You must have noticed small brown spots all of a sudden appearing over your face. No matter what products you try, these spots don’t go away. Now what are these brown spots? Freckles!
This article explains what freckles are, why you have them, and whether or not there are any solutions to removing or getting rid of them.
What are freckles?
Freckles are small brown spots of melanin, which are present on the skin or the outer membrane of individuals who have light skin or fair skin tone. They might vary in color from red or yellow to a light brown color in individuals whose skin color is a little darker. They might also vary in size and frequency, depending on the individual.
Freckles have a genetic predisposition. And it is due to the presence of melanocortin- 1 receptor MC1R, which is a gene variant and is a dominant trait. Certain individuals will also notice appearance of freckles can occur due to exposure to the sun or tanning. When too much sunlight penetrates the skin, it will trigger and activate melanocytes, causing them to become darker and more visible.
Freckles are predominantly something that is present over the face but may also appear on other areas of the body where there is high sun exposure. If exposure is common, they can reappear on the skin, even after surgery or creams to treat them.
Those predisposed to having freckles will also be more prone to sunburns or possibly getting skin cancer. Therefore, they must monitor and use sunscreen when going out or tanning. It is also common that children may develop them if they do not produce a high enough amount of melanin to protect their skin. But as they age (during puberty), they will tend to lessen or diminish.
Types of Freckles
Two types are most common, ephelides and lentigines.
With ephelides, you will notice the flat spots which are red or lighter in brown color and tend to appear during the summer months. These ephelides and fade to a lighter color during the winter. These are typically present in people with fair skin tone, and using sunscreens can help lighten their appearance.
Lentigines also known as “solar lentigines” tend to be darker in color and do not fade during the winter months. In many cases, these are part of a rare genetic condition. When solar lentigines appear in adults, they are referred to as liver spot or age spot.
Are Freckles Good Or Bad?
Benefits of having freckles:
Freckles are good because they provide protection against the sun’s harmful rays. They also make your skin look healthy and youthful. However, if you are someone who has a lot of freckles, then it can be concerning because they can block the pores and cause acne breakouts. This is especially true if you have dark circles under your eyes. The reason for this is that freckles are often associated with hyperpigmentation, which means that they will leave behind a dark spot on your skin.
Downside of having Freckles:
Freckles are bad because they are an indication of sun damage. If you have freckles, you should always wear sunscreen and avoid spending time outside without it. If you want to get rid of them, you need to take care of them properly so that you don’t end up damaging your skin further.
Are moles similar to freckles?
Yes, moles are similar to freckles. Both of them are caused by melanocytes, which are cells that contain pigment. Moles are usually larger than freckles and are generally located on parts of the body that are exposed to the sun. Most moles are harmless, but some of them can turn into skin cancers. There are different types of moles, such as congenital, nevus, and melanoma.
In most cases, people do not want to develop them, and if they do have the condition, they are looking for options to lessen or diminish the appearance of the freckles. But, knowing that, for the most part, they are harmless is something that you should be aware of.
For individuals who have a hereditary tendency to freckle, wearing sunscreen will help in lessening the appearance and will help ensure that they are not as visible. Especially if you have too much exposure to sunlight several hours per day, using good quality sunscreen will suppress the production of freckles or sun spots and help in the prevention of skin cancer.
For those who have freckled skin, you have to make sure that you properly take care of the skin and use the right products to ensure no direct sunlight overexposure takes place. And to ensure you are as safe as possible because you are more prone to skin cancer or other conditions.
Many safe and effective methods are currently available for those who want to treat them. Some of the most commonly chosen treatment for freckles include:
Many over the counter products can help fade freckles. Topical creams that contain kojic acid, azelaic acid, salicylic acid will help lighten their appearance if applied consistently over months. Topical retinoid creams will help in making their appearance lighter in color throughout extended use.
Cryosurgery uses liquid nitrogen to light freeze them to treat and lighten the appearance. This procedure is beneficial of freckles.
Laser treatments is one of the best freckle removal treatments. Lasers, for example, green light can help eliminate their appearance, especially if the patient chooses to have a series of laser treatments performed, it will not only lighten, but in some cases can eliminate them from the body’s surface.
Chemical peels can also help eliminate or lighten their appearance because the peel is going to eliminate or remove the outer layer of skin. The intensity of peel will depend upon the type of freckle and how how dark the freckles are. You might be recommended moderate or deep chemical peel.
Although there is no set solution for their appearance, over time, a person may be going to notice the freckles do get lighter in appearance.
Especially if they continue with the treatment options, or in some cases (especially with the use of laser treatments to care for them), they may be going to be eliminated. Rather than just lightened in color, especially if the individual has extremely light-colored freckles, to begin with.
Nevertheless, freckles may often fade or dissapear during winter months since new skin cells replace the old cells.
Regardless of which treatment options you choose, or if you like your freckles and do not want to treat them, making sure you still consider all available options.
So, if you are light-colored skin and if you need to wear sunscreen during the day to prevent the possible risk of cancer or other skin conditions, as an individual who does have freckles, you have to make sure you do this regularly. Or, if you want to have the freckles removed (or lightened to where they are barely visible), you may want to speak to your doctor to find out the best option to take care of them.