It may seem like magic, but the tattoo removal process is actually more of a technical marvel. Far removed from the weaponized “lasers” referred to by Dr. Evil in the Austin Powers movies, lasers used for tattoo removal are completely safe. At Ink-B-Gone, we use two different effective lasers, the Quanta EVO and the PicoWay. We will focus on the PicoWay Laser for this blog.

What is the PicoWay Laser?

This laser is revolutionary because it uses short picosecond pulses – these are the shortest pulses available. Because each one lasts only 1 trillionth (the prefix pico literally means one trillionth) of a second, they are effective without heating up the skin or causing huge discomfort. The PicoWay laser is approved by the FDA and is produced by Syneron Candela, a global medical aesthetic device company based in Massachusetts. The PicoWay laser offers the highest power in the industry. 

At Ink-B-Gone, we use the PicoWay Laser to remove tattoos:

Considering the fact that we have been leading Denver in tattoo removal since 2006, you won’t be surprised to learn that Pico lasers are especially good at removing tattoos. 

They remove colors effectively as a result of their 3 wavelengths:

  • 1064 nm: Removes black and dark inks
  • 785 nm: Removes blue and green inks, which are notoriously difficult
  • 532 nm: Removes warm tones such as red, orange, yellow, violet, and brown

One thing that is notable about PicoWay Lasers is that they are effective on all skin tones, including skins of color. They reduce the chance of hyperpigmentation, which can be a risk in laser tattoo removal

Dark skin has more melanin than light skin. In the past, lasers for skin of color have run the risk of causing PIH (Post-inflammatory Hyperpigmentation) and scarring, but the PicoWay Laser has short bursts of energy and creates a photoacoustic effect instead of a photothermal effect. In other words, the skin doesn’t heat up as much. These picosecond bursts of energy are kinder to the skin, more efficient, and can lead to fewer treatment sessions. 

In order to be effective and safe for dark skin, laser treatments must target the molecular area that provides pigment (chromophore) instead of the melanin in surrounding tissues. The laser pulse must be extremely targeted so that it doesn’t heat surrounding tissues. It must be customizable since there are so many variations in skin colors and tattoos. Finally, tattoos must work with low fluence (this is the energy in the laser pulse). The PicoWay Laser does all of these things.

At Ink-B-Gone, we also use the PicoWay Laser for beauty treatments such as: 

  • Wrinkle reduction:  Wrinkles are caused by collagen loss. Collagen is a protein present in skin, bones, and connective tissues, but its production declines as we age. In fact, we lose 1% of collagen production per year after the age of 20. (We know – 20! It doesn’t seem fair.) To add insult to injury, women undergo a drastic decline in collagen production after menopause. Unfortunately, that means that our skin thins out and loses its firmness, causing wrinkles. Picoway stimulates the collagen and elastin in the skin without breaking the surface or harming the epidermis.
  • Sunspot reduction: Sunspots are dark-colored flat spots caused by exposure to the sun. They are also called age spots, solar lentigines, and liver spots (ew!). We can’t go back in time and undo all of those hours spent baking on the beach, but we can remove the visible consequences of them with the PicoWay laser. 
  • Acne scar reduction: Acne scars are another result of a lack of collagen. The skin damage caused by serious acne can leave scars for 40% of those who suffered from acne. The PicoWay laser blasts pigment into pieces and encourages the production of collagen and elastin. 
  • Skin tightening and rejuvenation: This comes down to collagen again. (Oh why didn’t we appreciate it when we were young?) Stimulating the collagen with laser treatment firms and rejuvenates the skin, bringing back that youthful glow. 
  • Melasma treatment: Melasma is a harmless condition (sometimes called “the mask of pregnancy,” although it can occur at any time) that causes an overproduction of cells that color the skin. Melasma treatments use the PicoWay laser to target the pigment that has caused the brown or blue-gray spots beneath your skin’s surface. The short pulses from the laser break the pigment into small particles that can be flushed out by your body. In clinical trials, 90% of treated spots were at least halfway cleared after two treatments.

What is the process for tattoo removal with the PicoWay Laser?

A topical anesthetic is applied to the tattoo and this area is cleansed. We will then outline your tattoo with a special white pen (to avoid hyperpigmentation). The wavelength used will depend on the colors in the tattoo and on your own skin color. As the laser pulses the tattoo, your skin will turn white because the dark ink is being broken up. The treatment time and the number of treatments will vary, depending on several variables. You can read more about this in our blog, How Many Sessions Does It Take to Remove a Tattoo?

Because of the faster pulse rate and lack of photothermal effect, you will feel less discomfort than with slower pulsing lasers and will experience little to no downtime after each treatment. Your body will gradually absorb the pigment particles that have been created during the session. Most importantly, the outer layer of your skin will remain intact.

Every person and every tattoo is different, so ask our experts!

When you’re ready to look into laser tattoo removal, it’s important to find a professional and expert technician you trust. Before you can commit to anything, you can come in for a free consultation here at Ink-B-Gone, the leading laser tattoo removers in Colorado.

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