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 colour - 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.
There are 2 basic types of freckles: - ephelides and lentigines. Ephelides, are flat red or light brown spots that typically appear during the summer months and fade in the winter. Lentigines, are small tan, brown, or black spots which tend to be darker than an ephelis type freckle and which do not fade in the winter.
Freckles are most commonly found on the face, although they may appear on any skin exposed to the sun. Freckles are rare on infants but are very common among children aged 5 to 15 years. They are usually less common on adults.
Causes of Freckles
- Exposure of skin to sun is one of the main causes of developing freckles. Freckles will fade when sun exposure is reduced or eliminated.
- The basic cause of freckles are special cells in the skin that produce a pigment called melanin. If you have melanin in your body accumulating at one place, then it may result in freckles age spots.
- Freckles are also influenced by genetic factors.- Hormone abnormalities can cause freckles since oestrogen over stimulates pigment producing cells, causing them to generate excess colour when exposed to sunlight.
- Fair skin is another main cause for freckles. There is less overall melanin in fair skin to absorb UV light, therefore pigment cells produce melanin at an increased rate.
Symptoms of Freckles
- There may be change in the skin colour and shape.
- Diarrhoea is another common symptom which is accompanied with freckles.
- There may be crampy abdominal pain and or weight loss.
- Skin cancer may be a possible symptom of freckles.
- Moles are often produced at the affected area of skin.
- There may be blood or mucus in the stool.
1-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.
2-Cryosurgery: A light freeze with liquid nitrogen can be used to treat freckles.
3-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.
4-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.
5-Tretinoin: Tretinoin (vitamin A acid, Retin-A) also helps to make freckles lighter when applied over a period of time.
6-Laser Treatment: Freckle removal is easily achieved with lasers. The laser light is very effective and helps in eliminating freckles safely.