Freckles, also referred to an ephelides are small brown spots caused by condensed areas of melanin that form on various parts of the body and face. Sun exposure intensifies them, therefore throughout the summer months they tend to be more apparent.
No one is born with freckles, however individuals can be predisposed to freckling if it runs in their families, especially amongst those that are fair skinned and/or have blonde or red hair.
Freckles are harmless and don’t indicate any type of health issues. All skin types can have freckles, however they are more common on those that are fair skinned. Fair skinned individuals are more sensitive to UV rays; therefore have to be diligent in their sun protection methods.
Contrary to what many believe, freckles are not sun damage. There is no damage to the skin at a cellular level. However, their appearance does become more apparent with sun exposure.
How do we tell the difference between a freckle and a spot caused by sun damage? A freckle usually fades during the months when we aren’t receiving direct sun exposure (winter) and become darker when exposed to the sun. Whereas, spots caused by sun damage remain the same all year round.
To help prevent freckles from becoming darker or forming new ones use a Broadspectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 and by way of other sun protection methods such as protective clothing, hats and sun avoidance.
Treatment methods are available for the face and body that can fade away freckles on those that don’t like their appearance. These treatments include chemical peels, BBL or IPL treatments and/or skin bleaching creams such as Hydroquinone, Vitamin C, Azelaic cid, Bear berry and Licorice root which gradually lighten the pigment.