What to Expect After Picosure
Before answering the question we first need to understand what Picosure is, how to prepare for a Picosure facial and what the treatment experience will be.
What is Picosure?
The Picosure laser is a unique treatment used for 2 unrelated purposes.
- It’s used to resurface the face, neck, chest, and hands. This improves irregular pigmentation, as well as stimulates collagen production. It’s also helpful for improving acne scarring.
- The second use is for tattoo removal. This can be done anywhere on the body (but NOT for permanent make up removal).
The experience for each of these treatments is very different. It is very gentle when used for resurfacing and there is minimal to no redness. To remove a tattoo, however, the reaction is much more intense. For the purpose of this blog, I am going to focus on the facial (and neck, chest hands, etc) resurfacing and I will, in the future, write a blog on tattoo removal.
How do I Prepare For a Picosure Laser Facial:
Picosure can’t be performed on tanned skin. If you already have an existing tan, you must wait until your skin fades back to its natural tone. Depending on the tan, this can take a few days up to several months.
we recommend using sunblock daily, to protect your skin from extra sun exposure. This will also prevent unwanted tans. A facial is most popular in autumn and winter because of the sun’s decreased strength. Thus, people are generally less tanned in these seasons.
Avoid using products with active agents in the area you are treating for three days. Check your sunblocks and moisturizers to ensure they don’t contain active ingredients. Stay away from products that include Retin A, acids, etc.
To reduce the risk of hyperpigmentation, those with pigmented skin should pre-treat the skin. I use Hydroquinone (available at my office) 4%-8% for 7-10 days before laser treatments.
People with a record of cold sores should pre-treat them with an antiviral. Though the risks are lower with the CO2 laser as they do not cause redness or inflammation.
Arrive 30-45 minutes before the scheduled appointment. In this time, you will wash off makeup or any other products and apply a numbing cream to the area being treated. We found the perfect combination of numbing cream. This is a prescription-grade numbing cream, only available at a doctor’s office. This is another reason why it pays to use a board-certified plastic surgeon.
The Picosure Treatment Experience:
You may feel a sensation of snapping elastic bands at most. For most people, the feeling is much less painful than that. The numbing cream should make the experience tolerable. Some areas are more sensitive than others, such as near the nostrils. In rare cases, if a patient is very sensitive, we are able to offer Nitronox (laughing gas). Although up until now this hasn’t been necessary for the Picosure facial treatment.
What do Picosure Results Look Like?
Unlike other treatments, the Picosure facial results in little to no redness. Most people do not experience redness. although it is possible for some, especially if they already have moderate pigmentation. If you do experience redness, it will usually go away in one or two days. This can vary from person to person.
Needless to say, do not go sunbathing without protection after your treatment. Going out in the sunlight is fine as long as you use sunblock. After the treatment, you can safely put on makeup and return to work the same day. There will be very mild or no swelling at all in most cases.
Picosure Results After One Treatment. Should You Expect Peeling?
The Picosure laser facial is very different from other lasers and chemical peels. Not only is there no resulting redness, but there is also no peeling. This is something we often have to remind our patients about. They often expect to peel, and when it does not occur, they think the treatment did not work.
The Picosure facial sessions are intentionally set the way they are. We package the facial in three sessions, spaced a month apart. You will only see minor changes after one session. Be patient and do the full course of three sessions to see full results.
How Are the Sessions Different in Cases of Fine Lines or Acne Scarring on the Face?
Usually, my master aesthetician treats areas with acne or scarring with extra pulses. It is recommended to treat your whole face, and additional pulses can be given. Extra pulses can cause some redness to the area. It’s important to recognize that it is almost impossible to completely perfect scarring. We cannot entirely “erase” acne scarring but we can improve it. You may want additional sessions to treat the area of scarring, spaced about a month apart.
Are There Additional Treatments That Can Help Fine Lines or Acne Scarring?
We have been alternating the Picosure laser facial and Microneedling with PRP. We are very pleased with the results. we do the treatments two weeks apart, and then repeat them every two weeks. After three months (3 treatments of each) we can reassess.
It is important to remember that your skin is like your hair. Old cells are constantly dying and being replaced with new cells. Nothing you do to your skin will last forever. A good skincare regime is one with medical-grade products. You can buy these products at our office. My master aestheticians can also recommend which products are fit for your skin type.
After You do a Series of 3 Sessions, When Should You do Your Next Treatment?
This differs from person to person. My wife had terrible hyperpigmentation before the treatment. She felt she needed the 4th treatment to get the results she wanted. Most people only need 3 treatments. The length of how long the results last depend on many factors. Unprotected sun exposure, hormones, genetics, and skincare routines all impact. Usually, a Picosure refreshing session is only needed after at least 1 or 2 years. My wife’s treatment lasted for over a year. She only needed a single Picosure laser treatment to get her skin back to perfect coloration. She then went on to do a series of Microneedling with PRP (photos available on the website).
The most common concern is hyperpigmentation. If you are not tanned, pre-treat your skin with hydroquinone and get your treatment done by master aestheticians. Avoiding sun exposure is also very important. This minimizes the risk of hyperpigmentation but it is still a possibility. Usually, hyperpigmentation will resolve over time.