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The PICO Genesis Laser Takes Aim at Pigmentation Variations

The PICO Genesis Laser Takes Aim at Pigmentation Variations

By Katherine Stuart, March 1, 2018, The Plastic Surgery Channel


Glowing skin is youthful looking skin. Beyond wrinkles and fine lines, pigmentation issues begin to stack up over the years, leading to an uneven, splotchy appearance. To correct these markers of age, lasers have long been used to help achieve a more radiant look to the skin. They come in different forms, but while many are effective at improving skin tone and texture, they are not quite as good at treating hyper-pigmentation. Enter the PICO Genesis laser.

Pigment is truly the enemy of anyone seeking more youthful-looking skin. Blotchy brown areas such as Melasma, freckles and sun spots are all instant signs of an aged face. Erasing or lightening these dark patches of skin can take years off the face, neck, chest, arms and hands, simply by reintroducing a uniform color. Board certified plastic surgeon Dr. Brad Calobrace details why he thinks the PICO Genesis laser is ready to achieve such results for perhaps the first time


PICOGenesis is one of the newest lasers on the market. It is used to improve:

 Since the skin is our body’s biggest organ, we take it for granted. Consider the face of a baby and child, what is that “glow” often associated with a young face? Many would argue it has to do with the even and uniform skin texture, as well as color, or pigmentation. Attempting to achieve that uniformity in pigmentation goes a long way to facial rejuvenation.

A lot of lasers have come and gone because what plastic surgeons are really looking for is, “the holy grail for the skin,” explains Calobrace. The wrench with most lasers has really been hyperpigmentation, allowing the PICO Genesis laser a chance to revolutionize the way plastic surgeons treat skin pigmentation.


Hyperpigmentation refers to any patch of skin that becomes darker than the skin surrounding it. This could be a sun spot, age spot, freckle or something larger. Hyperpigmentation is an excess of melanin and can result from any number of things; the common enemies are the sun, age, and fluctuating hormones. In fact, so many women develop melasma (brown patches on the face) while pregnant that is often referred to as the “pregnancy mask.” 

While hyperpigmentation is extremely common and can affect all skin types, it is notoriously difficult to treat. Wearing sunscreen religiously can help prevent it and can keep it from getting worse, but it does not erase the damage once it occurs. .


Patients who struggle with melasma, environmentally-damaged skin, blotchiness and freckles are all excellent candidates for PICO Genesis. The laser uses a very fast pulse that “almost explodes the pigment out of the way,” explains Dr. Calobrace. The advantage of this is that is does not heat the skin. When the skin is heated, hyperpigmentation issues can be made worse. This has been noted in prior lases and is known as, “rebound hyperpigmentation.” Because the PICO Genesis laser fires a pulse of light, the pigmentation being treated is “shattered by an acoustic wave,” rather than “burned away” as a typical laser may perform. 


The main advantage of the PICO technology used in PICO Genesis is that the laser uses such a fast pulse that it can treat the skin without heating the skin. This means:

With PICO technology, “the energy produced is so quick that the skin doesn’t even have time to heat up. Yet it’s able to ablate or get rid of that pigment. That’s the magic of it,” says Dr. Calobrace.


PICO Genesis can be used to improve hyperpigmentation, skin texture, pore size, and overall photoluminescence of the skin. After a treatment, the skin will look markedly better, brighter and healthier. “You feel like you’ve had 100 facials,” says Dr. Calobrace. The pigment has been both lightened and blended into it’s surroundings.

The same laser, in a different modality, is also used to perform tattoo removal. The laser can target the different colors and explode them out of the skin with less scarring and post-treatment problems.


One of the advantages of PICO Genesis is that it can be used anywhere. Most patients use it on the face, neck and décolletage area as these tend to have the most sensitive and damaged skin. For the body, the most common treatment areas are the hands and the arms due to their high sun exposure.

“I love PICO Genesis because I think pigment is our enemy. We struggle to get rid of the challenging pigment on skin,” explains Dr. Calobrace. PICO Genesis has taken lasers for pigment to a whole new level.

At Newhope Laser Skin Care, Dr. Tien has been trained and specialized in treating skin of color (Fitzpatrick skin types 4-6) for revitalizes the skin, fights acne, reduces fine wrinkles, and erases both age spots (solar lentigines) and melasma.

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