Blog, Laser Treatments

Enlighten vs. PicoSure Laser Tattoo Removal : Which is Best?

Enlighten and PicoSure laser tattoo removal are far above the competition for best tattoo removal lasers on the market today. That is because they both take advantage of the only major breakthrough in laser tattoo removal in the last 20 years: Picosecond technology.

Picosecond technology is faster, more powerful, safer, more effective and has less risk for unwanted scarring and other side effects than older Q-switch laser systems.

Enlighten can remove deeper ink than any other laser before it. Enlighten can remove colors of all types from people of both light and dark skin colors. PicoSure was the first picosecond technology laser to get to the market, but it is at its best getting rid of green or blue tattoo ink on lighter skin types and not as effective with other colors.

PicoSure laser tattoo removal is still more effective than Q-switched lasers for most other colors on light skin types, but the Enlighten laser allows more flexibility in targeting different ink colors and ink depths.

One Big Advantage of Enlighten over PicoSure Laser Tattoo Removal

The Enlighten laser enables dermatologists to use both picosecond and nanosecond technology and to switch seamlessly between them to adapt to what is best for removing your individual tattoo.

The Enlighten system offers the capability to go from 750 picoseconds to 2000 picoseconds, or 2 nanoseconds simply by hitting a button on the touchscreen. That allows additional versatility beyond the range of spot sizes, or dual wavelengths. Now you also have a dual pulse duration system. I think the picosecond philosophy, the picosecond idea, offers some potential big advantages in laser tattoo reduction.” -E. Victor Ross, M.D.

Enlighten has the ability to do pulse durations of between 750 picoseconds and 2000 picoseconds, or 2 nanoseconds. This variety of pulse durations is not possible with the PicoSure laser tattoo removal system. While the PicoSure system also has two other functionalities that are offered to complement their original 755nm laser, they are both add-on’s that a practice may or may not have. With most multi-color tattoos it is very helpful to have more than one wavelength and speed to get the best results. Whether or not dermatologists or tattoo removal services who have PicoSure will have more than one laser depends on the provider, but every dermatologist who has Enlighten will have two wavelengths and a range of pulse durations.

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Why Picosecond Lasers like Enlighten and PicoSure are Better

What used to take 10 to 15 treatments to mostly remove with Q-switched lasers can now take less than half as many sessions with a picosecond laser. Picosecond lasers almost always do a better job in just a few treatments, except for the in the hardest of cases. Generally, the deeper the ink penetrated the skin the harder it is for any laser to get out.

Both lasers are a big step above the power of Q-switched lasers for tattoo removal. PicoSure laser tattoo removal does not have the flexibility and all-around effectiveness of Enlighten.

Picoseconds Lasers: The Only Choice for Difficult Tattoo Removal

Better results in fewer treatments allows for significantly reduced downtime and less inconvenience throughout the process of the laser tattoo removal, as most tattoos will still require multiple laser removal treatments.

Laser tattoo removal is generally a similar feeling to getting the tattoo done itself. Having less treatments both saves time, discomfort, and gets better results. Since treatments are generally spaced out by a number of weeks and there can be a 10+ day recovery period after each treatment there can be a lot of inconvenience associated with any tattoo removal, but especially those that take extra treatments.

Post-tattoo removal care often requires a bandage to be worn for 7-10 days and the skin will be red and irritated, similar to the process that happened when getting the tattoo. Since this happens after each treatment, even having 1-2 less treatments can make a huge difference with regard to how much inconvenience the patient faces throughout the process. If you have 10 less treatments that is going to mean the difference of not having a bandage for 70-100 days less than tattoo removal with a Q-switch laser!

Picosecond Lasers vs. Q-Switch Lasers for Laser Tattoo Removal

Q-switch lasers heat up the ink and release it within the body, whereas picosecond lasers are more effective because they use shorter light pulses that heat up so quickly they fracture the tattoo ink and have reduced risk for scarring surrounding tissue. The difference in speed is also what helps to make the picosecond lasers less likely to scar the surrounding tissue. Picosecond lasers are also more powerful than Q-switch lasers, which is what allows them to remove tattoos more effectively.

Enlighten has Two Wavelengths to Help it Treat All Tattoo Colors

Enlighten is the newer picosecond technology laser for tattoo removal, and it has 2 different wavelengths it uses. This helps it to be able to remove a much broader spectrum of colors. The Enlighten laser uses both a 532 nm and a 1064 nm wavelength, which makes it significantly more effective for black and other dark colors of ink than the PicoSure laser tattoo removal.

1064 nm: Best for black and other very dark colors, also better for darker skin types
532 nm: Best choice for red, orange, many yellows and browns

The great news? With Enlighten you don’t have to choose one or the other, you get both!

The dermatologists at Dermatology Center of Acadiana have been trained in how best to remove tattoos of all colors from different skin types, and focus on a variety of different cosmetic procedures to keep you looking your best. DCA is at the forefront of laser technology in multiple areas, also offering laser hair removal and laser vascular treatments.

You can also check out our answers to some FAQ about Enlighten Laser Tattoo removal.

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