| Corporate Office: 323-389-6028

The Power of Picosecond Lasers in Tattoo Removal

  • 21

    Tattoos are a form of self-expression, but for some, they become regrettable reminders of the past. Fortunately, advancements in laser technology have transformed tattoo removal into a more efficient and effective process.

    A female has tattoo removal on her upper arm with a picosecond tattoo removal laser.
    Using a picosecond laser for tattoo removal offers faster and more efficient results compared to traditional methods.

    Among these innovations, picosecond lasers have emerged as a game-changer in the field of laser tattoo removal, offering patients faster, safer, and more thorough results than ever before.

    Therefore, having the best picosecond laser for tattoo removal is key. Here are some features to look for.

    Understanding Picosecond Laser Technology

    Picosecond lasers deliver ultra-short pulses of laser energy in picoseconds, or trillionths of a second. This rapid and precise energy delivery allows picosecond lasers to shatter tattoo ink particles into smaller fragments more effectively than traditional nanosecond lasers.

    A tattoo being removed with an Nd: YAG laser on a patient's forearm.
    Tattoo removal using a Q-switched Nd: YAG laser.

    By breaking down the ink into finer particles, the body’s natural processes can more easily flush them away, resulting in faster clearance of the tattoo with fewer treatment sessions.

    Equal Laser Beam Distribution

    Equal laser beam distribution on a picosecond laser is crucial for tattoo removal because it ensures consistent energy delivery across the treatment area. This uniform distribution minimizes the risk of hot spots or areas of excessive energy deposition, which can lead to uneven treatment outcomes, skin damage, or scarring.

    By maintaining a balanced energy distribution, picosecond lasers can effectively target tattoo ink particles with precision, resulting in more thorough clearance and improved cosmetic outcomes for patients.

    Varied Source Selection and Laser Wavelength

    Varied source selection and laser wavelength are essential on a picosecond laser for tattoo removal because different tattoo pigments respond differently to specific wavelengths of light. By offering a range of wavelengths and adjustable parameters, picosecond lasers can effectively target a wide spectrum of tattoo ink colors, including stubborn hues like blue, green, and red. This versatility ensures thorough clearance of multicolored tattoos and enhances treatment efficacy for patients with diverse skin types and tattoo compositions.

    Key Benefits of having the ability to precisely adjust source selection and laser wavelengths:

    • Adjust how the laser functions to remove certain colors of ink.
    • Achieve precise laser action on ink that is harder to remove from certain points of the body.
    • Target specific problematic skin zones like knuckles where the skin is often thicker.
    • Adjust how the laser functions to remove certain colors of ink.
    • Achieve precise laser action on ink that is harder to remove from certain points of the body.
    • Target specific problematic skin zones like knuckles where the skin is often thicker.


    For example, you can use higher nanosecond modes to remove inks that have a darker pigment, such as blue or black, which are more difficult to target. Additionally, you can use picosecond modes to target lighter ink hues like orange, red, or pink.

    The ability to tailor the laser settings to each individual’s tattoo characteristics maximizes treatment precision and minimizes the risk of adverse effects, such as hypo or hyperpigmentation. Varied source selection and laser wavelength on a picosecond laser contribute to achieving optimal tattoo removal outcomes with minimal discomfort and downtime for patients.

    Usability With a Standalone Cooling Device

    Usability with a standalone cooling device is important when using a picosecond laser for tattoo removal because it enhances patient comfort and safety during treatment. Picosecond laser sessions can generate heat and discomfort, especially in sensitive areas or during prolonged treatments. A standalone cooling device, such as a cold air blower or cryogenic system, can mitigate these effects by cooling the skin before, during, and after laser exposure.

    A stand alone cooling device cools the patient's skin during laser tattoo removal.
    There are many benefits of using a stand alone cooling device during tattoo removal versus an integrated cooling device.

    By maintaining a comfortable temperature on the skin’s surface, a cooling device minimizes pain and reduces the risk of adverse reactions, such as burns or blistering. This allows for longer treatment sessions and ensures a more positive experience for patients undergoing tattoo removal. Additionally, by preserving the integrity of the skin, a cooling device helps to optimize treatment outcomes and minimize the risk of complications, such as post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation or scarring.

    Some picosecond lasers rely on an integrated cooling device that works alongside the laser to comfort the patient as the treatment provider works.

    Disadvantages of an integrated cooling system include:

    • Integrated cooling systems can be a hassle because they can’t be removed from the laser.
    • Integrated cooling systems can’t be used with other laser equipment as needed.
    • Integrated cooling systems can lower the efficiency of the laser beam.


    Furthermore, a standalone cooling device enhances the versatility and usability of the picosecond laser system by providing a flexible cooling solution that can be tailored to each patient’s needs. Whether treating large or small areas, a cooling device ensures consistent cooling throughout the procedure, promoting uniform energy delivery and enhancing treatment efficacy.

    Overall, the integration of a standalone cooling device with a picosecond laser system contributes to a safer, more comfortable, and more effective tattoo removal experience for both patients and practitioners.

    Does Your Aesthetic Practice Need a Picosecond Laser?

    Picosecond lasers have revolutionized the field of tattoo removal, offering patients faster, safer, and more effective results than ever before.

    With their ultra-short pulse duration and ability to target a wide range of ink colors, picosecond lasers provide aesthetic providers with a powerful tool for achieving thorough tattoo clearance with minimal risk of scarring. 

    Private Practice Solutions will happily answer any of your questions about aesthetic devices. Our goal is to provide you with the most effective laser equipment possible.


    1. Hernandez L, Mohsin N, Frech FS, Dreyfuss I, Vander Does A, Nouri K. Laser tattoo removal: laser principles and an updated guide for clinicians. Lasers Med Sci. 2022 Aug;37(6):2581-2587. doi: 10.1007/s10103-022-03576-2. Epub 2022 May 23. PMID: 35604505.
    2. Hsu VM, Aldahan AS, Mlacker S, Shah VV, Nouri K. The picosecond laser for tattoo removal. Lasers Med Sci. 2016 Nov;31(8):1733-1737. doi: 10.1007/s10103-016-1924-9. Epub 2016 Apr 7. PMID: 27056705.
    3. Wu DC, Goldman MP, Wat H, Chan HHL. A Systematic Review of Picosecond Laser in Dermatology: Evidence and Recommendations. Lasers Surg Med. 2021 Jan;53(1):9-49. doi: 10.1002/lsm.23244. Epub 2020 Apr 13. PMID: 32282094.
    4. Reiter O, Atzmony L, Akerman L, Levi A, Kershenovich R, Lapidoth M, Mimouni D. Picosecond lasers for tattoo removal: a systematic review. Lasers Med Sci. 2016 Sep;31(7):1397-405. doi: 10.1007/s10103-016-2001-0. Epub 2016 Jun 17. Erratum in: Lasers Med Sci. 2017 Feb;32(2):483. PMID: 27311768.
    5. Bäumler W, Weiß KT. Laser assisted tattoo removal – state of the art and new developments. Photochem Photobiol Sci. 2019 Feb 13;18(2):349-358. doi: 10.1039/c8pp00416a. PMID: 30452057.
    6. Bäumler W. Laser Treatment of Tattoos: Basic Principles. Curr Probl Dermatol. 2017;52:94-104. doi: 10.1159/000450809. Epub 2017 Mar 10. PMID: 28288450.