Smooth, flawless skin rarely comes naturally. For most of us, stretch marks, and spots are a common consequence of daily living and the injuries and exposures that go along with it. Fortunately, we don’t have to live with those flaws if we don’t want to. Laser treatments provide a simple, safe, effective remedy that can dramatically reduce the appearance of these common defects so our skin looks and feels smoother, younger, and rejuvenated. To understand how laser treatments work to reduce the appearance of all these issues, you need to know what causes them in the first place.
Age spots, liver spots, sun spots – no matter what you call them, they’re all caused by an overproduction of melanin, the pigment that gives your skin color. Normally, even levels of melanin are spread throughout the skin to protect it from some of the damaging effects of the sun’s UV rays. But as years of sun exposure combined with age-related changes in your skin, it causes those tiny melanin pigments to “clump” together. It’s these clumps of pigment that form the age spots and some other types of hyperpigmentation we see on the skin’s surface.
Scars from as part of your body’s healing process. When you have a cut or other skin injuries, your skin sends signals to special “messenger” cells, which in turn trigger your body to initiate a specific sequence of healing responses. One of the main responses is increased production of collagen, a dense fiber that helps “seal off” injuries to prevent dangerous germs from entering the body. Normally, collagen networks help skin stay resilient and firm. When you press your skin, it’s collagen that helps it “bounce back.” In healing, excess collagen fibers form at the site of injury, forming unusually dense networks or scars. A scar typically is much tougher than surrounding tissue; it’s your body’s way of repairing an area that’s been weakened by trauma. As a result of their tougher structure, scars tend to look and feel different from surrounding tissue, looking lighter or darker and sometimes looking raised or depressed.
Stretch marks form when your skin is stretched beyond its elastic capacity. That is, while your skin is able to “snap back” after some types of stretching when the skin is stretched for a prolonged period of time, it can lose some of that natural ability to re-conform. That’s when stretch marks form. Stretch marks are more common during and after pregnancy, during adolescence (specifically, during “growth spurts”), and after gaining or losing a significant amount of weight. Certain types of medication, including corticosteroids, can cause the skin to lose its elasticity, so stretch marks are more likely to form. In addition to their different color, stretch marks also tend to feel slightly ridged compared to the surrounding skin.
Laser treatment: How it works
Even though each of these issues has a different underlying cause, laser correction works in a similar way in all three: As the laser energy penetrates your skin, it first acts to break apart unhealthy or “unusual” tissue, like scar tissue or clumped pigments, turning the material into tiny fragments that can easily be carted off and eliminated by your body. Then, the deep, focused heat of the laser creates a sort of “controlled injury” that stimulates your skin’s natural healing processes. Because the laser creates a very specific type of injury, it can be adjusted to modulate the healing response. That means that instead of laying down a layer of tough, fibrous collagen this time around, your skin renews itself by replacing damaged tissue with healthy, new skin cells. And finally, the laser’s heat helps gently firm your skin so the treatment area looks firmer and more resilient.
Laser treatment is performed right in the office without any need for needles or anesthesia; a topical numbing cream can be applied to prevent discomfort in large treatment areas, and a cooling feature helps your skin comfortable. Afterward, there’s no downtime; you’ll just need to wear sunscreen and avoid direct sun exposure while the area heals.
Rejuvenate your skin with lasers
Lasers don’t just treat these common flaws. They’re also really effective for fine lines and wrinkles, loose skin, and scars, including acne scars. To learn more about the laser treatments we offer at Lasting Impressions and how they can help restore and rejuvenate your skin, book an appointment online today. bergencountymedicalspa.com