290 Orchard Rd, #13-07 The Paragon, Singapore 238859


December 20, 2022

Dr. Chloe Ho - Why pico laser is not enough for skin brightening

In Singapore, many aesthetic clinics offer the reliable Pico Laser treatment for skin brightening and for good reason – it’s been repeatedly clinically proven[1] to show promising results for stubborn conditions like acne scars, and comes with far less downtime and side effects compared to earlier Q-switched lasers.

Pico Laser is indeed an effective laser treatment, but it is also well compatible with various other treatment options to produce even better results.

In fact, a good aesthetic doctor will recommend a combination of pico laser with other therapies to reach different depths of your skin. Since Christmas is around the corner, allow me to share more on a skin brightening protocol my colleague Dr Claudine Pang and I formulated.

If you’re looking for a low-effort, instant glow-up, this is it.

What is skin brightening?

Skin brightening, skin lightening, skin whitening – these are some common terms sometimes used interchangeably but refer to quite different procedures. Let’s break down each term:

What is it
Skin BrighteningSkin brightening is all about rejuvenation – think glowy skin often seen in Korean celebs.
Through rejuvenation, we are able to return radiance and glow to the skin. Although not its primary purpose, the process of skin brightening may also reduce the appearance of dark spots.
Skin LighteningSkin lightening is one step further than skin brightening.
While skin brightening is unable to completely remove the visible appearance of dark spots, skin lightening can. In fact, if used regularly, some skin lightening products can alter the shade of your complexion
Skin WhiteningSkin whitening goes beyond brightening and lightening.
It is about achieving a drastically whiter shade, lighter than your natural skin tone.

A word of caution: Skin whitening is harmful.

The ingredients used in skin whitening products are often potent[2] and prolonged use of these products has been associated with poisoning, skin and kidney damage, and liver malfunction.

Aesthetic treatments should improve your complexion and not cause irreversible damage. Between skin brightening and skin lightening, always initiate an in-depth discussion with your doctor on the results you hope to achieve.

Which treatment is best for skin brightening?

When we think of skin brightening, there is no one ‘best’ treatment. In fact, there are several, equally good options that can brighten your skin that can be used independently.

  • Pico Laser

Pico Laser is a non-invasive laser treatment used to treat most common skin imperfections including sun damage and acne scarring. It is able to achieve visible, lasting results and has minimal downtime.

The Pico laser sends ultra-short pulses of energy – without heat – to targeted areas. The technology allows for particularly precise treatment of pigmented lesions in the quickest and most effective manner. The laser also triggers the production of elastin, a protein that gives you softer and fuller complexion.

Pico Laser can be applied to the face and body. Apart from some temporary redness and swelling, it is a generally painless process.

Conditions Pico Laser can treat:

  • Skin discolouration such as birthmarks
  • Melasma
  • Sun damage
  • Acne scarring
  • Tattoo removal
  • Yellow Laser

Yellow Laser is another non-invasive treatment that is both gentle and effective, especially for mild to moderate acne. You can expect to see clearer skin within 6 treatments at 2 to 3 weeks intervals.

The Yellow laser eradicates active acne by shrinking the sebaceous gland to reduce production of sebum. At the same time, it encourages collagen growth and reduces the appearance of small red blood vessels, giving you firmer and clearer skin.

Apart from some redness, which should subside within an hour, Yellow Laser treatment is generally painless. You should also avoid sun exposure for at least two weeks before the treatment and abstain from using any products that may irritate the skin at least three days prior to the treatment.

Conditions Yellow Laser can treat:

  • Mild to moderate acne that has not responded well to other forms of treatment
  • Sensitive skin
  • Melasma
  • Redness-prone skin
  • Rosacea

Each session comes with an optional add on LED light therapy to improve the healing process.

LED Light Therapy

LED Light Therapy has been around for decades and is known for its healing properties.

Unlike other types of light therapy that may contain harmful ultraviolet rays, LED Light Therapy does not and is safe for regular use. You are recommended to go for weekly sessions for a period of 10 weeks then follow-up once every few months to maintain the results.

LED Light Therapy involves using varying wavelengths of light, otherwise referred to as red and blue light, to address age-related skin conditions and acne.

Red light: Stimulates collagen proteins for smoother and fuller skin and is primarily used for anti-ageing treatment. Red light can also reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

Blue light: Targets the sebaceous glands, making them less active. In turn, you may see less oily skin and fewer acne breakouts. Besides preventing acne, blue light also treats active acne by destroying acne bacteria beneath the skin.

The two lights are often used together to treat acne, reduce scarring, and promote anti-inflammatory effects.

LED Light Therapy is a generally safe option and has no downtime. It is non-invasive and suitable for darker skin tones or sensitive skin. However, you may want to consider avoiding this option if you have an active rash or currently on Accutane for acne.

Combining the two lasers with LED Light Therapy for best results

These three aforementioned treatments complement one another to give you even better results than if you were to opt for a single treatment only.


Let’s take pigmentation for example.

Laser treatment is generally used to break down pigmentation in the skin into smaller fragments that will be cleared out by the skin’s immune system. Combining lasers of different wavelengths allows us to target the pigmentation at various skin levels. For example:

Pico Laser is most suited to target dermal and epidermal pigmentation
Yellow Laser is particularly useful for reducing underlying redness and inflammation
LED Light Therapy is then applied to speed up the healing process and rejuvenate the skin by triggering collagen production.

While it might seem like a mouthful to undergo three treatments, combining different treatments that each serve different purposes is the most holistic and effective way for long term skin brightening results.

What is the fastest way to brighten skin?

While aesthetic treatments can help achieve brighter skin, lifestyle changes go a long way in complementing results.

I have a separate article on the best anti-ageing tips; here’s a TL;DR:

  1. Protect yourself from UV rays
  2. Invest in an extensive skincare routine
  3. Undergo an anti-ageing screening
  4. Start anti-ageing treatments early
  5. Work with a trusted aesthetic doctor
  6. Equally invest in eye and neck treatments
  7. Choose only medi-facials

Pro tip: You should also pay attention to what you consume.

Opt for high-fibre and high-protein foods rich in antioxidants and essential fatty acids. A daily probiotic supplement is also great for promoting good skin from within.

In addition, stay active. Swap the cigarettes out for a few cardio workouts weekly. Staying active and keeping fit is not only beneficial for your skin – it also helps with maintaining your overall well-being.


When it comes to skin brightening, the delicate combination of Pico Laser, Yellow Laser, and LED Light Therapy can help you achieve an instant and long lasting glow. As opposed to relying on a single treatment that targets a specific layer, these treatments used together not only tackles dull skin at several layers but also smoothens the skin on the outermost layer.

If you have any questions, feel free to drop me a message!

About Dr. Chloe Ho

Dr. Chloe Ho is Asia Wellness’ resident doctor. Her strong background in dermatology has equipped her to treat patients with varying needs. Dr. Ho is trusted among her patients to treat an array of ageing skin concerns, such as fine lines, wrinkles, dark eye circles and acne scars.
Her clinical experience varies locally and internationally, from the Singapore National Skin Centre to Harvard Medical School in Boston.


  1. Yang, C. S., Huang, Y. L., Cheng, C. Y., Hu, S., Chang, S. L., & Lee, M. C. (2020). A Prospective Study of Fractionated Dual-Wavelength Picosecond Laser in Treating Acne Scar. Lasers in surgery and medicine, 52(8), 735–742.
  2. Nordin, F. N. M., Aziz, A., Zakaria, Z., & Wan Mohamed Radzi, C. W. J. (2021). A systematic review on the skin whitening products and their ingredients for safety, health risk, and the halal status. Journal of cosmetic dermatology, 20(4), 1050–1060.
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