Age reversal treatments. Scars smoothening and pore minimizers. No, we are not talking about the latest skincare range in town, but a laser treatment that has garnered a lot of attention this year – The picosecond skin rejuvenation laser.
Traditional anti-aging resurfacing lasers such as the carbon dioxide or the sub-ablative lasers gave their skin tightening effect by penetrating columns of laser energy through the skin deeply, essentially removing the outer layer of the skin where the laser beam hits. While effective, the intense heat tends to painful and can lead to devastating complications such as permanently lightening of normal pigment in people with darker skin.
Picosecond lasers are new generation lasers (after its older nanosecond predecessors Medlite and Revlite) which are showing promising results – let’s just say that some regular carbon dioxider laser fans have converted to this treatment.
Perhaps the picosecond laser’s greatest draw is the fact that it hits the skin in ultra short pulse. To put it into perspective, a nanosecond is a billionth of a second, and a picosecond is a trillionth of a second. Does that sound impressive? Let me try again. A picosecond is one millionth of one millionth of a second. (Got it?) Most picosecond lasers can thus afford an overall stronger energy output, without increasing the risk of complications commonly associated with lasers which generate a lot of heat.
You may have read that picosecond lasers are most well-known for pigment removal, such as tattoos. But did you know that SW1 Clinic has a Pico Smooth treatment which can treat acne scars and smoothen out wrinkles? Using a fractionated handpiece, the laser beam is altered and penetrates deep into the skin to introduce laser-induced damage to deep scars and wrinkles, without damaging the outermost layer of the skin, leading to a wound healing response which generates collagen.
The only catch is, a strong Pico Smooth setting will probably send you into hiding for at least 1 day. However, the upside of the treatment makes up for its downtime. Patients have reported a noticeable pore-minimizing effect and erasing of fine lines, improvement of wrinkles and deep acne scars, says Dr Michelle Lim, Aesthetic Medical Consultant of the SW1 Clinic.
“It was really red for almost 2 days and I didn’t feel brave enough to meet my friends, but I had it done on a Friday and didn’t mind resting at home. My face felt really pampered actually, because I applied the Water Infusion Mask twice a day to make sure my skin really drank it up! On Monday, the redness subsided dramatically and I went back to work.” says Denise, who works in a PR agency and had Pico Smooth done for her acne scars and also hoped to see her large pores shrink in size after treatment.
Dr Michelle Lim says that the Pico Smooth treatment is also becoming a popular alternative to their SmartX Lite laser, for select patients. “Some patients have pigmentation problems so high heat treatments may worsen certain pigments. In these cases the Pico Smooth is a good alternative. There is also less scabbing after Pico Smooth, which may be important for some patients who really do not like that kind of feeling.”
Does this mean there is no value in ablative lasers? Not so fast. The carbon dioxide laser is still the gold standard in acne scars resurfacing, and the sub-ablative Fraxel laser such as SW1’s Fraxel Light is a great glow and texturizing treatment. But the picosecond laser is starting to prove itself against the best.
And what it simply means is that in a clinic such as SW1, you have the option to choose between these world-class outstanding treatments.