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Everything You Need to Know About Q Switch Laser Tattoo Removal

Tattoo Removal Using a Q Switch Lase

When doing your due diligence and researching a clinic to remove unwanted tattoos, treat pigment related conditions, or improve acne scarring you will find that many Sydney clinics operate with the most common laser machine known as a Q-Switch laser. Though it is one of the more regular lasers, it does not exactly mean that it is the best, most advanced technology out there. We break down all you need to know.

What is a Q Switched Laser?

Q-Switch Lasers, refer to the type of pulse created to deliver energy by the laser. Q-Switched laser creates very short beam pulses going at a billionth a second. The Q-Switched laser treatment is powerful enough to shatter tiny fragments of ink, break down pigmentation, scarring, and stimulate collagen production.  A Q-Switch laser treatment delivers a deep penetrating single wavelength. This treatment also effective for different skin types, skin rejuvenation, minimising pore size, treating fine lines, enhancing skin laxity and removing unwanted brown spots or pigmentation.


The Difference Between Q Switch and Discovery Pico Laser Treatment

What to Expect

Discovery Pico and Q-Switch are both similar skin laser treatments that address skin conditions such as acne scars, skin texture discoloration and unwanted tattoos. Both are FDA approved and operate the same way by delivering laser energy pulses to the targeted area breaking down pigmentation. There are also some major factors that differentiate the two.

Discovery Pico delivers ultra short bursts to a trillionth to the second (meaning a PicoSecond), that is one hundred times faster than the Q-Switched laser when comparing the two. Essentially the Discovery Pico laser is more effective in lightening and fading pigmentation and typically takes far less time with significantly less impact on the skin. Traditionally Q-Switched laser heats the skin and surrounding tissues as it uses a photothermal pulses. The Discovery Pico uses a photo mechanical technology which only targets the problem pigmentation deeply leaving surrounding areas untouched.

Number of Treatments

There is no real answer to how many sessions it takes for a tattoo to be removed from the treated area. This is solely dependent on the body’s immune system and how it works differently on each persons skin. Two people could have an identical tattoo in the same area and it could take a different number of treatments should. The amount of ink, area, medical history and health would be a few factors. The tattoo size, age and colour will alway be a factor

Q-Switched laser can take from 8-20 treatments on an average sized solid black tattoo.

The Discovery Pico laser can take from 3-8 treatments on the same average sized solid black tattoo.


Tattoo Removal Using a Q Switch Laser

The Q-Switch laser penetrates down to the dermis and shatters the ink using a intense pulse of light energy delivered. Because the pulse of light energy is so intense the tattoo ink instantly breaks down into smaller pieces as it absorbs light energy delivered. The shattered ink will be eliminated naturally through the body’s system.


What is Q-Switching?

Using Q-Switched lasers is a method for generating non-invasive intense short pulses of light with a laser. The technique is mainly applied for the generation of nanosecond pulses of high energy and peak power with solid-state bulk lasers. The Q-Switched laser treatment is an efficient photoacoustic effect with no thermal interaction with tissues.

This is a basic description of Q-Switching, but the true efficiency and effectiveness of Q-Switching will depend on the machine, the clinic, and more.


Q Switch Laser Skin Treatment More Broadly

While Q-Switch lasers are used in the removal of tattoos for all skin types, they can also use this versatile laser in different wavelengths to treat general skin treatments, including:

  • Pigmentation treatment
  • Sun damage
  • Melasma treatment
  • China doll laser facial
  • Age spots, freckles, over sun exposure and some birthmarks
  • Acne scars
  • Fine lines and wrinkles
  • Enlarged pores
  • Laser toning

Skin Treatments and Removal of Dead Skin Cells

Some clinics will use q switched lasers to stimulate collage production and rejuvenate the skin. Such as the China Doll laser facial which is a famed treatment known to leave you with radiant, glowing and smooth skin. Benefits of this treatment include

  • Reduced skin imperfections
  • Enhanced glow
  • Improved skin tone
  • Reduced pore size


What Happens After Q-Switch Laser Treatment?

There is no down time to this, though your skin may be sensitive, with some mild redness. Your skin might turn a little grey or white for a few minutes after the treatment. Gradually, this pigmentation gets settled and blends with the surrounding skin.

Q Switch Laser Disadvantages and Risks: Is it Safe?

  • Scarring – q switched laser can be prone to scarring as it is very heat intensive. They may not always be noticeable to the skins surface or surrounding skin but you will feel the area treated is raised, therefore the scar being subdermal
  • Pain – There is discomfort that comes with any tattoo removal, at Next Level we give you include pain management options if you choose to take one along with your Discovery Pico treatment. A q switched laser treatment can be extremely painful as there is a high heat generated when operating.
  • Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation (PIH)- This occurs when melanin is triggered by trauma and the skin develops a brown pigmentation similar to sun spots to the treatment area. Q switched laser treatment produces a lot of heat with treating a tattoo, meaning PIH can be very common with this treatment.


When initially doing your research pre-laser treatment you will may come across many other Sydney clinics that offer a quick cheap fix. This is a big red flag, as they may be using other lasers or using a Q-Switch. The difference between these short and cheap treatments and the common Q-Switched laser treatments is that they are standardized for every client and energy settings are not tailored for your unique skin type. This can lead to damaging the skin and way less effective. These regular lasers are much more regular and you will need many more to start seeing any results.


We Use the State of the Art The Discovery Pico Laser

Why We Use the State of the Art The Discovery Pico Laser

Our Sydney Clinic we remove tattoos with the Discovery Pico Laser Machine. It is important that our clients have access to the most advanced technology and the Discovery Pico machine is the first and only Picosecond laser on the market that delivers safe treatment and effective removal of tattoos as well as treating acne scars, wrinkles and skin revitalization treatments.

One thing we know for sure, is that The Discovery Pico has a higher customer satisfaction rate as compared to Q-switch when it comes down to the removal of tattoos.