A woman relaxing as she undergoes a laser skin rejuvenation treatment.

PicoSure vs PicoWay: What’s The Difference?

If you’re looking for a solution to treat acne scars, wrinkles, and melasma, then it’s time you said hello to picosecond lasers!

PicoSure and PicoWay are the most popular picosecond laser technologies for skin revitalization and tattoo removal. They have shortened pulse durations, lessening skin burns and promoting effective skin restoration.

In this blog, we’ll compare their specs, assess how they perform in clinics, and settle the debate as to which of the two is better.

Let’s get into it!

PicoWay vs PicoSure: How Do They Work?

We’ve opted to compare their functionality across three different categories: power, wavelength, and pulse duration. Each of these laser characteristics has a significant effect on your skin and the efficacy of your chosen treatment.

1. Power

With great power comes more laser penetration. As far as tattoo removal is concerned, a higher peak power means more effective removal as it will be more effective at blasting ink pigment into particles the body can absorb.

PicoWay is the winner here. It has a peak power of 0.9 GW, while PicoSure only maxes out at a less impressive 0.36.

However, there’s more to judging the efficacy of a laser than its maximum raw power output.

2. Wavelength

The number of wavelengths in a picosecond laser determines how much pigment it can purge. Picosecond lasers use nanometres (nm) as the unit of measurement to calculate wavelengths.

Here are the wavelengths available for PicoSure and PicoWay:

Picosecond Laser Wavelength (in nanometres)
PicoSure 532 nm (handpiece), 755 nm, and 1,064 nm (handpiece)
PicoWay 532 nm 785 nm, and 1,064 nm 

While these may seem rather similar, there are key differences.

PicoWay operates at full speed and power at three wavelengths. In addition to producing the 755 nm wavelength, PicoSure converts it into 532 nm and 1064 nm using its laser pump handpieces. The conversion process results in some loss of energy and effectiveness.

3. Pulse Duration

Pulse duration measures time and how fast a picosecond laser operates—a lower number signifies that the laser operates faster. Picoseconds (ps) are used to measure speed, with 1000 ps being equal to 1 nanosecond.

Faster lasers rely less on heat, which is desirable because heat is generally less effective and more likely to damage the skin. Instead, through this increased speed, they generate a photoacoustic shockwave to do the work.

The pulse durations of PicoSure and PicoWay are as follows:

Picosecond Laser Pulse Duration
PicoSure 550 to 750 ps at native 755 nm wavelength
PicoWay 375 ps at 532 nm, 300 ps at 785 nm, and 450 ps at 1,064

PicoSure, PicoWay, and Their Effects on Skin Rejuvenation

PicoSure and PicoWay are designed to remove pigmentation and improve skin conditions. Their technicalities and specs set them apart from one another, but do these differences matter and make one better than the other? Let’s find out by categorizing them into three sections:

1. PicoWay vs PicoSure for Hyperpigmentation

Hyperpigmentation—such as age spots, melasma, and post-inflammatory trauma—creates an imbalance of colours on the skin. People with this condition often experience self-consciousness and insecurity due to the dark spots placed sporadically on their bodies. Fortunately, picosecond lasers are a proven solution.

A woman studies the sunspots on her skin in front of a mirror.

PicoSure has been shown to work well for dark-skinned patients with melasma. Another study found a 755nm picosecond laser produced significant improvements in treating post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. Although, there was a reported short-lived deepening of pigmentation during the treatment.

The FDA only recently cleared PicoWay for treating melasma, despite previous research supporting its efficacy for treating melasma. The results stated that the patients’ conditions significantly improved after one treatment, and didn’t experience side effects.

PicoWay is the stronger laser and could easily become the preferred option for treating hyperpigmentation. However, as it stands, PicoSure is more commonly selected and has more research in support of its use.

2. PicoWay vs PicoSure for Acne Scars

Acne scarring leaves an uneven texture on your skin. Topical creams and serums can help, but they’re less effective than laser treatments.

A 2015 study found significant improvement in appearance and texture three months after the last PicoSure treatment. In 2017, researchers used PicoWay combined with a holographic beam splitter to treat acne scars with similar effectiveness.

3. PicoSure vs PicoWay Tattoo Removal

A 2018 study that compared the efficacy of PicoSure, PicoWay, and nanosecond lasers on tattoo removal found some interesting results.

PicoWay tattoo removal effectively removed warm and black colours, while PicoSure significantly removed green and blue dyes. Neither scarred the skin, unlike the nanosecond laser that relied mainly on heat.

Both seem to be great options for laser tattoo removal. However, as with hyperpigmentation treatment, there is a greater backlog of research on PicoWay. Only time will tell if PicoWay eventually supersedes it as the industry standard.

 A technician uses PicoSure laser to remove the tattoo behind a woman’s ear.

Ask The Experts At Harmony Med Spa

The ‘PicoSure vs PicoWay’ debate boils down to old versus new.

While the latter is a newer, more powerful piece of technology, the former remains the preferred choice backed by a mountain of reputable research studies.

In time, PicoWay could very well become the preferred option. However, when choosing between PicoWay vs PicoSure for hyperpigmentation or acne scars in 2023, the latter remains the more tried-and-tested choice for your skin.

Book a consultation with Harmony Med Spa for an in-depth rundown on how we can address your needs with our PicoSure laser treatment services.