Freckles are flat, circular small spots of melanin on human skin in people of fair complexion. The spots develop randomly on the skin, especially after repeated exposure to sunlight. They may vary in color – they may be red, yellow, tan, light-brown, brown, or black. They are usually more often seen in the summer, especially among lighter-skinned people and people with light or red hair. Both men and women get freckles at an equal rate.
Causes of Freckle
Exposure of skin to sun is one of the main cause of developing freckles. Freckles will fade when sun exposure is reduced or eliminated. The basic cause of freckles are some special cells in the skin that produce a pigment called melanin. If you have melanin in your body, going on accumulating at one place, then it may result in freckles age spots.
Freckles are influenced by genetic factor also. Hormone Abnormalities can cause freckles since estrogen over-stimulates pigment-producing cells, causing them to generate excess color when exposed to sunlight.
Signs and Symptoms of Freckles
In some cases, freckles are sporadic, individual spots and sometimes there are several grouped together, making them appear larger and cover a greater portion of the skin. Freckles, age spots and pregnancy mask have several things in common. They are formed in sun exposed areas: face, hands, chest and back. These unwelcome brown patches are nothing more than accumulation of skin pigment melanin which is always produced by the skin.
Ephelides (singular: ephelis, the Greek word for freckle): This term refers to flat spots that are red or light-brown and typically appear during the sunny months and fade in the winter.
Lentigines (singular: lentigo, from the Latin word for lentil): Children may develop a small tan, brown, or black spot which tends to be darker than an ephelis-type freckle and which does not fade in the winter.
Effective Freckle Treatments
Bleaching Creams – The use of hydroquinone and kojic acid are one of the beneficial treatment for freckles. They may help in lightning freckles if they are applied consistently over a period of months.
Cryosurgery: A light freeze with liquid nitrogen can be used to treat freckles.
Chemical Peels: Chemical peels are used to remove age spots, freckles, discoloration, wrinkles and fine lines. They generally help to make the skin smooth and firm and also help in curing freckles gradually.
Freckle Laser Removal
The most effective freckle removal method is freckle laser removal. There are a number of available laser treatments that are safe. A laser projects an intense light on the area that is affected, causing the light to be absorbed by the oxyhemoglobin and melanin so that the darker cells are destroyed and the healthy cells are left in tact. Your will need to protect your eyes from the intense light by wearing goggles. The light is directed using a very thin piece of equipment.
Intense Pulsed Light Therapy (IPL): IPL is one of the newer forms of facial rejuvenation. IPL delivers energy to both the superficial (epidermis) and deep (dermis) layers of the skin, the epidermis is spared from damage. Thus, there is virtually no recovery time.
Tretinoin: Tretinoin (vitamin A acid, Retin-A) also helps to make freckles lighter when applied over a period of time.