How does the DiscoveryPICO work?
When the laser light is being absorbed by the pigmented lesions, the light will vibrate and break the pigment into the smallest particles, in thin “dust” form. As compared to the traditional Q-switch Nanosecond YAG laser, the DiscoveryPICO machine works in ultrashort picosecond pulses which is 100x shorter pulse duration than in nanosecond. The tiny particles will then be easily eliminated by the body immune system.
Is the procedure painful?
Based on individual’s pain tolerance and location of the pigmented lesion, most people are able to tolerate the lasers sessions without much discomfort. Patients will feel the pulses as quick tingling sensations, like very tiny rubber bands snapped against the skin. Sometimes, your doctor would advise to apply a topical numbing cream to the lesions for numbing before your treatment. Talk to your doctor about it.
Is it safe?
Laser tattoo and pigmented lesions removal is generally safe when performed by a qualified doctor. It is much safer than other traditional methods as laser targets the selected pigment only and will not harm the surrounding tissues. Laser treatment has become the better option due to its low risk and effective approach.
How long does each treatment take?
Treatment time depends on the size of the tattoo or pigmented lesions and the number of colours (multi-colour tattoo require multiple passes using different laser colours). The majority of treatments are completed within 5 minutes for a small to medium black tattoo to 10-30 minutes for a medium-sized, multi-colour tattoo.
How many session will I need?
The number of treatment sessions required for every patient is different. This is because the number of treatment sessions is dependent on a few factors: skin color and type, size of tattoo, color and density of the tattoo/ pigmented lesions, individual’s health condition. Every tattoo is unique. The number of treatment sessions depends on a number of factors: location, depth, colour, density of the tattoo/ pigments inks, and your skin type. Generally, 5 to 10 treatment sessions, 4-6 weeks apart, are required to see the optimal results. Your doctor will give you a much better evaluation after seeing how the tattoo/pigment responds after the first treatment.
Are there any side effects?
PICO toning by DiscoveryPICO is safe as it works on a specific wavelength to target the pigmentation selectively, leaving the surrounding areas undamaged. After the treatment, the area may turn red and swell. However, it will subside in several hours. The laser machine has an unique feature, whereby the photothermal effect enables collagen rebuilding, making the skin brighter and firmer.
Is there any downtime? Can I return back to my daily activities after the treatment?
There is no downtime. You can return back to work and daily activities on the same day of treatment. You will have some mild swelling and redness of the skin surrounding the tattoo or pigmented lesions. This is also normal and will fade over a period of hours.
Are the results permanent and what results can I expect?
Depending on a few factors such as the type of pigmented lesions, the degree of lesions and its location, this procedure usually takes from 3 to 6 treatments. Initially when the pigmented lesions absorb the laser energy, the spot will turn white after a few minutes, turn darker and shed off within a few weeks. The melanin pigment continues to fade in and lightens between each treatment. On occasion, the normal skin surrounding the tattoo or pigmented lesion will be slightly lighter. It will be back to normal after a few months. Most pigmented lesions, if completely removed, will not return. However when exposed to sun, brown spots may return and you will still continue to develop more age spots. You should apply sunscreen on the treatment area for protection.
What do I do for aftercare?
We will sometimes see small areas of pin-point bleeding and occasionally small blisters may form. The treated area may itch for several weeks after treatment and your skin may feel dry and flaky. Apply cold air or ice pack to soothe the treated area and antibiotic ointment to avoid possible inflammation. You can use a fragrance-free, perfume-free moisturizer cream on the area. You should also have sunscreen protection on the treated area during the period. It is best recommended to leave your skin without any make-up for a few days. Some ingredients in the cosmetics may clog your pores, and not allowing your skin to breathe or heal properly over time.
Who can benefit from laser tattoo removal?
Because each tattoo is unique, removal techniques must be tailored according to case-by-case basis. In the past, tattoo could be removed by a wide variety of methods but, in many cases, the scars were more unsightly than the tattoo itself. Patients with previously treated tattoo may also be candidates for laser therapy. Tattoos that have not been effectively removed by other treatments may respond well to laser therapy providing the prior treatments did not result in excessive scarring.
Will tattoo/pigmented lesions disappear completely after laser treatment?
As explained in the earlier question, it will take some time for it to be completely removed. The laser treatment can help to lighten the tattoo gradually. Certain ink pigments are easier to remove compared to the rest. The easiest are the dark blue or black ink, while red, yellow and green are more difficult. Also, it is easier to remove old tattoo than those new and fresh ones. Seek your doctor for advice if your tattoo or pigmented lesions does not seem to disappearing.
Can I apply make-up immediately after the laser treatment?
It is best recommended to leave your skin without any make-up for a few days. Some ingredients in the cosmetics may clog your pores, and not allowing your skin to breathe or heal properly over time.
Why does the pigment get darkened after the treatment when the treatment is supposed to remove my pigments?
Hyperpigmentation after laser treatment is a common problem and occurs more frequently in patients who get tanned easily. Fortunately, hyperpigmentation is not permanent in most cases. This happens because the laser gets attracted to any pigment on the skin, as a result of your skin producing more melanin in response to the heat from the laser. Your body will work to restore homeostasis and the pigmentation will fade in seven to ten days after the treatment. Protect yourself from the sun to prevent the dark areas from getting worse.