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CO2 Fractional Laser (Exocel) vs. PICO Laser (PicoSure): Which is Right for You?

Updated: Mar 30


In the quest for youthful, vibrant skin, choosing the right treatment can make all the difference. With advancements in dermatological technology, the options available can be both exciting and overwhelming. Among these, the CO2 Fractional Laser paired with the Exocel CO2 machine and the PICO Laser enhanced by PicoSure stands out as revolutionary choices for those seeking to rejuvenate their skin. Both treatments offer unique benefits and cater to different skin concerns, making an informed choice critical to achieving your skincare goals.


Section 1: Understanding the Technologies

CO2 Fractional Laser with Exocel CO2 Machine

CO2 laser

The CO2 Fractional Laser is a resurfacing treatment that uses a carbon dioxide laser to remove layers of skin with precision. This process stimulates the body’s natural healing, promoting the growth of healthy new skin and enhancing collagen production. When combined with the Exocel CO2 machine, known for its effectiveness in delivering controlled and precise CO2 treatments, it offers a comprehensive solution for addressing both surface-level imperfections and deeper structural skin concerns.


  • Enhanced skin rejuvenation: This combination offers both superficial and deep skin improvements.

  • Precision in treatment: Specifically targets areas without damaging surrounding tissues.

  • Improved skin texture and firmness: Stimulates collagen production for lasting results.

Ideal Use Cases and Skin Concerns:

  • Deep wrinkles and fine lines

  • Atrophic acne scars and other types of scarring

  • Skin laxity and sagging

  • Overall improvement in skin texture and tone

PICO Laser Treatment with PicoSure

PICO Laser

The PICO Laser represents a leap in laser technology, delivering ultra-short pulses of energy to the skin in trillionths of a second. This method shatters pigmentation and promotes collagen and elastin production without the heat damage associated with traditional lasers. PicoSure, an advanced version of the PICO Laser, enhances these effects with even greater precision and less downtime.


  • Minimal heat damage: Reduces the risk of hyperpigmentation and scarring.

  • Faster recovery: Shorter downtime compared to traditional laser treatments.

  • Versatility: Effective on various skin types and colors.

Ideal Use Cases and Skin Concerns:

  • Pigmented lesions or uneven skin tone such as freckles, sun spots, and age spots

  • Tattoo removal

  • Acne scars

  • Fine lines and wrinkles


Section 2: Key Differences - CO2 Fractional Laser vs PICO Laser Treatments

When comparing CO2 Fractional Laser with Exocel CO2 Machine and PICO Laser with PicoSure, several critical differences emerge that can guide patients in making the best choice for their skin rejuvenation journey.

Depth of Penetration:

The CO2 Fractional Laser, known for its deep penetration due to the ablative nature of the laser, is exceptionally effective for significant textural and compositional skin improvements. This contrasts with the PICO Laser's ultra-short pulse duration, which focuses on breaking up pigmentation and inducing collagen production without the same depth, catering more to surface-level concerns and revitalization.

Recovery Time:

Opting for the CO2 Fractional Laser with Exocel CO2 Machine might entail a longer recovery period, typically ranging from one to two weeks, given the treatment's intensity. Meanwhile, the PICO Laser with PicoSure offers quicker recovery, allowing most patients to resume normal activities within a few days, which suits those with busy lifestyles better.

Types of Skin Concerns:

The CO2 Fractional Laser is particularly adept at addressing deep wrinkles, scars, and significant skin laxity by promoting profound healing and collagen remodeling. In contrast, the PICO Laser is favored for treating pigmentation issues, fine lines, and tattoos, offering a gentler option for surface-level imperfections.

Longevity of Results:

CO2 Fractional Laser results tend to be long-lasting, with the induced structural changes having enduring effects on skin texture and firmness, provided there's proper skin care and protection. The PICO Laser also secures durable results, especially notable in pigmentation correction, with ongoing treatments recommended to maintain skin clarity and texture.

Pain and Discomfort:

A higher level of discomfort is associated with the CO2 Fractional Laser during and after the procedure, requiring a period of downtime and aftercare. On the other hand, PICO Laser treatments are often described as more comfortable, with minimal post-treatment discomfort, which is appealing to those with a lower pain tolerance.


Section 3: Pros and Cons

CO2 Fractional Laser with Exocel CO2 Machine


  • Exceptionally effective for deep wrinkles and scars, offering dramatic improvements.

  • Can significantly tighten skin and improve overall skin texture.

  • Results are long-lasting with proper care.


  • Longer recovery time, requiring a commitment to post-treatment care.

  • Higher potential for discomfort during treatment and in the recovery phase.

  • Greater risk of post-treatment complications, such as hyperpigmentation, especially in darker skin tones.

PICO Laser with PicoSure


  • Quick recovery time allows for a return to daily activities almost immediately.

  • Lower risk of side effects and complications, making it suitable for a wider range of skin types, including darker skin tones.

  • Effective on a broad spectrum of skin concerns, including pigmentation, fine lines, and tattoo removal.


  • May require more sessions to achieve the desired results, especially for deeper or more extensive skin issues.

  • Less effective on very deep wrinkles or significant skin laxity without combining treatments.

Making Your Choice

Deciding between CO2 Fractional Laser with Exocel CO2 Machine and PICO Laser with PicoSure involves weighing several factors tailored to your personal skincare goals and circumstances. Here’s what to consider:

Skin Type: 

Your skin type and color influence how you might react to different treatments. While PICO Laser with PicoSure is generally safe for a broader range of skin types, including darker tones, the CO2 Fractional Laser offers profound benefits for those with significant skin concerns but may pose risks for hyperpigmentation in darker skin tones.

Primary Concerns: 

Identify your main skin issues. If deep wrinkles, severe sun damage, or pronounced scars are your concerns, the CO2 Fractional Laser might offer the transformative results you seek. Conversely, if pigmentation, fine lines, or tattoo removal are your priorities, the PICO Laser could be ideal.


Treatments involving CO2 Fractional Laser may be more expensive upfront due to their intensity and the dramatic results they can achieve. PICO Laser treatments, while potentially requiring more sessions, may be more budget-friendly per session but could accumulate in cost over time.

Desired Recovery Time: 

Your ability to accommodate a recovery period is crucial. If some downtime is manageable for you, the CO2 Fractional Laser's longer recovery might be a fit. However, if you need to minimize disruption to your daily life, the quicker recovery associated with the PICO Laser could be more suitable.

Consulting with a Skincare Professional: 

Consulting with a qualified skincare professional is crucial. They can assess your skin’s condition, discuss your aesthetic goals, and recommend the most suitable treatment plan based on your unique needs.



Navigating the options for skin rejuvenation can be complex, but understanding the differences between CO2 Fractional Laser with Exocel CO2 Machine and PICO Laser with PicoSure can help clarify your path to achieving vibrant, youthful skin.

Both treatments offer distinct advantages for specific skin concerns, from deep structural rejuvenation to targeted pigmentation and texture improvements. By considering factors like skin type, primary concerns, budget, and recovery time, and consulting with a skincare professional, you can make a choice that best fits your unique needs and lifestyle.

As you contemplate the next steps in your skincare journey, remember that the most important decision is one that moves you closer to your goals with confidence. Reach out to a professional to explore your options, armed with knowledge and ready to embark on the path to the radiant, healthy skin you deserve.


Frequently Asked Questions

Which is better: Pico laser or CO2 fractional laser? 

The choice between Pico laser and CO2 fractional laser depends on your specific skin concerns; Pico is better for pigmentation and fine lines, while CO2 is superior for deep wrinkles and scars.

Is fractional CO2 laser better than Q-switch? 

Fractional CO2 laser is generally better for deep skin resurfacing and addressing wrinkles and scars, whereas Q-switch lasers are more suited for pigmentation and tattoo removal.

Is there anything better than CO2 laser? 

For certain skin concerns, newer technologies like Pico lasers or combined treatments may offer better results with less downtime, depending on the specific skin issue.

Can you do Pico laser after CO2? 

Yes, it's possible to use Pico laser after CO2 laser treatment once the skin has fully healed, especially to address pigmentation or fine lines that the CO2 laser may not have fully corrected.

What is Pico laser for? 

Pico laser is used for treating pigmentation issues, such as sun spots, age spots, and melasma, as well as for tattoo removal and improving skin texture.

What are the disadvantages of Pico laser?

Disadvantages include the potential need for multiple sessions to achieve desired results and its limited effectiveness on deep wrinkles or sagging skin.

How much does Pico laser cost in Singapore? 

The cost of Pico laser in Singapore can vary widely but generally ranges from SGD $200 to $800 per session, depending on the clinic and the treatment area's size.

Is the Pico laser painful? 

Pico laser treatments are generally less painful than more invasive laser procedures, with most patients experiencing minimal discomfort.

What is CO2 fractional laser good for? 

CO2 fractional laser is particularly effective for deep wrinkles, scars, significant sun damage, and improving overall skin texture and tightness.

How long do CO2 fractional laser results last? 

Results from CO2 fractional laser can last several years, depending on the individual’s skin condition and maintenance, including sun protection and skincare regimen.

How much does CO2 laser cost in Singapore? 

The cost of CO2 laser treatment in Singapore can range from SGD $600 to $2,500 per session, based on the treatment's complexity and the clinic.

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