Occasionally I’ll get a patient who is up against a deadline for their PicoSure laser tattoo removal. Maybe they’ve got an upcoming wedding and their wedding dress would reveal some unwanted artwork. Or perhaps, they would like to permanently remove that “old flame’s” name before the planned nuptials. Perhaps they have a job interview with a company that doesn’t allow visible tattoos while on the job – think military or stuffy office.
So how often can we treat a tattoo with PicoSure? There’s normally 4-8 weeks in between treatments depending upon tattoo size, patient age and other factors. However, if a tattoo has been previously treated and proven recalcitrant, I generally recommend 8 weeks between treatments to ensure the maximum amount of fading. If a tattoo is small, it’s generally okay to treat it every 4 weeks if you’re in a hurry to get it off. Everyone else falls somewhere in between.
Some studies show that the longer we wait between treatments, the better the removal goes. This is probably true with POS (Nano-Slow) Q-switched lasers since they tend to damage the skin considerably and require a lengthy healing time. When using the PicoSure laser, the skin is left intact and this shortens the time between treatments. Additionally, since the skin itself cannot absorb the picosecond pulse, the majority of the energy is used to create a powerful PressureWave to fracture and destroy the unwanted pigment via photomechanical impact. Ultimately, this leads to better clearance and fewer treatments with PicoSure versus old-technology Nano-Slow POS Q-switched lasers.
Note: Some laser manufacturers repackage the slow (nano = slow) Q-switched technology and say things like “It’s the latest & greatest laser” but the insides are still a throwback to the seventies when everyone was removing blue India ink tattoos – that’s all they could do.
Each tattoo removal regimen should be unique (to you) and customized upon your individual requirements, situation and ink. A skilled PicoSure provider can tailor various treatment strategies to optimize your tattoo removal whether you’re in a time crunch or not. If you have a question regarding the speed of your removal, I can be reached in Austin, TX @ my new location: Austin Medspa 512-479-9997.