Is the Discovery Pico Laser suitable if I am still having active acne?Acne & Scars Aesthetic Medicine
Hi. I would like to find out whether the Discovery Pico Laser is suitable for my skin if I am still having active acne?
Great to hear that you are considering Discovery Pico laser for your acne! Thank you for your question - Patients with active acne often worry that laser treatment may not be effective or cause side effects such as acne flare. I have used quite a few picosecond Q-switched lasers (such as Picosure, Picoway, Picocare) and am currently using the Quanta Discovery Pico Plus. I hope my experience will be able to help you to decide whether to go ahead with Discovery Pico laser treatment.
Is the Discovery Pico Laser suitable if you are still having active acne?
The short answer is yes, Discovery Pico Laser is suitable if you are still having active acne.
Quanta Discovery Pico is a picosecond Q-switched Nd:YAG laser (the Plus model has an additional ruby laser module). Compared to other picosecond Q-switched lasers, it has certain advantages in treating patients with active acne.
- Quasi long pulse mode - longer pulse duration generates more photothermal effect which helps kill acne bacteria deep in the skin as well as target the sebaceous glands. It can also be used with a specialized fractional optic to further focus the heating. The quasi long pulsed mode is also essential for carbon peel using a carbon based photo-enhancer, which has been shown to be effective in active acne.
- Ruby wavelength - Unlike other picosecond lasers that use dye converter handpieces (that result in drastic reduction in power), Discovery Pico Plus has a full power ruby laser. I find this works very well for Post Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation (PIH) producing rapid clearance
- High peak power - Tied with Lutronic Pico Plus at 1.8GW, it produces more photomechanical effect. I find that it works well for PIH especially in darker skin types.
In addition to laser treatment, acne should be treated holistically with topical and/or oral medications, proper skin care and lifestyle modification such as sun avoidance, reduction in sugar and dairy intake. Do note that starting any skin treatment including q-switched lasers can sometimes cause acne flares, so it is important to also treat the acne concurrently with medications.
Treatment with Discovery Pico Plus has worked well for many of my patients, particularly busy working individuals that cannot afford to have any downtime. For patients with more severe acne that are able to tolerate some downtime, I would recommend Fractional Radiofrequency, Fractional Laser or Fractional Microneedling Radiofrequency which are stronger and more aggressive treatments.
Note the improvement in the acne after Fractional Microneedling Radiofrequency (source)
Do speak with your doctor who will be able to assess your skin condition and come up with a detailed treatment plan for you.
Hope this helps!
Dr Wan Chee Kwang
- Jung JY et al. Prospective randomized controlled clinical and histopathological study of acne vulgaris treated with dual mode of quasi-long pulse and Q-switched 1064-nm Nd:YAG laser assisted with a topically applied carbon suspension. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2012 Apr;66(4):626-33.
- Chun SI el al. Carbon assisted Q-switched Nd:YAG laser treatment with two different sets of pulse width parameters offers a useful treatment modality for severe inflammatory acne: a case report. Photomed Laser Surg. 2011 Feb;29(2):131-5.
- Kaminaka C et al. Long-Term Clinical and Histological Effects of a Bipolar Fractional Radiofrequency System in the Treatment of Facial Atrophic Acne Scars and Acne Vulgaris in Japanese Patients: A Series of Eight Cases. Photomed Laser Surg. 2016 Dec;34(12):657-660.
- Kwon HH et al. Novel device-based acne treatments: comparison of a 1450-nm diode laser and microneedling radiofrequency on mild-to-moderate acne vulgaris and seborrhoea in Korean patients through a 20-week prospective, randomized, split-face study. J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 2018 Apr;32(4):639-644.
- Moneib H et al. Randomized split-face controlled study to evaluate 1550-nm fractionated erbium glass laser for treatment of acne vulgaris--an image analysis evaluation. Dermatol Surg. 2014 Nov;40(11):1191-200.
- Kim, S. T., Lee, K. H., Sim, H. J., Suh, K. S., & Jang, M. S. (2014). Treatment of acne vulgaris with fractional radiofrequency microneedling. The Journal of Dermatology, 41(7), 586–591. doi:10.1111/1346-8138.12471
Thank you for the question. This is a good question that i've received from several patients.
Discovery Pico Laser is one of the brands of Picosecond Lasers.
Picosecond Lasers are suitable even while you are still having active acne.
In fact, it can help to reduce active acne.
It works by killing acne-causing bacteria and controlling oil production.
Over the long term, it can help to reduce brown acne marks.
In addition to picosecond lasers, also do consider antibiotic creams and intralesional steroid injections for your active acne.
Hope that this helps!
Dr Justin Boey
Picosecond lasers are new in the market and Discovery is one of the brands.
You can refer to the image of oil glands below:
I use a laser to heat up the hair follicles and by its close proximity close up the pores and shut down the oil gland to help treat the acne. I have had more success with my Q-switched laser compared to my picosecond laser because the picosecond pulse duration is not long enough for the hair follicle to absorb the laser energy and heat up sufficiently for the follicle to burn up.
I normally don't encourage my patients to have this done, since using any laser will stimulate the skin and increase blood flow to the oil glands making it more active. It would be better to control the acne first whether it is by applied creams and serums or using oral medication like isotretinoin and possibly antibiotics before starting any laser treatment.