HyperPigmentation Treatments

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Reduce Hyperpigmentation with IPL & PICO Treatments

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At the VIVAA in Issaquah and Bellevue, our highly trained and experienced staff have the knowledge and resources necessary to provide quality hyperpigmentation treatment for your aesthetic needs. Our team uses a state-of-the-art medical technology called IPL (intense pulsed laser) photo facials to help successfully treat and rid patients of this condition's effects as well as the PicoSure laser for darker skin types.

What is Hyperpigmentation?

This common, usually harmless, skin condition results from the human body’s overproduction of cells called melanin. Although melanin production is integral to the body’s normal daily process, sometimes too much melanin is produced for various reasons. When this happens, hyperpigmentation can occur.

Hyperpigmentation most commonly takes the form of age spots, freckles, liver spots and such, all of which are characterized by darker areas where the excess melanin has formed. All areas of the body can show signs of hyperpigmentation. The three main types of hyperpigmentation are post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH), melasma and sun damage. Our staff treats each type in a slightly different manner to achieve the results you desire.


woman with hyper-pigmentation


Acne, eczema, allergic reactions or any trauma to the skin can cause the release of inflammatory cells that cause melanocytes to produce more pigment in the skin. The most common cause is acne, but psoriasis, burns, or injuries can often cause the skin to darken, producing superficial brown spots. Severe inflammation or trauma can disrupt the bottom layer of the epidermis  causing the pigment to become entrapped in the dermis, the second layer of the skin. This results in a deeper and more treatment-resistant pigmentation. Ultraviolet light exposure and medications such as tetracycline antibiotics, antimalarial drugs and chemotherapy agents can worsen the condition. Hyperpigmentation can be challenging to treat, depending on its cause.


Melasma affects women’s skin in about 90% of cases. Those who naturally have more melanin in their skin, such as Hispanic, North African, African-American, Asian, Indian, Middle Eastern or Mediterranean descent, are more inclined to get melasma.

What causes melasma is unclear, although most common triggers include unprotected sun exposure and change in hormones. Melasma is also called “the pregnancy mask” as it often appears when women are pregnant. Birth control pills and hormone replacement therapies can also trigger it. Melasma worsens with heat and UV exposure, which is why most people notice their melasma darkening in the summertime. Melasma generally appears as symmetric blotchy hyperpigmented patches on the cheeks, forehead, bridge of the nose, chin, and upper lip.

As of right now there is no permanent treatment for melasma . However, under the direct care and guidance of our talented staff, most clients see significant reduction in their melasma. By following the advice of our VIVAA staff, avoiding skin irritations and wearing sunscreen SPF 40+ and completing a series of PicoSure treatments, you will see a reduction in your melasma.


Although the sun provides us with Vitamin D, the leading cause of dark spots is sun damage. Years of unprotected sun exposure can result in spotted hyperpigmentation, marked by increased pigmentation that results in patchy skin color or a blotchy complexion. Effective treatment of sun damage depends primarily on a person’s skin color and history of long-term or intense sun exposure.

Intense pulsed light therapy may be used alone or in conjunction with topical treatment to improve skin appearance. The PicoSure laser is also effective and safe for darker skin types who have hyperpigmentation. Daily protection with a sunscreen that provides broad-spectrum protection from UVA and UVB rays with a sun protection factor of SPF 40 or greater is essential to prevent further sun damage and dark spots.


IPL treatments target excess brown pigment in the skin, and these brown pigmented spots selectively absorb the energy from the heat and then darken, rise to the skin's surface, and turn to a coffee ground texture. These sun damaged spots that now become coffee grounds will slough off over the next few days after treatment, revealing a more even skin tone and glow.

Sun damage and pigmentation occur throughout various depths of the skin, so a series of treatments of either IPL or the PicoSure are required to achieve optimal results.

As we continue to age, our skin gets thinner and the sun damage will continue to rise to the surface of our skin, so maintenance treatments are required to keep sun-damage and hyperpigmentation at bay.

IPL/PICO Treatment FAQs

What do these treatments feel like?

You may feel a mild stinging sensation with the IPL and rubber band snaps with the PicoSure laser. For the Pico laser we provide the client with cold air to aid in any discomfort. Afterwards, you may experience a mild sunburn sensation with either of these treatments that disappears within 24 to 48 hours.

What are the common side effects?

The most common side effect of IPL and PicoSure treatments is the temporary darkening of the more superficial brown spots in the treatment area. With IPL this darkening will slough off between five to ten days. You may also experience generalized mild redness and warmth in the area treated, and this will subside one to three days after treatment . To avoid complications, do not receive an IPL/PicoSure treatment before or immediately after exposure to direct sunlight, if you are tan, if you applied fake tanner, and if you used tretinoin or retinol products a few days before treatment.

Is there any downtime?

There is minimal to no downtime with these treatments, you may experience mild redness after treatment, but this subsides within 24 to 48 hours and a great tinted sunscreen can be used to cover the redness.

How many treatments will I need?

The number of treatments varies from person to person and depends on the individual’s goal, but most people need three to five treatments for optimal results that are completed four weeks apart.

IPL and PicoSure treatments are the most advantageous for targeting a variety of skin imperfections, but especially hyperpigmentation. Contact the professionals at VIVAA for your complimentary consultation. We serve the communities of Bellevue, Issaquah, Kirkland, Newcastle, North Bend, Seattle, Snoqualmie and Sammamish, WA.

Patient Review
"Very knowledgeable and professional staff. Procedure was exactly as described. Highly recommend."

For more information about hyperpigmentation or to make an appointment, call Vein Vascular, Primary care & Aesthetic Associates today at 425-250-9999. For your convenience, you can use our online Schedule a Consultation form.


Dr. Sidhu
Dr. Ramandeep Sidhu

Author - Dr. Ramandeep Sidhu

SPECIALTIES: Percutaneous aneurysm repair, endovascular treatment of peripheral arterial disease, treatment for varicose veins, open vascular surgical procedures, deep vein thrombosis/pulmonary embolism treatment and aesthetic services.


We Use Nitrox for Pain Relief

Nitronox_Detail_Breathing_at VIVAA

Nitronox is a proven safe and effective treatment for managing any pain and anxiety you might feel during treatments. The Nitronox system delivers a mix of nitrous oxide (laughing gas) and oxygen directly to you on an as-needed basis to provide comfort. This treatment enhancement is ideal for short, minimally-invasive treatments such as tattoo removal when pain is a concern.

You won't need this extra comfort for most of the services at VIVAA, but we want you to have it available for you should it be helpful.

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