Hyperigmentation Treatments

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Reduce Hyperpigmentation with IPL and PicoSure Treatment Options

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At VIVAA in Issaquah and Bellevue, our highly trained and experienced staff have the knowledge and resources 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 treatment for darker skin types.

Many of our patients have tried other treatments, such as skin bleaching, various skin care products, green tea extracts, natural remedies recommended in beauty magazines and other topical treatments as part of their skin care routine with little to no luck. State-of-the-art laser therapy has few adverse effects, making it ideal for patients with sensitive skin and other problems.

What is Hyperpigmentation?

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

Hyperpigmentation most commonly takes the form of age spots, sun spots, freckles, liver spots and such, all characterized by darker patches 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 damage from sun exposure. Our staff treats each type slightly differently to achieve the desired results.


woman with hyper-pigmentation


Acne, eczema, allergic reactions or any trauma to the skin can cause the release of inflammatory cells, causing melanocytes to produce excessive skin pigmentation. The most common cause is acne, but psoriasis, burns, or injuries can often cause darkened skin, creating 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 deeper and more treatment-resistant skin pigmentation. Ultraviolet light exposure and medications such as tetracycline antibiotics, antimalarial drugs and chemotherapy agents can worsen the condition. Post-inflammatory 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 this skin condition.

This skin condition appears as symmetrical tan, brown, grayish brown or bluish-gray patches and freckles that generally appear on the cheeks, forehead, bridge of the nose, chin and sometimes on the upper lip. Sometimes, it can develop on the arms, neck or elsewhere on the body.

What causes melasma is unclear, although the most common triggers include sun exposure without using a broad-spectrum sunscreen and a change in hormones. Melasma is also called “the pregnancy mask,” as it often appears when women are pregnant. Certain medications like birth control pills and hormone replacement therapies can also trigger it. Melasma worsens with heat and exposure to UV rays, so most people notice it worsening in the summertime.

PicoSure laser therapy targets areas below the kin in increments of one-trillionth of a second to help fade dark spots. The energy converts into pressure rather than heat to penetrate the pigment, which the body eventually flushes out. It safely transfers energy to treat melasma at its source.

As of right now, there is no permanent treatment for melasma. However, under our talented staff's direct care and guidance, most clients see a significant reduction in the uneven skin tone caused by melasma. By following the advice of our VIVAA staff, avoiding skin irritations, wearing protection of SPF 40+ on sun-exposed areas 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 sun spots and dark spots is excessive sun exposure. Years without sunscreen can result in localized hyperpigmentation, marked by areas of darker skin that result in patchy skin color or a blotchy complexion. Effective treatment of sun damage depends primarily on a person’s skin tone and history of long-term or intense sun exposure.

Effective hyperpigmentation treatment involves intense pulsed light therapy, used alone or with topical creams to improve skin appearance. The PicoSure laser is also effective and safe for those with dark skin tones who have hyperpigmentation. Daily protection with a sunscreen that provides broad-spectrum UV exposure protection with a factor of SPF 40 or greater is essential to prevent further damage and dark spots.


IPL laser treatments work by transmitting heat from the IPL light to the skin's brown spots. These areas absorb the energy, turning the brown spots into a coffee ground-like texture. The discolorations rise to the skin's surface and eventually slough off over several days following this cosmetic treatment, allowing the skin's natural healing process to occur. The result is a more even skin tone, better texture and renewed radiance.

Sun damage and pigmentation occur throughout the skin at various depths, so a series of either IPL or PicoSure treatments are required to achieve optimal results. As we age, our skin becomes thinner, and sun damage will continue to rise to the skin's surface, making maintenance treatments necessary to keep such 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 minimize any discomfort. Afterward, you may experience a mild sunburn sensation with either treatment 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 within five to ten days. You may also experience generalized mild redness and warmth in the area treated, subsiding one to three days after treatment. To avoid complications, do not receive an IPL/PicoSure treatment before or immediately after exposure to direct sunlight, have a tan or applied chemical tanner, or if you have used tretinoin or retinol products a few days before treatment.

Is there any downtime?

Minimal to no downtime accompanies these professional treatments. You may experience mild redness after treatment, but this subsides within 24 to 48 hours. Use tinted sunscreen to cover the redness.

How many treatments will I need?

The number of cosmetic treatments varies from person to person and depends on the individual’s goals. Most people require three to five treatments spaced four weeks apart for optimal results.

IPL and PicoSure treatments are the most advantageous for targeting a variety of skin imperfections, including acne scars especially pigmentation issues. 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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