• Spots, Scars, and Stretch Marks: Lasers Can Treat Them All

    on Aug 5th, 2019

No matter how carefully we care for our skin, it’s pretty much impossible to keep it smooth, clear, and flawless for our entire lives. Eventually, spots, scars, and stretch marks can make our skin look tired and worn out; worse, depending on where they’re located, they can make us feel self-conscious and less attractive than we’d like. Not too long ago, the best we could do was to hide those imperfections with makeup or, in some cases, undergo invasive chemical peels or other medical procedures that have a long period of recovery. Today, though, lasers can offer a better option for lots of people.

Dr. Allen A. Flood offers the most advanced laser treatments for scars, spots, and stretch marks with laser systems that can be configured and adjusted to suit each patient’s unique needs and goals. To understand how lasers work to treat all these issues, it helps to know what’s causing the problems to begin with.

Age spots and sunspots

Age spots and sunspots are both caused by hyperpigmentation, a process where small areas of your skin develop more pigment, or color, compared to the surrounding skin. (Hyper means "extra" and pigmentation means "color.") Normally, your skin’s pigment (called melanin) is spread more or less evenly throughout your skin, providing some level of protection against the sun’s damaging UV rays. But sometimes, issues like sun exposure or age-related changes in your skin cause the tiny pigment fragments to clump together, or they may cause overproduction of melanin in a small area. While these sorts of spots aren’t dangerous, when they’re large or located in very visible areas, they can make us feel more self-conscious about the way they look.

Scars

Scars may seem like a bad thing, but they’re actually part of your body’s natural healing process. When your skin is injured or damaged, your body forms an extra-thick layer of collagen to repair the area and protect it from future damage. Normally, collagen (and its “cousin,” elastin) helps skin stay resilient and firm. But in healing, collagen fibers can be more aggressive in the way they form, creating “patches” of skin that look and feel different from the surrounding area. Depending on how your collagen responds, your scar may be raised or depressed, darker, lighter, or even shinier than the surrounding skin, or it may feel unusually smooth or rough. Any scar can be upsetting, but acne scars can be especially troublesome since they tend to appear on your face, making them a lot more noticeable.

Stretch marks

Skin is naturally elastic — stretch your skin temporarily, and it can “snap back” to its original contours pretty quickly. But when your skin is stretched beyond its normal shape for a long period, like during pregnancy or when you gain a lot of weight, your skin loses some of its ability to reform to its usual contours. When that happens, your skin can form stretch marks, shiny or dark-colored “lines” that tend to feel ridged or raised when you run your finger over them. Rapid growth spurts and hormonal changes during the teen years can also make you more prone to stretch marks, and so can taking certain medicines like corticosteroids. As we get older and our skin produces less collagen and elastin, we might notice stretch marks becoming more prominent.

How laser treatments work

All these cosmetic “flaws” may have different underlying causes, but lasers treat all three in a similar way. During your treatment, laser energy penetrates your skin to the precise depth of the damage. As the energy is absorbed, it works to break down unusual tissue like pigments or scar tissue. Then it stimulates your body’s natural healing responses in a very controlled way, enabling your skin to heal itself normally. Unlike healing after a traumatic injury, where scarring can occur, the controlled injury from laser energy is precisely regulated, so your result is smooth and healthy-looking. Finally, the warmth of the laser energy helps promote circulation while gently firming your skin, so it looks and feels more resilient and healthier. All treatments can be performed right in our office using a topical numbing agent so you stay comfortable.

Lasers represent one of the most advanced types of cosmetic treatments, and Dr. Flood is skilled in using lasers to help patients get great results. If you've got age spots, sun spots, scars, stretch marks, or other cosmetic flaws you'd like to get rid of, we can help. To learn more about laser treatments or to schedule an evaluation and consultation, book an appointment online today.

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Location
Allen A. Flood, MD Dermatology
650 Pennsylvania Ave. SE, Suite 420
Capitol Hill

Washington, DC 20003
Phone: 202-719-0855
Fax: (202) 547-9092
Office Hours

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202-719-0855