flushed away by your immune system. Pretty cool, right? But like all cosmetic procedures, not all laser treatments are created equally.
That is why we utilize PicoSure tattoo removal, a technology developed after decades of research by Cynosure.
How Does PicoSure Work?
Unlike traditional lasers, PicoSure laser tattoo removal works by delivering short bursts of PressureWaveTM technology at a wavelength of either 532 nm, 755 nm or 1064 nm, depending on the treatment. Compared with traditional Q-switched lasers (at one time the most popular laser technology for removing unwanted tat’s), the PicoSure laser doesn’t rely on heat or burning to melt away tattoos.
Instead, it uses rapid, short pulse energy, called Picosecond technology, to penetrate the tattoo colors and break them up. The patented PressureWaveTM is more hyper-focused than regular lasers’ nanosecond technology. The pulse width used in this picosecond laser is 100 times shorter than a nanosecond, which triggers a photomechanical effect and improves the results of the removal process.
Essentially, the PicoSure treatment shoots this advanced laser into the ink that breaks it into tiny particles that are similar to dust. These particles are then absorbed by the body’s lymphatic system and eliminated naturally. Compared with traditional nanosecond lasers, picosecond lasers require fewer treatments and are more likely to get rid of the most stubborn inks.
The PicoSure Procedure
What can you expect when you go under the light, so to speak? The PicoSure procedure is similar to other skin resurfacing procedures in the sense that for ideal results it will require multiple treatments. Each session typically takes 10 to 15 minutes and most patients report only mild pain (more on that below). How many sessions are required depends on the size, color and age of your tattoo, but most tattoos are completely removed within two to six sessions.
Compared to traditional laser tattoo removal treatments, which typically take six to 12 laser treatments for completion, PicoSure offers a quicker and easier solution. Side effects are minimal, and you’re able to return to your daily life immediately after treatment. This is great news for people who are keen on the idea of “lunch break tattoo removal”. You also won’t be required to cover up the area after treatment.
Like any laser treatment, some level of pain can be expected during the PicoSure procedure as well. Most people report that it feels similar to the sensation of a rubber band snapping against the skin. In other words, it’s not much worse than getting a new or cover-up tattoo. The good news is that most providers are able to pre-treat the area with a numbing cream to help dull the pain.
Why It’s Different
PicoSure is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for tattoo removal, wrinkles, acne scar treatment and the removal of benign pigmented lesions. It’s safe for all skin types and claims to zap away all tattoo inks, regardless of color. The treatment is recommended for erasing multicolored, black, and previously-treated tattoos.
PicoSure also effectively removes the most stubborn recalcitrant tattoos. These are the tattoos that, no matter how many times they’ve been zapped, just won’t disappear. PicoSure lasers break up the residual ink colors — especially those super stubborn black and green inks — and difficult scarring on the surrounding skin for a clean result post-treatment.
Because PicoSure is considered a more premium way to get rid of unwanted tattoos, it’s an excellent option for people who want amazing results regardless of whether or not their tattoo removal treatments have shown success in the past. And, as previously mentioned, PicoSure stands out from other forms of laser tattoo removal because it does the job in fewer sessions.
Older tattoo removal lasers only heated the ink, whereas PicoSure heats and fractures it. This, coupled with the quick-pulsing laser, makes it a much faster alternative. This form of tattoo removal is also considered to be less painful than traditional lasers. This is because most standard lasers, such as Q-switched lasers, penetrate the skin more deeply and can affect the nerve fibers which trigger pain.