Korea offers a million different options for beauty treatments. When you’re trying to figure out what to try, it can be a little overwhelming. I’ve tried a handful of skin treatments, and one of my favourites so far has been Pico Toning. Though the name is probably unfamiliar, it’s basically a form of laser.
What is pico toning?
Pico toning is a more advanced technology than traditional laser. the laser beams last for only a picosecond (a very, very short time) and don’t have as many side effects as traditional laser. Regular laser generally leads to redness, sensitivity, and peeling for a week or so. In contrast, pico toning is usually followed only by a little bit of redness. This usually goes away in a couple of minutes, and you can continue with your regular skincare routine right after.
Effects of pico toning
Pico toning targets discolouration and the texture of your skin. It can improve discolouration, reduce the size of pores and acne scars, and generally give your skin a nice glow. The great thing about pico toning is that it doesn’t hurt a whole lot. You’ll probably feel a bit of discomfort, depending on your pain tolerance, but nothing unbearable. if you can handle laser hair removal or waxing, this is going to be nothing.
Depending on the condition of your skin, clinics will recommend a different number of sessions. Personally, I decided to get the treatment to make my skin look more glowy and healthier overall, so I went for five sessions. If you have deeper acne scarring or discolouration, you may want to book around ten sessions to get desired results. It’s a very quick process: you lie down, cover your eyes, and the doctor will go over the skin on your face a couple of times in short pulses. The process is over in under 10 minutes, after which you’re ready to head home.
Clinics mostly recommend a moisturising treatment or mask right after to calm down your skin, so I booked a package with a cooling modelling mask after the treatment, and had zero irritation after my five sessions. The staff will usually ask you if you want them to put some skincare or suncream on before you go. I took a break from the more heavy-hitting skincare ingredients like retinol during the five weeks, but continued the rest of my skincare routine as usual.
As pico toning is a popular treatment, it’s easy to find at skincare clinics around Korea. Personally, I went to a popular skincare clinic called Shinebeam, located near Hongdae station, in Seoul. The clinic is very clean, staff are friendly and efficient, and it tends to not be too busy in the evenings. four times out of five I didn’t have to wait at all. I liked how the staff remembered my name after the second week. by the third treatment I didn’t even need to tell them who I was. During one visit to the clinic you’ll generally interact with a bunch of different people: the reception staff, the consultation staff, the guidance staff, and the doctor. Two different doctors did my treatments at separate sessions, and both were very friendly and gentle.
The treatment can be a little bit pricier than other forms of laser. However, clinics will often run sales, and package deals will help save you some money. Before starting, you have to wash your face and take off your makeup or sunscreen. the clinic I went to has a little area where you can wash your face, and they provide a full range of products, including oil cleanser, foam cleanser, makeup remover wipes, cotton pads, hair ties, and more. The products they provide are very gentle and didn’t irritate my sensitive skin.
My aim in getting pico toning was to improve the overall look and feel of my skin. I didn’t have any major discolouration issues or many problems with texture. However, I was hoping to get my skin to look healthier and glowier. The treatment had the intended effect for me, but the results were not as dramatic as some of the before & afters you see online. I think the results are more dramatic if you have particular hyperpigmentation, enlarged pores, or acne scarring.
The treatment needs to be done once a week. I probably wouldn’t recommend this if you don’t have the time to go to a clinic weekly. I think that regular lasers are probably more suited to people with very deep acne scarring. Traditional lasers might be more impactful on that front. Overall, I think pico toning is a really nice way to give your skin an extra little boost. Especially if you want an all-round, healthy glow.