Many laser treatments on the market come and go without making much of a long-standing impact. New technologies are being researched and developed everyday and nearly every quarter there is a new product on the market. Are they as effective or as safe as older models? That really can’t be answered until enough trials are done, as well as the ultimate test of how long it can remain a necessity in professional aesthetic clinics. The PicoSure laser treatment has been in the market since 2012, but newer picosecond lasers have appeared on the market such as the Pico laser treatment in Singapore and has remained on it ever since – and for good reason.
‘Pico’ laser isn’t just a cutesy name (you’re thinking of Pikachu!), nor is it the brand name of a laser machine. It actually refers to the name of a specific type of laser treatment: Lasers which use picoseconds to deliver ultra-short high speed energy into the skin layers. A picosecond is 1/1,000 of a nanosecond, or one trillionth of a second. If that’s hard to compare, a picosecond is to one second as one second is to approximately 31,689 years!
Aside from being used in aesthetic laser treatments, picoseconds are also used in real-life technologies to capture light emission phenomena in extremely short periods of time, such as in semiconductor physics, optical fibres, and in visualising high energy nuclear fusions. It is a new generation of laser technology, considered an upgrade to the Nano Laser, that helps to reduce skin discolorations and improve the production of elastin and collagen.
What makes this so different from other lasers on the market?
Older, more intense lasers have traditionally relied on high heat energy to restart the healing process in the skin and encourage new collagen and elastin formation. The problem with such traditional heat-based lasers is that it can result in significant discomfort, redness, and longer downtime. It is also typically not suitable for those who have tanner skin because older laser treatments would damage the darker skin and worsen dark spots. Instead of solely using heat energy, PicoCare is the first of a new generation of aesthetic lasers that uses energy wavelengths to penetrate skin layers rapidly (remember, picosecond = trillionths of a second).
The speed of this energy causes the shattering of tiny particles of pigment in the skin without burning surrounding tissue. Less heat means less tissue damage and discomfort. Hence, Pico laser treatment in Singapore is suitable for those with darker skin and those experiencing redness, uneven skin texture, and skin discoloration.
Can PicoCare Laser Make Melasma Worse?
Melasma is a form of hyperpigme ntation that forms dark patches on the skin. It often happens after pregnancy (called ‘chloasma’, or ‘pregnancy mask’) although the exact mechanisms behind why it happens to certain females is not fully ascertained. Those at increased risk for developing melasma are those who have:
- Female gender (90% of melasma sufferers are female)
- Asian skin
- Family history of melasma
- Hormonal changes such as pregnancy, contraceptive pills, or hormone therapy (oestrogen and progesterone sensitivity are associated with melasma)
Melasma is generated by melanomas which exist at the bottom of the epidermis. The Pico laser treatment in Singapore for melasma targets the excessive melanin on the stratum corneum and epidermis, which gives melasma it’s dark and patchy appearance. As mentioned above, the PicoCare laser treatment blasts the particles of pigment in the skin so that it can naturally be absorbed and eliminated, giving clearer and more even skin tone. However, it does not remove the melanocytes, which can still produce excessive melanin over time!
Th is why some people may have the misconception that PicoCare laser can make melasma worse – after the initial period where the skin looks clearer, the melanocytes which are not destroyed and still exist in the deeper skin layers have a chance to produce melanin again which shows up on the skin surface. PicoCare does not make melasma worse, but it is definitely an ongoing skincare journey to keep melasma at bay.
Because melasma has many other factors (genetics and hormonal factors) which contribute to the ongoing production of melanin, there needs to be precautions taken daily to prevent it from worsening.
For optimal melasma results with the PicoCare laser treatment:
- Prep for treatment well. Stop taking blood thinning supplements that can hinder healing for a week before treatment (e.g. Vitamin E, ginkgo biloba) and also retinoids or skincare acids (AHA/PHA/BHA) a few days before treatment.
- Try to avoid tanning so that the laser can distinguish pigmentation better. For better distinguishing of pigmentation, use sunscreen in the weeks leading up to PicoCare laser treatment if you haven’t already.
- After treatment, get into the habit of always using a daily broad-spectrum sunscreen! Reapply sunscreen every two hours. And if you aren’t a fan of using liquid sunscreen over your makeup, there are lots of new options on the skincare market for a solid stick or powder sunscreen to prevent stickiness and makeup smudging.
- Consult with your doctor about other options for the ongoing treatment of melasma. This can include things such as topical skin care medications like hydroquinone and Cysteamine whitening cream, chemical peels, other laser removal techniques (which use different wavelengths).
Is PicoCare Laser Safe?
Absolutely. PicoCare laser treatment is cleared by the FDA in the United States, the CE MDD of Europe, and the KFDA of Korea MFDS (Ministry of Food and Drug Safety) for the removal of tattoos and benign pigmented lesions, and is the only second Picosecond laser in the market to obtain this FDA approval!
The fast pulses and wavelengths are sure to minimise any skin injury, and also makes scarring and other complications rare.
If you are pregnant and beginning to experience melasma, we advise that you discuss with our team to see if PicoCare laser treatment can still be suitable for you, or if you should wait until after your pregnancy and breastfeeding before starting melasma treatment. Although the pigments that are ‘fractured off’ by the PicoCare laser are digested by macrophages of your immune system and technically pose no danger to your baby, not all pregnant women may be suitable for this treatment. Disclose any pregnancies to your skin care professional to see if any melasma treatment options would be more suited for you!
Patient-Friendly Skin Rejuvenation Today
With the right doctor’s consultation to assess your melasma and hyperpigmentation, the PicoCare laser treatment can be a great option among others to target those dark patches. And with the right lifestyle (sunscreen!) habits, melasma can be controlled well. Contact us today for more information!