Freckles: Causes, Remedies and More (Ultimate Guide)
Did you know that most of the freckles are produced due to UV rays from sun and they fade away in the winters?
Quite interesting right?
Keep reading to learn some more interesting facts about freckles in this article.
Let us briefly look at freckles meaning, its types, treatment and preventive measures.
What freckles are actually?
Freckles are dark or light brown patches or spots that appear on your skin.
They appear as a result of groups of skin cells with concentrated melanin pigment.
How do freckles look like and are freckles painful?
Let’s discuss it below.
There’s a difference between freckles, skin tags and moles. Unlike moles, the freckles appear to be flat in appearance.
Moreover, the freckles do not cause any pain or harm.
They are usually small in size, almost of the same measurement as a head of nail.
There can be multiple spots of freckles that can get triggered in the presence of sunlight.
Its prevalence is more in people with red hair or ones with a lighter complexion.
Can Freckles be Inherited?
Genetics or more precisely, skin colour determines the appearance of freckles in individuals.
A number of researches were conducted on fraternal and identical twins, and these indicated the presence of similar quantities of freckles in identical twins as compared to fraternal twins.
Researches like these provide evidence for genetic influence on freckles.
Nobody is born with freckles. They usually start appearing during childhood between 2 to 4 years of age.
Although they can appear later in adolescence or young adulthood as well.
Prevalence of Freckles
It is a more common phenomenon in light skinned people and red or blonde hair as compared to dark-skinned people.
These are more prevalent in people with skin tones 1 and 2 which usually descent from the areas including North Europe.
However, these can be found in people belonging to any ethnicity.
What Causes Freckles?
Don’t you think it is important to know what causes freckles?
Yes, it is really important to know the factors that lead to its formation and control them.
What are these factors that may result in forming freckles?
Let us have a quick look at some of the main causes for it.
Freckles are believed to be a result of either genetic tendency or direct Ultraviolet (UV) exposure from the sun and in some cases the combination of both.
The sun rays or the artificial tanning lights both discharge UV rays which enhance the production of a pigment, melanin by the skin cells.
The main causes for freckles are,
People with light coloured eyes or fair skin are at higher risk for pigmentation as it is nothing more than a spot on skin which has heavily deposit melanin.
Freckles on Face
Why do freckles mostly appear on the face as compared to other parts of body?
The reason is that, the real freckles will almost never appear on covered skin and extremely harmless. They might appear as brown spots on your face in clusters.
They are produced due to the exposure of skin to sunlight. Therefore, if you are wearing clothes that cover your skin then it reduces the chances of spots on those body parts.
These may appear on the following areas of body,
As face is mostly uncovered so there are more chances of freckles to develop on face in comparison to other parts.
They are almost never cancerous or generally do not grow cancerous.
Moreover, they might appear as aging spots in some people.
Freckles in the armpit are however very different from the freckles on face, in their appearance and distribution.
This is a form of skin cancer that can appear on the skin of young people on the body parts that are more likely to get sun exposure.
As compared to freckles, the melanomas are larger, darker and more irregular in stain and shapes.
They can form on completely normal skins with no preexisting moles or other skin problems.
They are usually flat-surfaced and do not appear raised, as some people mistakenly assume them.
Types of Freckles
What types of freckles are there?
There are two types which may seem similar in appearance but differ in their development procedure.
What are we waiting for? Let’s dive into its types.
It has two types which can be divided as following,
This word has Greek origins and is used as a medical term for freckle. It is used to describe the flat, tan and moderately reddish spots on the skin.
They usually tend to appear during the summers when there is more exposure to sun.
They also occur as a result of a genetic trait or in people with fair complexions.
However, these can be prevented by taking proper precautions which can help decrease its incidence.
This word has Latin origin and it is used as a medical term for certain types of spots like age spots or liver spots.
These spots are characterized as bigger than Ephelides and more often appear on the areas with prior sunburn and sun damage.
Such spots are much darker than the common freckle and they don’t fade away in winters when there is less exposure to the sun.
This type of spot is called solar lentigo and they are normal in reference to their quantity and appearance.
Mostly Lentigines are isolated spots that are not that important but rarely they can result from some very unusual genetic disorders.
Treatment for Freckles
Want to get rid of freckles?
Did you know you can actually do that?
There are certain ways to treat already existing freckles and if you don’t have any yet, you can go for the preventive measures discussed below.
However, freckles themselves pose no threat and there is no medical reason to treat them. There are multiple ways you can get rid of them by either lightening or removing them completely.
When to See a Doctor?
When to seek medical advice and consult a doctor for freckles?
Consult a skin specialist or seek medical advice as soon as you notice any of the following symptoms,
- Asymmetry. Look from the centre of the freckle and if both sides of the freckle are not equal then it’s asymmetrical.
- Border. Observe closely the ends of your freckle and if they are uneven or bumpy then there are chances that it is the cancerous mole.
- Colour. If there are multiple colours within the same freckle then this is a warning sign.
- Change. If you observe any change in the color, size or shape of the freckle then you should consider a consultation.
If you are concerned about your skin and looking for a dermatologist, you can book an appointment here for Skin analysis.
The risk factors are higher for moles that might ich, bleed grows, changes their shape, or look different from those around them.
Sunscreen or Sunblock Use
The primary role of sunscreen is not to remove the already existing freckles but to help prevent the formation of new ones.
It’s advised by dermatologists to wear sunblock cream even when it is not that sunny.
The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) suggest the use of sunscreen as following,
- Your sunscreen must be higher or equal to 30 SPF
- It is important to apply sunscreen 15 minutes prior to going out
- Reapplication is important after every two hours regardless of excessive sweating and swimming
Laser Freckle Removal
Fractional lasers can show amazing results not only on face but it can also be used for chest and upper shoulders.
It is also popular for removing scars or spots on the upper thigh area which are susceptible to sun rays during boating and similar activities.
It focuses on new collagen formation and restructuring the old by expelling old pigmented skin cells.
Sunspots usually do not fade away with less exposure to the sun. Therefore, they can treated using,
- Retinoid creams
- Laser therapy
- Chemical peels (includes chemical solution to peel off the damaged skin)
There are also other types of laser available which directly aim at the target site and destroy pigmented areas.
Easy Home Remedies for Freckles
Don’t feel like getting medical treatment for freckles?
Well, there’s good news for you that there are some easy and simple remedies for freckles that you can try at home.
Let us have a quick look at their application and results.
Some other natural products can also help lighten the spots but these are not proven scientifically.
Some of these include the following,
Lemons are considered to have a bleaching effect and wiping your skin with a cotton swab soaked in lemon may help in lightening the dark spots. However, it does not result in drastic visible differences and occurs gradually over time.
Honey is considered to have antioxidants characteristics. Applying honey layer on to your skin and washing it off after 5 to 10 minutes with warm water can lighten the spots.
It may also help in fading the freckles as it contains salicylic acid and aloin. Take raw aleovera from the leaf and apply it to your skin.
Sour cream contains lactic acid which can potentially reduce them on your skin and lighten them. Apply it directly to your skin and leave it for a few minutes. Later wash it off to see the results.
However, using natural products rarely cause side effects but prefer using it in patches and immediately stop applying it when it starts hurting.
However, some people like freckles but some can get bothered by their appearance. And it may be a cause of low self-esteem in some people due to that.
If you want to get rid of your freckles then you should avail the cosmetic procedures that can remove them.
Cosmetic procedures are frequently requested, to improve the aesthetics and it is more is common in individuals with freckles.
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