Carbon Facial treatment with the QS Nd:YAG laser

The carbon facial treatment was originally developed in South Korea in the early 2000s. It is now becoming more popular across Europe and America, and various other countries. More recently, this process has been applied to the backs of hands, and other areas of the skin, such as the décolletage.

It is claimed that this treatment will help to tighten pores and improve the texture and tone of the skin (whatever that means!!)

This is simply an ‘exfoliation’ process using laser energy to vaporise the carbon ink particles from the skin surface. There is a slight ‘nipping’ sensation, but it is not painful (if it is, you’re doing it wrong!!)

Always use a thin layer of carbon ink on the face otherwise the process will take too long!

It’s a very simple process and doesn’t take too long. Simply apply a thin layer of carbon-based ink to the skin surface. It is very important to allow the ink to dry!! Zapping wet ink with the laser energy will take far too long!

Use the appropriate handpiece tip for this procedure. In many systems, this is a black attachment which screws onto the laser head.

A typical ‘carbon facial’ handpiece tip

This tip usually does not contain a lens as the fluence (energy density) required is very low. Since the ink particles are sitting on the skin surface, there is no requirement for a high fluence.

The glass at the end of this tip is there to prevent carbon smoke particles entering the laser head.

However, this glass can be easily covered in carbon ink particles during this procedure, which will block any further light energy. So, it is a good idea to keep this glass clean. A simple way to do this is to cover the end with some clingfilm (see below).

This also reduces the chances of any cross-contamination – important in these days of Covid!!

(Incidentally, you could use this clingfilm technique when treating tattoos with the other tips too – this will protect the lens inside your handpiece).

Once the ink is dry, set your laser to its lowest possible energy setting. Fire a couple of shots and see if the ink has vaporised. If not, increase the energy by the minimum possible increment.

Once the required energy has been found, set your repetition rate to the highest possible setting. I typically use 10 Hz (shots per second). This will allow you to remove all the ink in around six to eight minutes.

Don’t try to remove every single ink particle – you’ll be there all day!!

Also, depending on the skin of your victim, some ink particles may sink into pores, and may not be zapped off by the laser energy. Don’t worry about these – they will fall out/be washed off in a day or two!

Once most of the ink has been removed, it is a good idea to repeat the process, without the ink. In other words, fire the laser energy over the skin again.

This time, the 1064nm energy will penetrate deep into the dermis and stimulate the fibroblasts. This should help to generate new collagen at some point in the future (it could take up to three months!)

After all this has been completed, the skin can be cleansed as normal.

I usually recommend a ‘follow-up’ treatment, to enhance the whole process. This might be an LED session, or micro-needling, or whatever suits your client’s skin.

This procedure is a very gentle application of laser energy to the skin which should never result in any appreciable tissue damage. Using a very low fluence will ensure this.

For this reason, the carbon facial treatment can be repeated often, with virtually no risk of skin damage. I’d be happy to do this treatment on a weekly basis, if a client (or my lovely wife – above – requested it).

Hope this helps,


2 thoughts on “Carbon Facial treatment with the QS Nd:YAG laser

  1. Hi Mike- thank you for your updates and educated facts.

    Regarding the carbon-facial, I own a Fotona q-X max with the option of very low settings however it doesn’t have a black lens for this / ???
    Is my normal hand piece RX okay
    to use as long as I protect it with plastic cling film?
    Also, where do I find carbon ink!!?
    Thank you kindly.

    Sydney Australia

    1. Hi Kelly,

      Thanks for replying.

      I would set your laser to the lowest possible fluence, using the 1064nm tip/handpiece. If the ink vaporises with a single shot then you have sufficient energy. If not, turn the fluence up a little until you see the ink disappear in a puff of smoke.

      You can buy the ink off Amazon these days. It mostly comes from China!

      Hope this helps,

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