There’s a new laser treatment in town. Unveiled earlier this month at the American Academy of Dermatology annual meeting in San Diego, the PiQo4 laser is upping the ante for skin-care tech.
For laser newbies, the idea of shooting your skin with something out of a Star Wars movie might sound scary, but lasers are used to treat a ton of skin concerns — specifically those tied to hyperpigmentation, like melasma.
“The most common pigment issues I see area post inflammatory hyperpigmentation, melasma, sun damage, and tattoos,” Sejal Shah, a dermatologist in New York City, tells Allure. While treatments can vary, she says, laser treatments are a super effective way to zap any unwanted dark spots.
On a basic level, laser treatments, which use high-energy light beams to treat skin, work in two ways. For deeper pigmentation, such as melasma or tattoos, lasers can shatter pigment deposits underneath the skin. For surface-level treatment, “the laser works by punching microscopic holes in the skin, creating a controlled wound,” Joshua Zeichner, director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, previously told Allure. “As the skin heels from this controlled injury, it does so in a more healthy and cosmetically elegant manner.”
The PiQo4 is a game-changer for a few reasons. First off, it’s super high energy (the most powerful picosecond laser on the market), which translates to faster results. According to Lumenis, PiQo4’s manufacturer, the laser can remove pigment in 40 percent less treatment time. Also adding to the laser’s speediness, is the relatively large size of the treatment area it can handle. PiQo4’s largest spot size is 15.5 millimeters. (For reference, that’s almost four times bigger than anything that’s currently available.) That makes the laser especially suited for larger pigmentation problems, such as a scar or birthmark that’s currently taking up a lot of real estate.