Conventions Conventions Conventions

These last few weeks have been hectic with all our traveling. This past month the crew of Fade Fast attended the Masters of Tattooing, Philadelphia Tattoo Arts and Association of Professional Piercers annual conventions. We were out there speaking to the tattooed community about the science and art of laser removal, pigment reduction and tattoo editing. Until recently tattoo removal was thought to be the last option for poor quality and/or unwanted tattoos. Now, people are starting to accept and embrace the use of lasers to lighten existing artwork. In fact, the technology has improved so much that tattoos can now be easily covered in as few as one to four sessions. It’s truly amazing the options and flexibility laser treatments can give people when they choose to fix, rework or tattoo over an existing piece.


With over 16 years experience in the body modification industry, Fade Fast is one of the few tattoo removal clinics that has earned the trust and respect of the tattoo community.

Tattoo removal is more than just science. At Fade Fast, better artwork is our passion.

Latest Test – Candela’s Serenity PRO

Some you win and some you lose, and this was definitely true for today. I’m not talking about paying taxes, but I’m sure many of you are thinking that, being that it’s April 15th. No I’m talking about today’s test of a pneumatic skin-flattening (PSF) device, the Candela Serenity PRO.

First let me say, it really is an ingenious device. It’s basically a vacuum system that pulls the skin up into a clear, disposable plastic lens. The idea is that when the skin is compressed, pain signals are blocked. In clinical tests, it appears to work amazingly well. However, these tests have focused mainly on laser hair removal. From my understanding, we were the first studio in the United States to test the unit’s effectiveness on pain reduction in conjunction with laser tattoo removal, at least the first to use the disposable hand piece.

Sadly, the results weren’t anything close to what we hoped. The unit was tested on three people. (Two clients and I also volunteered my arm and hip) Pain reduction seemed to be almost nonexistent when using the device in conjunction with our Palomar QYAG5. In fact, at times the pain seemed more intense. Here are the basic results:

Person 1: (same energy output for each test)

  • Inside of forearm arm treated directly with laser to determine baseline of pain.
  • Area treated with PSF – Similar pain.
  • Hip treated directly with laser to determine baseline of pain.
  • Area treated with PSF – Similar pain.

Person 2: (same energy output for each test)

  • Buttocks treated directly with laser to determine baseline of pain
  • Area treated with PSF – Similar pain, possibly slight reduction
  • Area iced for five minutes and treated – Dramatic reduction of pain
  • Iced area treated with PSF – Increased pain

Person 3: (same energy output for each test)

  • Back treated directly with laser to determine baseline of pain
  • Area treated with PSF – Increase of pain
  • Area iced for five minutes and treated – Medium reduction of pain
  • Iced area treated with PSF – Dramatic increase of pain

So what does all this mean? The device has proven to work with laser hair removal, but it appears to have a different reaction to laser tattoo removal. After some discussion with the representative, we may have come to a fairly reasonable, yet hypothetical conclusion.

As the device sucks the skin into the lens, the epidermis and upper levels of the dermis are compressed making the tattoo ink a much clearer target. Logically, this means the ink might absorb the energy that could be reflected and/or absorbed by the skin during a normal treatment. If this is the case, then testing the area with an identical laser energy output may not have been a true comparison. In fact, the tattoo treated with the PSF may have been absorbing a dramatically larger amount of energy.

In conclusion, although presently the Candela Serenity PRO-PSF might not be a good companion machine for tattoo removal, I am grateful that the company allowed us to be one of the first laser removal studios to test the device. Plus, if the unit becomes available again for different energy comparisons, we might be giving it another try down the line.

New Photos – 3 Treatments

Still waiting to post the Masters of Tattooing convention blog. I just need a few photos to complete the entry. Until then, here are some recent treatment result photos:

Click for larger image

In other news, Fade Fast may soon be offering laser removal treatments in Austin, Houston and other Texas cities. More info soon to come.

Second Laser Review/Comparison

This week I tested my Palomar QYAG5 against the Hoya Conbio Revlite laser. I planned to demo the Medlite C6, which is almost the same unit, but the Revlite is Conbio’s top of the line machine and of course they want to show the more expensive unit. The touch screen that the Revlite offers over the Medlite C6 is very cool, but when it comes right down to it, the Medlite C6 is really just as good for tattoo removal.

Before I get into the full results, I was honestly shocked how similar the systems really are. I was actually able to produce almost identical results with just one exception that I will address here in a minute.

Here are the results:

    Power – The Revlite is a 220V machine, where mine is a 110V. As with the last laser I demoed this machine produces a lot of heat. Also, the Revlite took a while to warm up, whereas the Palomar starts immediately.

    Energy – The Revlite does seem to be able to produce more energy, although, the Palomar appears to be able to match it within certain parameters. Looking at the display, the Revlite can produce more power in a larger spot size, but it was more energy than needed to treat the two test clients.

    Wavelength – The Revlite has two dye polymer hand pieces that allow the machine to produce 585 and 650 wavelengths that the Palomar cannot. The Palomar has a wave-blending feature that the Revlite does not. Testing light blues the machines have similar results. However, the Revlite does seem to react slightly better to greens.

    Spot Size – In 1064 and 532 modes the Revlite does have a 8mm spot size, where the Palomar only has 6mm. When it comes to doing very big black or red pieces, the Revlite can do them a bit faster. However, in 585 and 650 mode the Revlite spot size drops down to 2mm to 3mm making progress super slow going.

    Speed – First, as mentioned above, the Revlite needs to warm up, where the Palomar is ready to operate when it’s turned on. Simple, but clients don’t like to wait. As for the operation, in 1064 and 532 modes, both machines operate at the same speed, 10HZ, they fire 10 shots a second. When the Revlite is in 585 and 650 mode it drops down to 1 or 2 HZ making treatment of large blue/green tattoos incredibly time consuming.

    Ergonomic – The Revlite articulated arm is slightly more comfortable to use than the larger Palomar lasing unit. The Revlite might be easier to use for some people, but the Palomar also comes with an arm to hold the large hand piece. My thoughts are that the Revlite is more ergonomic, but only slightly.

    Function – Side by side these machines are so similar. The only complaints I got from the clients were that the Revlite is just too slow in blue and green modes. When the Palomar operates in the wave blending mode to treat these colors it is so much faster.

    Results – I worked on two clients and the results are yet to be seen, give me a week or two. I can tell you from first glance, the results seem almost identical.

    Pain – Because the machines operate in the same way, pain seems similar as well. Both clients gave almost identical reviews about the sensation.

    Hair Removal – Another reason I wanted to review this machine is its hair removal feature. Not that I plan to delve into this business, but if the machine has the option I might offer it as well. As it turns out, this laser really isn’t designed to do hair removal. During the machine’s initial testing, they found less hair growth in areas that were treated for tattoo removal. So, does the machine do hair removal? Well a bit, but then again, the Palomar does the exact same thing.

In final review, the machines look and operate very differently, but the core physics are extremely similar. Prior to testing the machine I was convinced the Hoya Conbio Revlite and Medlite C6 would have so much more to offer than the Palomar QYAG5. The final test will be in the results, but for now, I see such little difference that I doubt I will be in any hurry to change lasers.

Coming soon, a review of a new pain reduction device.