Freckles On Skin – Causes and How To Get Rid of The Brown Spots
Skin disorders are one of the most talking points of today. Of course, everybody loves the way he or she looks but some skin conditions such as freckles can be very undesirable. You must be one of those who is brainstorming to know what has caused those spots on your skin. Let’s know all about it.
Freckles are a cluster of light brown spots that appear on the skin. These spots are made up of skin cells containing pigment melanin. They are flat and distinct from the moles which are darker and raised. In most of the cases, freckles are harmless and are not painful.
Color of freckles may also vary from person to person. Some may get reddish, some may have brown or black but basically, freckles appear slightly darker from the surrounding skin.
Causes – Why freckles appear?
The skin of human being contains cells known as melanocytes which are responsible for producing the pigment melanin. These cells act as a protective covering against the ultraviolet rays of the sun. In some people, exposure to sun triggers melanocytes to produce more melanin pigment. This overproduction of melanin can cause freckles to appear on the skin.
There are basically two types of freckles; ephelides and solar lentigines. Where former is the most common type, latter comprises of a combination of dark patches including freckles, sunspots and aging spots. Both these freckles can look similar but differ in development.
What body parts are affected by freckles?
Freckles most commonly appear on the face, upper body and back of your hands. These body parts are more exposed to the sun.
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Risks of getting freckles – What can increase your chance?
Freckles are absolutely natural that can affect people irrespective of their age, color, and race. However, both genetics and natural environment can be blamed for causing freckles. Also, people with fair skin are more commonly affected by freckles.
Even though fairly skinned people generally produce less amount of melanin as compared to dark skinned people, during sun exposure, the production of melanin increases in fair-skinned people. People with red hairs have a common gene M1CR which is considered to cause freckles.
Treatment - How can we manage freckles?
Freckles may disappear on their own. Inherited freckles can vanish as you age while those caused by UV rays of the sun increases with age. However, if you want to get rid of freckles or prevent them from further spoiling your face, there are some treatments available.
Laser treatment – Targets damaged areas of skin
During this procedure, the cosmetic surgeon will use pulses of intense light to target the damaged regions of the skin. Normally, laser treatment is safe and the risk of scarring is also low. However, one can experience side effects such as swelling, itching, redness, changes in skin tone and infection.
Also, people with the history of oral herpes would need antiviral medicine before the treatment. This is because laser light can trigger herpes around the mouth.
Cryosurgery – Destroys abnormal skin cells
This technique involves destroying the abnormal skin cells using extreme cold environment produced by liquid nitrogen. This is also a safe procedure but may induce potential side effects such as bleeding, hypopigmentation (lack of skin colour) and even formation of blisters.
Fading cream – Lightens dark areas
Topical fading or bleaching cream can be prescribed or can be purchased over the counter. The main ingredient found in these creams is hydroquinone that does two jobs; suppresses the production of melanin and lighten the dark regions of the skin.
Generally, this cream doesn’t cause side effects but some may experience inflammation, blistering, dryness and skin discoloration.
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Retinoid cream – Absorbs UV Rays
You can also opt for topical retinoid cream which can lighten freckles and improve damaged skin. Retinoid creams contain vitamin A compound which can absorb ultraviolet B radiation, preventing you from developing new freckles.
There are common side effects associated with the retinoid cream. These include sensitivity, skin irritation, dryness, and redness.
Chemical peel – Improves skin appearance
Chemically peeling of the skin is one of the popular methods of improving skin appearance. In this procedure, a chemical solution such as glycolic acid, salicylic acid or trichloroacetic acid is applied to the affected areas of the skin. This chemical solution penetrates the middle layer of the skin and eliminates freckles.
This treatment can temporarily cause sudden sharp pain, irritation, redness, and swelling. You will be recommended antiviral medication for upto 2 weeks and have to avoid exposure to the sun.
Sunscreen – Prevents growth
While sunscreen will not remove existing freckles, these creams can prevent the growth of new freckles. You should apply sunscreen at least 15 minutes before you plan to go outside. Reapplication is required every couple of hours and also immediately after excessive sweating and swimming.
Do It Yourself - Natural treatments
There are infinite numbers of natural treatments people use to take out those pesky brown spots. Though these remedies are not scientifically proven, trying one of these won’t cause any harm.
- Honey – Can fade the pigmentation, especially when combined with salt or sugar.
- Lemon juice – Applying directly on to the skin with cotton and then washing it off may help in lightening the spots.
- Buttermilk and sour cream – You can apply buttermilk or sour cream on the affected skin and leave it for 10 minutes and then rinse it off with warm water. The lactic acid present in these foods can help improve freckles.
- Onion – Rubbing the onion on the skin and rinsing it with water may lighten the dark spots
Freckles are totally harmless and may be confused with skin cancer (melanoma) due to the common factor of sun exposure. However, if you notice any change in color and size of the freckles, you may want to consult a dermatologist. He is the best person who can help you determine whether this is a cause for concern.
Also, for the best treatment method, consulting a dermatologist is the best option in your hand. Safe practice is the best practice.