6 Facts About Freckles
The skin contains melanoctyes, which are cells that produce melanin – the pigment that makes your skin darker. Many people have melanocytes spread evenly throughout the skin, which when exposed to sunlight causes an even tan. But, many fair-skinned people have melanocytes that are bunched in groups, which create freckles when exposed to the sun.
Young children, even as young as 1 or 2 years old can develop freckles, and can be found most often on the face, shoulders and arms.
Freckles naturally become darker in the summer months and fade in the winter when the sun isn’t as strong. So, if you notice your freckles have gotten darker, you don’t have anything to worry about.
Most freckles are harmless, but, people with fair skin are more likely to develop skin cancer, so it’s important to keep an eye on freckles. If it changes color (other than darkening from the sun) or gets larger, you should contact your dermatologist.
Preventing freckles goes hand-in-hand with protecting your skin from UV rays. Always be conscious of how long you are in the sun and be sure to wear sunscreen. Also, try to stay out of direct sunlight between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Wearing a wide-brimmed hat or sitting in the shade can also help protect your skin.
While some people like their freckles, others prefer to lighten them. There are several options available, including bleaching and fading creams, retinoids, cryosurgery, laser and pulsed-light therapy and chemical peels. Talk to your dermatologist about what might be right for you.