If you have a lot of freckles that you feel self-conscious about, you might be trying freckle removal techniques on your own. While these tiny pigmented spots are usually nothing to worry about, if they’re causing you distress about your appearance, there are options to reduce their prominence. Read on to find answers to some of your potential questions about freckles, what causes them, and how to get rid of them.
Freckles are harmless batches of pigment cells -- the cells that give skin its color -- that usually appear as tan or brown spots or dots. They’re often found on the face, neck, chest, and arms since these are the areas most exposed to sunlight, but can be found anywhere on the body. Freckles are very common and are not generally a health threat. They tend to appear more often during summer and early fall since most people get more sun exposure in those seasons. Usually, freckles are more common among people with fair or pale skin, lighter-colored eyes, and red hair.
There’s no one answer to the question of what causes freckles, and different people may develop different amounts of freckles regardless of their skin tone or hair color. But in general, freckles show up with exposure to the sun, which is why many people notice new or darkening freckles after spending extended periods of time outside.
Additionally, there seems to be a genetic predisposition to freckles. As with many skin conditions, it's best to avoid the sun as much as possible, and use a sunscreen with SPF 50 or higher to avoid further freckling. This is of the utmost importance for people who freckle easily, as they possess a higher likelihood of developing skin cancer. Always keep an eye on freckles to see if they change shape or color or become raised into moles, and see a dermatologist immediately if so.
A common recommendation to reduce the appearance of freckles is a chemical peel facial treatment. This can be done in a dermatology office or by a reputable esthetician. A chemical peel works to safely remove the top layer of skin, revealing a smoother skin tone -- often with fewer or lighter freckles -- beneath.
Another option that can be performed in a dermatology office is laser treatment. Many people opt for this treatment to remove unwanted pigmented spots on the skin. The skin actually absorbs the light energy emitted from the laser beam, which vaporizes the unwanted melanin and lightens the visible pigment.
It’s worth noting that limiting exposure to real and artificial sunlight -- such as from a tanning bed or booth -- will help prevent the appearance of more freckles as well as the darkening of existing freckles. And be sure to wear sunscreen with at least SPF 50 or higher on a daily basis -- and particularly when spending time in direct sunlight -- especially if you are fair-skinned or have red hair.
Interested in learning more about how to remove freckles? If you’re in the Cincinnati, Ohio area, contact The Dermatology Group today for an appointment. Our board-certified specialists can talk through your cosmetic treatment options and see which might be right for you!