IPL for Hyperpigmentation

Hyperpigmentation is very common and general harmless to your health. But it is not aesthetically pleasing.

What is hyperpigmentation?

You skin gets its color from melanin- a brown pigment produced by the skin. Melanin is protective against UV radiation damage and so is often referred to as your skin’s natural sunscreen. Melanin absorbs light and protects the skin’s DNA from the sun’s ultraviolet radiation.

Skin comes in many shades. The darker the skin, the more melanin.  The amount of melanin depends on your genetics.  Excess of melanin forms deposits in the skin. Hyperpigmentation is the condition where patches of skin become darker than the surrounding skin. It can affect people of any skin color.

Types of hyperpigmentation

  • Liver or Age spots (lentigines) are common in people over the age of 60 and are due to sun damage. They are usually found on the hands and face and other areas frequently exposed to the sun.
  • When hormone changes trigger overproduction of melanin resulting in large areas of darkened skin. In pregnancy hyperpigmentation on the face is called the Mask of Pregnancy. Dark areas may also appear on the abdomen. Women who take birth control pills can also develop melasma. It can also occur due to a thyroid disorder.
  • Acne can cause changes in skin color, after the acne clears.
  • Rosacea is a facial redness, flushing and visible blood vessels. It is a chronic condition that usually begins around age 30 and it flares up and remits. It is usually found on the cheeks, nose, chin and forehead. It develops in to a ruddy complexion with visible blood vessels. It is trigger by the sun, stress, hot weather, alcohol and more.  The causes is not known.
  • Freckles are small brown spots that can appear anywhere on the body and are inherited. But when you tan it will darken your freckles.
  • Post inflammatory hyperpigmentation is excess pigment caused by a skin condition like an infection, allergic reaction, injuries and trauma. It is more common in people of color and is the most common reason people of color see a dermatologist.


Topical medications that contain alpha hydroxyl acids and retinoids may rejuvenate the skin and treat hyperpigmentation. Hydroquinone is a prescription medication for skin lightening. When topical therapies don’t work, it may be time to consider IPL- Intense Pulsed Laser therapy.

Intense Pulsed Laser (IPL) Treatment

IPL treatment is often referred to as photo-rejuvenation or a photofacial, and may help to reduce sun damage, irregular pigmentation on the face, neck and chest. It works by penetrating the skin to heat the hyperpigmented areas which absorb the light, and may help to break up the excess pigment that sloughs off a few days after treatment. It may also help to improve fine wrinkles, large pores, rosacea and dilated capillaries (red spots). But IPL is not a laser resurfacing which is much more intense. *individual results may vary.

The Procedure

The IPL device produces powerful, quick flashes of light that are absorbed by the pigmented lesions and broken blood vessels to decrease their appearance. A topical anesthetic will be applied to the areas to be treated 30 minutes before the procedure.

The area is cleaned and a cool gel is applied. You will receive dark glasses to protect your eyes. Then the pulses of light are applied your skin. You will feel a stinging or snapping sensation. Treatment time depends on the areas to be treated. Afterwards, your face will be red and dark spots may look darker. There may also be some minor bruising. Dark spots will form in to scabs that will peel off in a few days.

It usually requires a series of treatments to help address the hyperpigmentation.

When you visit Cary Med Spa and Wellness in Cary, North Carolina, you will have a consultation with one of our doctors to diagnose your condition. Then we will map out a treatment plan individualized for your needs. We care about you and how you look and feel. Rest assured you will feel comfortable in our state-of-the-art Med spa!

To schedule a consultation call (919) 473-6002 or
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