Over the last 2 years, I developed these really unattractive patches of melasma on both my cheeks and have been trying many different types of treatment to get rid of them. If you have melasma or other pigmentation issues you know how hard it is to get rid of, not to mention how it just keeps coming back.
Recently, I decided to try “PICO Toning by Discovery PICO”. PICO Toning is a laser treatment that is targeted for skin problems such as melasma, sun spots, age spots, freckles, birthmarks and unwanted tattoos and is known as one of the best solutions on the market for dealing with tough pigmentation issues.
Now let me go over my full experience of PICO Toning by Discovery PICO and share with you my results & opinion after three laser treatments.
An Overview of Discovery PICO
Discovery PICO is the second generation of picosecond lasers. PICO toning by Discovery PICO was designed to help problems of various pigmented lesions, acne scars and making the skin look brighter & smoother. The innovation introduced by Discovery PICO consists in peak power level through ultrashort pulses and is twice more powerful than any other Picosecond laser for medical applications.
How it works is that when the laser light is being absorbed by the pigmented lesions, the light will vibrate and break the pigment into the smallest particles. The tiny particles will then be easily eliminated by the body’s immune system. During the treatment, the laser will be directed towards the area of concern, heating the deeper layers of the skin. The laser pulses generate a pure photoacoustic effect which targets the pigments without affecting the surrounding tissues.
My Experience at Privé Clinic
My PICO Toning treatment was performed at Privé Clinic at Palais Renaissance (Orchard Road, Singapore), by licensed doctor. First the doctor spoke to me regarding my skin condition and concerns. Then went over the science behind the Discovery PICO lasers, how it works and what realistic expectations I should have post treatment. The doctor recommended a minimum course of 6 treatments, spaced 3 to 4 weeks apart, and indicated that I should see a slight lightening of my pigmentation after the 1st treatment.
My makeup was first removed and skin cleansed. Then using the special VISIA machine, pictures of my face and profile were taken (pre-treatment). The scan produced a full facial assessment report which enabled me to see how I compared to other females in my age group. The categories of the assessment were Spots, UV Spots, Brown Spots, Red Areas, Wrinkles, Texture, Pores & Porphyrins.
The best part about this machine was that each time I went back to Privé Clinic for a treatment I was able to compare my results. Without going into full details of the report, with the exception of these melasma spots, my skin is in great condition for a 40 year old. 😉 Just to give you a basis for comparison, my results are listed below prior to each treatment I received (the higher the percentage, the better your skin is doing) –
Texture: (T1: 98%, T2: 98%, T3: 99%)
Pores: (T1: 97%, T2: 96%, T3: 98%)
Wrinkles: (T1: 81%, T2: 95%, T3: 91%)
UV Spots: (T1: 34%, T2: 29%, T3: 42%)
Spots: (T1: 85%, T2: 89%, T3: 86%)
Brown Spots: (T1: 77%, T2: 81%, T3: 77%)
As you can see, I was practically failing in the UV Spots department.
Super Note: Not all clinics are able to give you a proper assessment of your skin condition and do a comparison between visits. I was definitely impressed by the machine at Privé Clinic and was happy to get a print-out of my results.
What to Expect from the PICO Toning Treatment
The PICO Toning treatment lasts approx 10 mins and is performed by a doctor. The recommended course of treatments is 3 to 6.
Laser-protective goggles were placed over my eyes and then the treatment began. During the treatment it felt like small rubber bands snapping on my face with a slight tingling sensation. The laser omitted a slight burning smell. On a scale of 1-10 (10 being very painful), this treatment was probably a 2.
Super Note: During my laser treatment, a nurse at Privé Clinic was holding a special cooling device as the doctor treated my skin, which numbed the treated area. Not all clinics offer this, so make sure you check before getting the treatment as this made the pain almost non-existent.
After-Treatment Care & Downtime
After the treatment, moisturizing cream and sunblock was applied to my face and I was ready to leave. The only downtime was that my face was red in color for about 30 mins and dry for a few days.
The results will vary from individual to individual; some people do experience redness, small pin-point bleeding, blisters and itchy/dry/flaky skin. After the treatment, make sure to always wear sunblock. I also take extra precautions when I am in the sun by taking Heliocare Oral supplements daily and wearing a wide brimmed hat (that includes while I am driving my car).
PICO Toning Treatment Cost
Each PICO Toning treatment costs approximately SG$500. Most clinics do offer packages if you buy more than one treatment and/or offer a special price for your first trial, so make sure you inquire before you book. It’s recommended that you get 3 to 6 treatments in order to see results.
SuperMommy’s Review & Overall Opinion:
What I liked about the PICO Toning Treatment:
- Virtually painless & no numbing cream required
- Quick (10 mins) and can be added to your normal facial routine
- No downtime
- Brightened skin tone
- Tightened pores
- Skin looks rejuvenated
Some Cons to the PICO Toning Treatment:
- Need multiple treatments over the course of months to see results for pigmentation, melasma or spots.
- Costs add up considering you will need at least 3 to 6 treatments to see results
- No assurances that pigmentation will go away even after multiple treatment
Overall if you are new to laser treatments, PICO Toning is a good starter laser treatment to help rejuvenate your skin. It’s a great lunchtime laser with no downtime, virtually pain-free and very little inconvenience. I did see brighter and tighter skin after each of my laser treatments. PICO Toning is definitely one good starting point to improving the overall appearance of your skin.
If you are trying to tackle harder issues, such as deep acne marks, fine lines, wrinkles, pigmentation and more, I would recommend trying a stronger laser such as Fraxel (which I have also done multiple times in the past & love). Fraxel is slightly more painful, requires numbing cream and does require a few days of downtime, but you will see a significant change in the appearance of your skin.
As for my melasma, even after 3 treatments, my brown spots got slightly lighter for a few days and then was back to normal (even after proper sun protection). I am still deciding if I should invest more money and another 3+ months of time on PICO Toning treatments for my melasma. I will update this post and let you know the results if I decide to continue the treatments.
I do see myself in the future doing additional PICO Toning laser treatments if my skin needs an quick & easy, pick-me-up glow before an event, but not necessarily as solution to my pigmentation issues.
Please feel free to ask any questions or leave a comment below if you want to share any of your own beauty experiences.
Treatment Update – April 17, 2018: After I wrote this article, in October 2017, I decided to buy a PICO Toning package for another 6 treatments and also combined the treatments with microdermabrasion (which is supposed to make it more effective). I was really determined to get rid of my Melasma, but even after targeted spot treatments, the melasma just stayed the same.
If you are suffering from Melasma, I recommend looking into the oral pill – TRANSINO II from Japan. It’s been 2 months since I have been taking Transino II, and now my Melasma is barely visible!! I will be writing a full article on this soon, but in the meantime you can research it online and speak to your dermatologist.