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Tattoo Removal with PicoWay® Laser

The cosmetically best and fastest way to remove tattoos without scarring is with lasers, particularly Picolasers. Unlike earlier methods, such as surgery or dermabrasion, lasers break up the tattoo pigment with a very low risk of scarring and the body’s own natural clearance system then clears away the pigment ink.

At Dermatology Consulting, we are proud to have invested in PicoWay® by Candela, one of the most powerful and versatile lasers available. In addition to tattoo removal, it can be used to treat hyperpigmentation, scars, wrinkles, enlarged pores and other skin concerns.

How do lasers remove tattoos?

The very short pulse of laser light is shone onto the tattoo and breaks the ink particles into tiny fragments. These fragments are then cleared away by the body’s own natural scavenger/clearing cells (called macrophages).

What is special about the PicoWay® laser?

Picolasers are the latest generation of pigment removal lasers. The previous generation of tattoo removal lasers (called Q-switch or nanosecond lasers) used short pulses of laser energy which were nanoseconds (one billionth of a second) long. Picolasers are superfast and are one trillionth of a second (a picosecond is to one second what one second is to approximately 31,689 years). This means that the picolasers can break up very tiny fragments of pigment into fragments that are so small that the body’s own clearance cells can then easily clear away the pigment. Therefore the tattoo can be removed in fewer sessions with picolasers. Also as the picolasers are so superfast, they need to use very little heat to break up the pigment and therefore there is a very low risk of scarring.

The PicoWay® by Candela was the first Picolaser to be developed with the two key wavelengths 532 and 1064. The latest version, which is the one that Dermatology Consulting has invested in, also has two additional wavelengths of 730 and 785, which means that the PicoWay® is able to remove tattoos OF ALL COLOURS with the fewer sessions than the previous Q-switch lasers.

What does PicoWay® laser tattoo removal feel like?

As the laser is shone onto the tattoo in very fast pulses of 3-10mm wide, it gives a sensation that is usually described as feeling like a very quick flash of heat with each pulse. Local anaesthetic cream can be applied to the area beforehand if desired.

It takes approximately 10 minutes to treat an area 20 x 20 cm in diameter.

An antibiotic or healing ointment can be applied to the skin afterwards. A dressing is applied to the treated site afterwards for a couple of days.

How often is the treatment for tattoo removal repeated?

The treatment is repeated every few weeks (6-8 weeks) as the pigment is gradually broken down and then removed by the body’s own clearing system.

Several treatments are needed and how fast a tattoo clears depends on several factors, including the colour, age and depth of the tattoo. Some tattoos fade within a couple of sessions, although most need, 3 to 6 sessions which is significantly less than the previous Q switch lasers.

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