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Are Freckles Sun Damage?

Are Freckles Sun Damage?

Feeling embarrassed about having freckles on your nose or even all over your face? Dont be, this is your time! Freckles are a trait that has grown to be desired by people all over. People are even drawing them or getting them tattooed on now! However, many are unaware of what freckles really are. Where exactly do they they come from, how long do they stick around, and most importantly, are freckles sun damage? Keep reading and we’ll answer all your questions.

What are freckles anyway?

You likely know what freckles look like, but what are they really, beneath the surface? In simple words, these little brown dots form as a result of an overproduction of melanin in the skin, resulting from exposure from the sun’s rays. There are two kinds of freckles out there: ephelides and solar lentigines.

  • Ephelides are what you think of when you think of freckles – little brown dots on your body, mostly seen on the face. They appear as a result of exposure to the sun, especially through sunburns. They’re more common in those with lighter skin. This kind of freckle would be an example of sun damage.
  • Solar Lentigines appear as large dark patches on the skin. Better known as age or sun spots, you can usually tell the difference between these and freckles. These freckles are not sun damage.

What causes freckles?

The true cause of freckles could come from two different things- genetics or the environment. When it comes to genetics, it plays a role by pre-determining how many pigment producing cells that you’re born with. As these cells become exposed to the sun, they create pigmented dots on your skin-aka, freckles. The sun’s UV rays “activate” these cells to start producing more melanin. This  leads to darker pigment in areas or clusters of your face, and behold- freckles. According to Healthline, no one is actually born with freckles- although they may be genetic. Once skin is exposed to the sun, freckles may start to appear.

Do freckles go away?

The simple answer is that it depends on the person. Over a long period of time, your freckles caused by the sun might fade or even disappear. If your freckles are hereditary, they may fade less, but there’s always a chance that you may see a little fading over time. Other than that, your freckles likely won’t completely disappear naturally within a short amount of time. The only way to do this would be to undergo laser or other facial treatments. If you’re looking to avoid further freckles, douse on the sunscreen. It helps to avoid further sun exposure to your skin and pigment-producing cells.

Are freckles dangerous?

The short answer is that freckles themselves are not dangerous, although they can be a sign of sun damage. If you’re born with them, don’t panic! It simply means that you have more little groups of melanocytes- aka, pigment producing cells than others may have. These cells increase the production of darker pigment in the skin when exposed to the sun, causing little freckles to appear. As long as you keep a close eye on your freckles and you don’t see any signs of them growing or changing shape, there’s no reason to be concerned about them. It may be a sign to up your sunscreen game, though. If your skin is getting exposed to the sun enough to cause wrinkles, you need to be wary of additional damage, such as aging or even skin cancer. Be sure to pile on the sunscreen every day, no matter the weather! Some of our favorite choices include:

Check out all of our sun care products to find the sunscreen that’s right for your skin!

At the end of the day, freckles are nothing to be concerned or embarrassed about. As long as you’re using enough sunscreen, be proud of your unique traits! Like we mentioned before- others want freckles so badly, they’re drawing them on! If you have any concerns about any freckles or other dark spots, be sure to reach out to your dermatologist and check them checked out.

About Dr. Alan J. Parks

Dr. Alan Parks is a board certified dermatologist. Dr. Parks founded his practice, Eastside Dermatology, in 1986 and has been practicing there ever since. In 2016 Dr. Parks launched DermWarehouse, an eCommerce website selling professional strength skin care products to customers across the United States.

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