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What Causes Freckles?

Anuja Marathe Kanhere
You might have seen people with dark brown or red spots called freckles on their faces or on their bodies. My post will tell you about causes and treatment of freckles.
Freckles are often seen on faces and arms of people with fine and light shaded skin. Known as sun's kiss, these freckles look very awkward on the face. Freckles are often said to give a 'girl next door' look on the bearer's face.
This thought was popularized in the book 'Anne of Green Gables' in which the center character Anne Shirley has freckles over her face. Some popular movie stars like Emma Watson, Lindsay Lohan, Julianne Moore and Kate Moss have freckles too.
Some people consider freckles as attractive while there are yet a few others who try to get rid of them all the time. Let us first understand the causes behind freckles.

Causes of Freckles

Freckles, as mentioned before, tend to appear more often on skins of people with a lighter complexion that those with dark complexions. People who expose their skin for tanning purpose tend to get freckles very easily. Also people with thin layer of skin or those with light or red hair are most likely to get freckles.
They have a tendency to appear at an early age just before one attains puberty. Some of the most common reasons for forming of freckles are the solar effect, genetic inheritance of freckles and some infections connected to liver.
The epidermis layer of human skin has two types of cells. Cells which form a protective outer layer are known as keratinocytes, while those that produce the skin pigment called melanin are known as melanocytes. It is the concentration of melanin that decides the color of our complexion.
The melanocytes send doses of melanin to keratinocytes to protect the skin from solar radiations. However, when a person with a fair complexion gets overexposed to solar radiations, the melanocytes get damaged thereby creating an imbalance in the presence of melanin on the skin surface. This abnormality is in itself called freckles.
Freckles that appear due to effects of solar radiations are known as summer freckles while those which appear due to any abnormal health conditions are known as cold freckles or winter freckles. Please note that summer freckles are flat and lens-shaped while cold freckles are usually appear on forehead and near the mouth. They are darker than summer freckles.
Freckles are some of the first signals by your body to alert you that you are prone to be affected by skin cancer. However, not every freckled person gets skin cancer. If left unattended, most freckles fade away naturally as one's age advances.

Treatment for Freckles

  • One of the most popular modern technique to remove freckles is laser therapy. This therapy though effective, often leads to some skin irritation due to drying of skin and some bruising.
  • Dermatologists even recommend a minor treatment which involves removal of the top freckled layer of skin. This method however, is temporarily effective with freckles resurfacing on new layer of skin as well.
  • People who notice early signs of freckles on their own skin or on skin of their children, should start applying sunscreen lotions with a minimum power of SPF30. They may also start applying natural herbal oils like almond oil or olive oil to protect their skin from effects of ultraviolet solar rays.
  • An effective age-old method involves usage of horseradish juice. You may opt to dab the juice on your freckles as frequently as possible. Alternately, make a batter of oatmeal and horseradish vinegar and dab it all over your freckles.
  • Sour milk or buttermilk are considered effective in getting rid of freckles in their initial stages. Just apply them on your face and rinse with cool water after 15 minutes.
  • You can make a mixture of lemon juice and sugar to dab on your freckles every few hours. This lighten your freckles considerably.
  • A soft cream of wheat germ and warm honey can applied on your freckles with a piece of cotton. Leave it on for a minimum of 30 minutes before you rinse it off.
Our skin is one of our best asset and nature's blanket to protect us. I suggest that you take due care of your skin without ignoring even slightest skin ailments. Whenever, applying a new skin ointment or lotion, test it first on your elbows to prevent any facial skin allergies and inflammations.