Zapatat has “luminary” status in the tattoo removal laser industry. As such we can test nearly any laser, including so-called pico lasers. We say “so called” because nearly all “pico” lasers are not really pico but just barely sub-nano, with the fastest being the Picoway at 450 ps (.45 Nanoseconds) and the slowest, Picosure 950ps.(.95 Nanoseconds). It’s not a trillionth of a second! After all our testing, we concluded that so-called “Pico “ is still a marketing buzz and they don’t move the needle on time to remove tattoos. The number of sessions and the time to remove haven’t improved much. Why?

The Pico craze started in 2012 with the PicoSure laser. Initial PicoSure “studies “ (sponsored by the laser manufacturer, Cynosure.) reported up to 75% clearance in two sessions. Cynosure sold PicoSure lasers using that claim and that a pico was one trillionth of a second. But at 950 PS, it wasn’t even close. Picosure was heavily marketed to end-users on social media and people started asking for it by name. The Buzz was all about how PicoSure would revolutionize tattoo removal! But PicoSure is an underpowered, alexandrite(755nm), 950ps laser and all the hype turned out to be BS. The real-world results were not faster than Nano and successful class action suits caused tattoo removal to disappear from the Picosure website. Unfortunately, history has a nasty habit of repeating itself.

More recent sub-nano lasers like the Pico-4, enlighten and Picoway are 1064nm and are more powerful lasers. Because nano is more effective in the first several sessions, all now have pseudo nano and sub-nano “pico“ capabilities. That’s achieved by multi-pulsing 4 sub-nano. shots to mimic 2 nanoseconds. Once again, there is a lot of social media hype for “pico”. And once again it’s not living up to the hype.

So why aren’t sub-nano seconds removing tattoos in many fewer sessions or in less time? And why was it necessary to have both nano and pico?

“Pico” lasers are said to use a mechanical effect vs an acoustic effect with nano. It seems that the mechanical effect will chip away at large particles while the acoustic effect vibrates the ink causing it to shatter. That’s why mechanical is less effective than nano on large ink particles. That’s why nano works better on early sessions. It is also the reason that Sub Nano has a slight edge in later treatments once there are no large particles left.

All that said, sub-nano does not appear to dramatically reduce the number of sessions or the total time to remove tattoos.  The number of sessions can always be reduced by increasing the time between treatments. But that also means increasing the total time to remove your tattoo.