What are freckles?
Freckles are small, multiple, flat, brown and circular spots usually found on the skin. Freckles are extremely common and harmless spots but in rare occasions they may be associated with systemic disease. They are more common on fair skinned individuals and individuals with red or blonde hair. They are usually found in sun exposed areas like face, arms and upper shoulders. Freckles are not associated with age or gender.
What Causes Freckles?
While there may be several causes for freckles, most common causes are the following:
- Genetic inheritance
- Xeroderma pigmentosum which causes increase sensitive to UV light
- Environmental factors like excessive sun exposure to both UVA and UVB radiations
- Autosomal dominant conditions like neurofibromatosis
Does Tanning Cause Freckles?
Yes, tanning can make your freckles worse. Excessive exposure to radiation either by tanning or sun exposure will cause your freckles get worse. It is the reason why they usually appear darker during summer months and lighten during winter.
Do freckles need treatment?
Freckles are usually harmless and no treatment is required unless for cosmetic purpose. If you think your freckles are annoying you it can be covered up with make ups or go for laser freckle removal.
Although, freckles are usually harmless, some research has shown that people with tendency to develop freckles have greater risk for developing skin cancer. This may more likely be due to the fact that both freckles and skin cancer are associated with excessive sun exposure.
Before you are planning for freckles removal, it is necessary for you to get checked by a dermatologist to insure there are no any precancerous or cancerous lesions that might be confused with freckles. After your dermatologist confirms the safety you can proceed with the freckles removal procedure either home treatment or other options like laser freckle removal which is highly effective.
Several treatment approaches have been used to treat freckles like Cryotherapy, chemical peels and laser treatment. Several laser freckle removal options are available and of those Q-switched alexandrite laser seems to have more successive results then other lasers like intense pulsed light (IPL).
Topical Therapy for Freckles
While laser freckle removal is the most effective methods for freckles removal, there are other topical therapies which can lighten and reduce the appearance of freckles. It must be warned that none of the freckles removal methods will permanently eradicate your freckles. It may recur after excessive sun exposure. Some of the methods to get rid of freckles will be discussed below. For best results combination therapy may be the better option.
Bleaching or fading creams
There are several bleaching and fading creams containing either hydroquinone or kojic acid, which are available over the counter. Higher concentration requires prescription. These products, if applied regularly over months with the combination sunscreen with at-least SPF 30 or more and avoidance of mid day sun may lighten your freckles.
Topical retinoid like Tretinoin (retin-A), adapalene (Differin) or tazatotene (Tazorac) may also lighten your freckles over the periods of several months. You should remember that these agents might take at-least 3-6 months to show its maximum effect. These products should always be applied during night and followed by sunscreen of SPF 30 or more during days.
Home Remedies for Freckles
There are several home remedies for freckles that may help lighten and reduce the appearance of freckles. These are listed below:
- First remedy is to cover up makeup. There are several cover-ups available in your local cosmetic stores.
- Apply lemon juice over your face and leave it for 15-20 minutes and wash off. Apply 1-2 times a day everyday until you see some results.
- Apply fruits and vegetables masks like strawberries, cucumbers and apricots.
- Wash your face every night with sour milk.
How to Prevent Freckles
To further prevent the freckles from getting worse, it is necessary to avoid excessive sun exposure. Always use sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher and wear sun protective clothing like long sleeves, shirts, pants and wide brimmed hats.