Should I use Picosure or Q-switch for only black ink? (photo)

Hello. Do I need to spend three times more money on procedures with Picosure Laser, if all my tattoes have only black color, or laser with Q-switch will do the same work for less money? My doctor is using MEDHITECH QS3000 SENS D5/D7, will I get better results with removing black ink if I choose Picosure instead or will this laser be OK for me as well? Thank you

Doctor Answers 5


PicoSure laser does the job done in fewer number of treatments, and price is usually per treatment. So with PicoSure you tattoo could be removed with 4 treatments while with Q-switch it could require as much as 12 treatments. If the price is per treatment, you would not save a whole lot of money, if any. PicoSure is safer and minimizes the risk of hypopigmentation, attaining the best removal results. Good luck!

Summit Emergency Medicine Physician
5.0 out of 5 stars 45 reviews

Picosecond laser

There is no doubt that the new picosecond laser shatters the ink much more effectively than the Q-switched laser with far less risk of complications (usually hypopigmentation). Your black tattoo should be treated with the 1064 wavelength of any picosecond laser.

Firas Al-Niaimi, MSc
London Dermatologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 4 reviews

What is the Latest Technology for Tattoo Removal?

Pico lasers are the most advanced technology. I utilize and prefer the PiQo4 laser which has 4 Pico wavelengths including the 1064 wavelength for black pigment. I believe that tattoos are removed faster and safer with Pico lasers and there is less risk of scarring. I think it is important not only to seek the best technology but an experienced laser tattoo removal provider. Best wishes and good luck with your removal. 

Daniel J. Ritacca, MD
Chicago Oculoplastic Surgeon
4.3 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

Solid black tattoos

At our practice, we have the latest technology to treat very dark black ink, and tattoos on dark skin.  It's the Picosure 1064 and it's made to address the tattoo that you are showing us.  I suggest you look for a  Practice that can treat you with this type of laser tip, the 1064.

Rakesh Nanda, MD
Columbus Physician
4.0 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

​​Use the Best Technology Available

Thanks for your question.  Tattoo regret is very common.

Q-Switch or nanosecond lasers came out about 20 years ago.  Picosecond laser came out about 3 years ago.  The majority of former Q-Switch patients we see have significant hypopigmentation (ghosting) around and under their tattoo.  The Q-Switch lasers have trouble differentiating between the melanin in your skin and ink.  The technology uses heat to burn the pigment out of your skin.  In addition, we have seen patients with raised scars as if they have been branded.  Both of these condition are irreversible. 

Picosecond lasers (like the PicoSure, PicoWay & Enlighten) fire 1000 times faster, using a pressure wave rather than heat to shear the ink molecules apart.  After using the PicoSure for almost 2 years, we have only seen pinpoint hypopigmentation in a very small number of patients usually of darker skin tones.  We cannot say it is impossible to get burned with a Picosecond laser, but it is highly unlikely.  We tell every PicoSure tattoo patient to expect at least 6 treatments, but don’t be surprised if it takes 10 to 12.  Patience is the key for our patients.  We typically see our tattoo removal patients every 6 to 8 weeks initially.  If they have more time than money, we encourage them to come every 6 months as the tattoos seem to continue to fade while they wait.

We recommend finding an experienced physician in your area.  Treatment prices vary by market.  The cost for picosecond treatments will be higher, but you should need less than half the treatments compared to a nanosecond laser and have much lower chance of permanent complications.

Laura Riehm, MD
Fort Worth Physician
5.0 out of 5 stars 1 review

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.