In this article:
Freckles: Causes, Treatment and Home Remedies
What are Freckles?
Freckles usually develop in individuals who have a fair complexion and red hair. They develop when a person is exposed to sunlight for long time. Freckles are brown spots of metal pin head size and are flat. The color of the freckles is generally brown but they may also be of yellow, red, tan or light brown in color, basically they are darker to the corresponding skin area.
Freckles may develop in any person, an adult or a child. The basic reason of developing freckles is the increase in skin pigment known as melanin and an increase in melanocytes which are melanin producing cells. The color of the freckles depends on the time or we can say severity of the exposure of the sunlight. The longer the exposure of the body, the darker is the color of the freckle.
Read More:Is Your Skin Changing During Pregnancy?
Causes of Freckles
The development of freckles includes sun exposure and genetic factors.
The main reason behind the appearance of the freckles is that when a person is exposed to sunlight for longer time the production of melanin increases to protect the skin from sun rays. These freckles become dark in color and begin to appear but they are unnoticed or they disappear in winters because of replacement of old cells of the skin by the new ones.
The areas that are mainly affected by the sun rays are face, arms, chest, back, neck etc.
It is well known that all the functions of the body are controlled by the genes. So there is a gene known as MC1R which controls the production of melanin pigment. There are two types of melanin pigments produced in the body, named pheomelanin and eumelanin and both of them have different functions.
Among these two pigments, eumelanin is the one that protects the skin from UV rays while this tremendous property is absent in pheomelanin.
People having dark complex produce eumelanin more and hence they are protected from the harmful rays of sun and are thus less likely to develop freckles. On the other side white complexion people develop more freckles because of the reason that they produce pheomelanin more.
Freckles, Sun Spots and Moles
There are many similarities between these three but on the other hand there are many differences too. Normally, freckles and sun spots look similar and there is confusion between these two but when we talk about the cause, age, shape, color, site and size there are many differences.
- The appearance of freckles, sun spots and mole is same as they are flat and in form of clusters but a mole can be both flat or raised.
- Freckles may be due to sun exposure and genes, sun spots may be due to only sun exposure and mole is caused when there is growth of cells present in skin.
- The age at which freckles develop is 2 to 3 years old, sun spots appear in 40 years of age or older and mole develops from birth or during childhood.
- The site of appearance of freckles and sun spots is same like face, arms, chest, and back whereas mole can appear anywhere on the body.
- The shape of the freckles and sun spots may be of any size with well- defined edges while a mole is round or oval with well defined edges.
- Size of mole is less than 6mm, freckles is 1-2mm and sunspots have size greater than 2mm or larger.
Treatment of Freckles
Freckles can be permanently removed or can be faded by using products containing trichloracetic acid and phenol. Many topical creams and spot peels contain these compounds.
Other than these compounds, following are also used to fade freckles:
- Alpha hydroxyl acids
- Azelaic acid
- Vitamin C
Certain people also go for medical procedures or cosmetic surgeries which include laser therapy and chemical peels for removal of dark spots. But all these treatment cause side effects like scarring.
Home Remedies for Freckles
Since the above procedures are expensive and have side effects people go for home remedies such as:
Honey should be applied on the skin and left for 5 to 10 minutes and then washed with warm water. It contains antioxidant properties to lighten freckles.
Salicylic acid and aloin are the contents of aloe vera which helps in fading of freckles. Aloe vera leaf is to be applied to skin for good results.
Lactic acid present in buttermilk can lighten up the freckles. So apply buttermilk on face for 10 minutes and then wash the face with warm water. Face can also be masked by mixing the buttermilk with oatmeal.
It has to be applied directly to the skin and wiped off after few minutes.
It is to be applied directly to the skin, left for 10 mins and then rinsed with warm water. Mask could also be prepared by combining oatmeal with buttermilk. Moreover , buttermilk contains lactic acid which also helps in lighting the freckles.
Onion is rubbed over the skin and then it is washed with warm water. It also acts as an exfoliate and helps in lightening the spots.
It is to be applied on the skin which also helps lighten the skin.
It is to be applied along with onion for good results.
Banana and Mint Leaf
Banana is helpful in fading of freckles with mint leaf which provides cooling effect.
Mixed Fruit Peel
These contain vitamin E which act as antioxidant.
Cold Pressed Plant Oils
These are good for health as well as good for skin. These home remedies are natural and safe to use for lightening of the skin but they’re not scientifically proven. Many people are getting rid of these freckles by using these methods.