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What is the Difference between Pico and a Switch Technology?

Updated: Dec 9, 2022

What is the Difference between Pico and a Switch Technology?

Deciding the best way to remove a tattoo is not as simple as choosing what kind of coffee to drink for the day.

The entire ink removal process involves a lot of intricacies. So when thinking about removing an unwanted tattoo, you should always go for the safer, more effective, and lesser painful tattoo removal method.

Over the years, medical professionals have explored various techniques that diminish unwanted tattoos while only having minimal side effects. With this, most experts consider laser surgery to be the most successful and cost-effective way to remove tattoos.

Before getting laser tattoo removal treatments, one of the most crucial things to know is the technology used in the process. Since laser devices are under the supervision of a trained professional, the tattoo removal treatment requires using the appropriate type of laser, understanding the tissue’s reaction to the laser, and knowing the proper way to treat the affected area after the procedure.

Here are the two most common types of laser removal technology available and what makes them different from each other.

What is Pico Laser Technology?

The Pico laser, also called picosecond, is a non-surgical and non-invasive laser skin treatment that can attend to various cosmetic concerns and is safe on multiple areas of the body. Since the laser delivers energy in ultra-short bursts, its name was derived from the time metric "picosecond"- meaning one trillionth of a second.

Recognized as one of the few lasers proven to be safe and effective for treating all skin types and skin tones, this is what makes the Pico laser even more unique.

How It Works For Tattoo Removal

A Pico laser works by using ultra-short pulses of energy (without heat) to shatter ink particles at high pressure, causing tattoo pigments to be pulverized. As a result, this breaks tattoo inks into dust particles that are smaller compared to those fragmented by traditional lasers. Ultimately, the powdered pigments are absorbed much more efficiently by the body, resulting in speedier elimination of the ink particles.

Though Pico lasers send out intense pulses of energy, it is gentle to the outer layer of skin, causing patients only feel mild to no discomfort during treatment. Also, the ultra-short vibrations mean even lesser thermal damage to surrounding normal tissue, lessening the swelling and reducing the risks of scarring. Thus, making it one of the most gentle laser treatments on the market.

What is Switch Laser Technology?

A quality switched laser, or commonly known as Q-Switched, is a non-invasive laser that creates beam pulses lasting a billionth of a second and are powerful enough to shatter tiny fragments of ink or pigmentation, which are naturally reabsorbed and disposed of by the body.

This pulse of energy heats up to dissolve the ink in your skin, not damaging the surrounding tissue and not causing unwanted side effects.

How it Works For Tattoo Removal

There are types of Q-Switched lasers designed for treating different tattoo colors since varying ink colors absorb light differently.

Once the Q-Switched laser is pulsed over the tattoo, the ink particles absorb the emitted energy and break it down into smaller fragments. Subsequently, after the laser procedure, the body’s immune system will flush away the broken ink particles and cause the tattoo to fade. Essentially, a Q-switched laser takes a short time which allows practitioners to selectively break the tattoo ink particles while still leaving the surrounding skin intact.

How do Pico and Switch Laser differ?

Though both lasers do produce substantial results in skin areas that they set out to target, the difference in their process does play a vital role in the degree of effectiveness in removing permanent tattoos.

Switch lasers, producing light pulses of several nanoseconds, is an old technology that has worked reasonably well for many decades. However, in 2013, laser tattoo removal took a significant technological leap with picosecond lasers.

In cosmetic treatments, most lasers work practically the same way. The device used pushes energy waves deep into the skin, promoting healing and boosting collagen production.

Both of these lasers operate by delivering laser pulses to the focused area on the skin. However, Pico lasers deliver these pulses within picoseconds roughly a hundred times faster than the Switch laser, which does so within nanoseconds. Consequently, this means that more laser pulses within a given time can be delivered by the Pico laser versus a Q-Switched laser.

Moreover, Pico technology allows the laser to break up the tattoo ink into much smaller particles than the Q-Switched technology. With this, the body is then able to absorb these smaller particles more easily, making the tattoo removal process become much faster.

Making The Smart Choice

If you’re looking where to get Picosecond tattoo removal treatments, the Vanish Clinic in Toronto provides quality tattoo removal services using this exact laser technology. Our PicoWay laser treatment is one of the most reliable on the market. It’s quick, efficient, and comes with a flat fee pricing that allows you to save more. It’s an offer you won’t find anywhere else.

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