What is PicoWay®?

PicoWay by Candela is an FDA-approved laser therapy system that harnesses the power of high-powered lasers delivered within a single picosecond (one trillionth of a second). The short duration of the beam allows the target cells and pigments to be vaporized without heating your skin and causing superficial damage that requires downtime for recovery.

What is PicoWay® Zoom?

PicoWay Zoom is a procedure that uses the PicoWay laser system to target and reduce pigment variations in the skin. The procedure is often used to treat dark spots in the skin due to sun exposure, genetics, or age. The PicoWay Zoom utilizes the cutting-edge technology of the PicoWay laser.

What can PicoWay® Zoom Treat?

The PicoWay laser was specifically designed to treat skin issues such as acne scars, dark spots, and unwanted tattoos. The laser uses different handpieces, which produce different results by changing how energy is delivered to the skin.

PicoWay Zoom uses a full-beam handpiece to target skin pigmentation and break it up into tiny pieces, which can no longer be seen through the skin. This procedure is used to target dark spots, which may include pigmented lesions, freckles, sun discoloration, or other brown patches on the skin. PicoWay laser platform can also effectively remove unwanted tattoos with the PicoWay laser tattoo removal.

A different treatment option, known as PicoWay Resolve, uses a split-beam handpiece to promote the production of collagen and elastin in the skin, improving the appearance of scars and wrinkles.

What Causes Skin Discoloration?

Skin discoloration is common and can have many different causes. Discolored skin patches can occur naturally in the skin due to a variation in melanin levels. Melanin is a naturally occurring pigment that gives color to the skin and also provides sun protection. A difference in melanin levels can cause dark patches on the skin, which may be present from birth or may develop over time.

Other causes of skin discoloration include:

  • Sunspots, age spots, and liver spots, which are terms that are often used interchangeably. Age spots are small, flat areas of darker pigmentation that vary in size. They often appear on parts of the skin that are frequently exposed to the sun, such as the face, hands, and shoulders. Age spots themselves are harmless, but they can be bothersome and may affect the quality of life. They are an indication that the skin has been exposed to a lot of sun, which could lead to other skin conditions. Sunspots are common in people over the age of 50 but are also often seen in younger people who spend a lot of time in the sun.
  • Melasma, a condition that causes brown patches to appear on the face. Melasma can be caused by sun damage or hormonal changes, and often affects pregnant women. Women who use hormonal birth control, such as birth control pills, may also experience melasma. Hormone-related melasma often goes away on its own after hormones return to normal levels, either after childbirth or after discontinuing the use of birth control pills. However, some women may continue to experience skin discoloration.
  • Tattoos, which are also a type of skin pigmentation that can be targeted with the PicoWay tattoo removal laser.

Regardless of the cause of discoloration, the laser targets the pigmentation, breaking it up into tiny participles that are virtually invisible. The PicoWay laser is the newest, most advanced laser technology available for pigment removal and reduction.


  • When will I see results from PicoWay Zoom?
    • Many patients experience noticeable results after one to two PicoWay Zoom treatments. However, the degree of improvement seen after the initial treatment will depend on the area being treated and the extent of the skin discoloration. Most patients require multiple sessions to achieve their desired results.
    • After your initial PicoWay Zoom consultation, our office will provide you with an estimate of the number of treatments necessary to treat your skin discoloration.
  • How effective is PicoWay Zoom?
    • In a clinical study of patients receiving PicoWay Zoom treatment for benign pigmented lesions, 87 percent reported having a good response after just two treatments, and more than 50 percent of patients reported having a good or better response.
    • Results seen from tattoo removal treatment depend somewhat on the colors used in the tattoo. In a clinical study, 86 percent of patients with black or multicolor tattoos saw at least a 50 percent improvement after 3 sessions. For patients with blue or green tattoos, significant improvement was seen after only 2 treatment sessions.
  • Is PicoWay Zoom safe?
    • PicoWay Zoom is safe and effective for a broad range of skin types. In the past, laser skin rejuvenation was often not an option for people with darker skin types, because too much energy was absorbed into the skin. This can cause additional skin discoloration or other unwanted side effects. The ultra-short laser pulses delivered by the picosecond laser eliminated these issues.
  • Are PicoWay Zoom treatments painful?
    • Any sensations or mild feelings of pain experienced with PicoWay Zoom treatments will vary on several factors, such as the area being treated and the severity of the skin discoloration. Most patients report low levels of pain when receiving treatment for dark spots. Because tattoos typically involve more concentrated skin pigmentation, tattoo removal treatments may be more painful. During PicoWay Zoom treatments at Polaris Medical Aesthetics, one of our licensed healthcare professional may apply a topical anesthetic if necessary to minimize any discomfort.
  • Are there any side effects associated with PicoWay Zoom?
    • Side effects associated with PicoWay Zoom are typically very mild and temporary. Some patients may experience mild swelling, redness, and pinpoint bleeding. Side effects may vary depending on the area treated and the wavelength used for treatment.
  • How long does a PicoWay Zoom session last?
    • PicoWay Zoom treatments are very quick and typically last less than 30 minutes. Because of the minimal downtime involved, many patients schedule their treatment over a lunch break or on a day when they are scheduling other errands. There is no need to have someone else drive you to your appointment or go home immediately afterward.
  • How much downtime is needed?
    • The ultra-short laser pulses delivered by the PicoWay laser create what is known as a photoacoustic effect, rather than the photothermal effect created by other skin lasers. The ultra-short pulses do not heat the skin compared to other lasers. The PicoWay uses a “photoacoustic” effect which produces less damage to surrounding skin and greatly reduces any downtime following treatment. PicoWay Zoom leaves the outer layer of skin completely undamaged. Most patients can resume normal daily activities within 24 hours of treatment, including wearing makeup. If you have a tattoo removed, you may need to wear a bandage for a few days to keep the area dry.

For more information, please call us at (323) 744-3133.