When talking about tattoo removal, not all lasers are created equal. Currently, there are two primary laser types used for tattoo removal which is the Q-Switch (which is broken into three subgroups) and the Picosecond. The colors of ink that’s being removed typically is what determines the type of laser that’s employed. Both types work with a method of pulsating light that breaks up pigment which your body eliminates over the course of multiple sessions, and both come with their list of pros and cons.
The Q-Switch comes in three different variations that are primarily focused on various ink colors. The first variation is ruby, which is considered the best option for removing darker inks such as black, greens and blues by some doctors. It has also been known to change skin texture or cause scarring to some degree. Another common one is the Q-Switch. It uses light beams with a shorter wavelength that’s useful in removing a larger spectrum of colors that range from blacks and blues to reds and oranges. It’s also known to have the same side effects as the ruby laser, but far less often.
The Picosecond (also referred to as Picosure or simply Pico) is praised by many as the “superior” one in the industry. This relatively new machine was just released in 2013 and is quickly growing in popularity. The Pico uses bursts of light at a much more rapid speed than the Q-switch and studies have shown that the results for removing shading within occur much faster. Unfortunately outlines, which lie deeper in the epidermis, still seem to take a similar amount of time as with the Q-switch, although there are some who claim otherwise. The Pico seems also to have a longer list of side effects that involves crusting and blistering on and around the area. Pico lasers are also limited to colors that they work with and tend to be ineffective on red and yellow inks.