The Laser Clinic Blog

26th Mar 2024

Pico Laser vs. Q-Switch: Is Q-Switch the Best Laser for Tattoo Removal?

Pico Laser vs. Q-Switch Laser

Tattoos are certainly popular and trendy, but as we get older and change so do our tastes and preferences, What used to be a permanent personal expression, now with advances in laser technology if you do decide your tattoo is no longer your style  – no problem. Enter tattoo removal lasers and its fascinating world as they have revolutionised the tattoo industry especially if you need to undo some inkwork!
Aesthetic treatments have certainly advanced over the last few years, particularly in tattoo removal and pigmentation correction. Two cutting-edge laser technologies dominate the landscape: the Q-Switch Nd:YAG Laser and the Pico Laser. In this Blog, we explore the technical differences and applications of these lasers, especially helpful if you are yet to make a decision and considering your best option for tattoo removal.

Q-Switch Nd:YAG Laser

The Q-Switch Nd:YAG Laser is a leader in medical and aesthetic practices. It operates by emitting short pulses of high-intensity light targeted at specific tissues, ranging from pigmented lesions to tattoo inks. It involves exciting innovative technology the Nd:YAG laser crystal through a flash lamp or diode, subsequently directing the laser beam onto the designated tissue. This laser’s distinguishing feature lies in its ability to produce ultra-short pulses (measured in nanoseconds) with exceptionally high peak power, facilitating selective targeting of pigmented lesions or tattoo ink while safeguarding surrounding tissue from damage. Q-Switch Lasers use very short but high-energy pulses, typically only a nano-second long. This creates a photomechanical effect on the skin. Q-Switch Lasers are perfect for treating tattoos and pigmentation. The short but high energy pulses cause rapid heating, generating a shockwave that breaks down the pigment.

Pico Laser

On the other hand, Pico Lasers, deliver ultra-short pulses of light in picoseconds. Utilising high-power laser diodes, these lasers generate pulses of light at specific wavelengths, typically 755 nm or 1064 nm, focusing them onto the target area, whether it is tattoo ink or pigmented lesions. The ultra-short pulses induce a photoacoustic effect, creating a mechanical pressure wave that disintegrates pigment into smaller fragments, subsequently eliminated by the body’s immune system.

Comparing Q-Switched Nd:YAG vs. Pico Lasers

While both lasers share similar applications, several key distinctions set them apart:

Pulse Duration:

The primary variance lies in pulse duration. Q-Switch Nd:YAG Lasers wield nanosecond pulses, while Pico Lasers offer much shorter bursts in picoseconds. This distinction allows Pico Lasers to administer faster, although the Q-Switch laser targets a broader spectrum of treatments.

Wavelengths & Ink Colors:

The different wavelengths and power levels cater to various ink colours in laser tattoo removal. For instance, Q-Switch lasers employing a 532nm wavelength target red, orange, and purple inks. it’s recommended to use the Nd: YAG laser (1064 nm, 532 nm) to treat dark pigments like black, blue, and warm toned colours.
Q-switch lasers deliver precise results, these  Nd:YAG technology remain steadfast in tattoo removal market and  they are significant in striking a balance between pulse duration and power tailored to specific treatments. 
Here at the Laser Clinic Morpeth we feel like there is one clear winner which is why we invested in the gold standard Studio Q-Switch Laser by world renown Deka, we based the decision on:


Active Q- Switch: This new type of active Q-switch laser is much better and more powerful than the older passive type of Q- switch laser. Results are much quicker for tattoo removal.

Precision Targeting: Our Deka Q-Switch laser can selectively target different colours of ink without affecting the surrounding skin. This precision allows for effective removal of multi-coloured tattoos.
Reduced Side Effects: The short pulse duration of this laser minimises the risk of scarring and other side effects. Clients experience less discomfort during and after the procedure compared to older lasers.
Effective on Stubborn Inks: Some tattoo colours, such as blues and greens, are traditionally challenging to remove. Our Q-Switch laser, has customisable settings, so can effectively break down the stubborn pigments.
Minimal Downtime: Q-Switch laser tattoo removal typically requires fewer sessions compared to other methods so clients can  their go about their daily activities with no recovery time between sessions.
Top Notch Safety Record: This laser has the best possible safety record, in particular our Studio laser is very safe for a wide range of skin types, making  it a versatile choice for tattoo removal.
If you would like to have a chat about your tattoos and considering removal why not book in for a consultation with our experts. We will chat through everything with you. Alternatively, message or call us on 07783 376702. If you would like to book directly online get in touch: you are in safe hands. 
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