Nano versus Pico – the great debate!

If you have looked into laser tattoo removal, chances are you have come across the great debate of nano lasers versus pico lasers.  In a nutshell, pico lasers operate at a speed that is a teeny, tiny fraction of a second quicker than a nano laser (we are talking a billionth vs a trillionth of a second!).   They have done an excellent job of marketing with this particular kind of laser, claiming faster ink clearing, less pain and fewer sessions needed!

However… this laser is not all it’s cracked up to be.

There is no empirical evidence available to definitively say that pico lasers are more effective than nano lasers.  There are studies out there that claim this, but these studies are vague on which fluence and spot diameters were used, and have differences in the control and the experimental group that are so significant that there is no way to isolate the effect of the laser treatment used.  It really is like comparing apples to oranges.  As of right now, there is no well-done study with any statistically significant results to back up the claims that pico works faster or produces less pain.  Fun fact: there is actually a lawsuit against one Pico laser manufacturer for false claims, and not removing tattoos as effectively as asserted! You can find the lawsuit here.

Another fact is that pico lasers are expensive! And the facilities using these are sure to pass that cost on to YOU.  So even if the Pico did live up to its claims of faster tattoo removal, it is certainly not going to save you money in the long run, because the cost per treatment is going to be much higher!

Something else to take into consideration is the profile of the laser beam.  Our Astanza Duality offers a square spot size.  This is notable, because many other lasers offer a round spot size.  This can lead to missing spots of tattoo ink, or in case of an inexperienced technician, overlap.  This increases the risk of pigmentation changes and scarring of the skin, which are likely to be permanent.

In short, Q-switch lasers are still the gold standard for tattoo removal.  They are efficient, powerhouse lasers with outstanding, reliable results.

Instead of focusing on how fast the laser operates, we should consider which ink color it targets.

Take a look at this image:

As you can see; three wavelengths are needed to cover all the colors on the spectrum.  We offer two wavelengths (532 and 1064 nm) that together can tackle MOST of the ink colors out there, and we will be adding a third wavelength (694 nm)  for the remaining colors very soon!

Let me leave you with this last bit of information which is really all you need to keep in mind when selecting a tattoo removal facility: effective tattoo removal isn’t just about the machine.  Properly trained, patient, competent technicians with physician oversight are paramount to get you the results you want.

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