Freckles are a very common skin condition and usually develop in individuals with light complexions and blonde or red hair color.

What Causes Freckles?

Freckles are caused by sun exposure. The small brown dots are more likely to appear during the summer months and tend to develop on parts of the body that get the most sun exposure, particularly the face and arms.

Freckles are made of melanin, a chemical produced by specific skin cells called melanocytes. Darker skinned individuals have more melanin, which causes the skin to tan when exposed to the sun’s ultraviolet rays.

Fair or light-skinned individuals have less melanin and don’t tan well, instead, they develop freckles to help protect the skin from sun damage. Genetics also play a role, so if your family members have freckles, you are more likely to develop them as well.

Freckles are really just pigmented skin. Most freckles are light brown or tan in color and are typically very small, although freckles that cluster together or overlap may appear larger.

Is There a Treatment for Freckles?

Freckles are not harmful and don’t require treatment, but protecting your skin from sun damage may help prevent freckles from developing. To reduce the risk of freckles, use a sunscreen with SPF 50 when outdoors and reapply frequently.

Once freckles appear, creams and lotions are not effective for freckle removal. Some freckles do fade during the winter only to reappear in the summer months. Freckles may also fade or lighten with age.

Some make-up is specially formulated to hide freckles and other skin spots. Your dermatologist may also perform laser treatments for the removal of freckles.

Laser treatment typically produces only mild discomfort and may cause temporary skin crusting or bruising. The treatment is, however, very effective for freckle removal.

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