After working our way through sun protection, we by now know that Freckles are the most common effect of sun damage. So, I figured, it will be ideal to shed some light on these small brown colored spots on the face and neck, commonly known as Freckles. These are also called ephelides and are yellowish or brownish macules that develop on the exposed areas, especially in people with light complexions. They increase in number on sun exposure. Microscopically, the epidermis is normal except for increased melanin.
How do freckles form?
In our skin cells called melanocytes produce melanin pigment and transfer it to the keratinocytes that form the outer barrier of our skin. These keratinocytes are responsible for protecting the skin from any insult, mainly sun and melanin pigment prevents the skin from being damaged by the sunrays. When the melanocytes are damaged by the sun, leads to abnormal collections of melanin pigment in the skin thus forming Freckles/Ephelides.
What are the types of Freckles?
Simple Freckles – flat brown tanned spots with a diameter of 1-5 mm, have a uniform pigmentation pattern and mostly present on sun exposed areas like neck, shoulders, cheeks, nose, upper back
Sunburn Freckles – are dark and larger in comparison to simple freckles and have irregular borders.
What causes Freckles?
- Skin diseases – associated with disorders like xeroderma pigmentosum
- Environmental factors – exposure to both UV-A and UV-B radiation of sunlight
As far as treating freckles is concerned, topical products like retinoids, kojic acid, hydroquinone can help lighten freckles. There are also aesthetic treatments including chemical peels (https://smartskindiaries.wordpress.com/2017/04/26/short-guide-to-chemical-peel-the-basics), Microdermabrasion (https://smartskindiaries.wordpress.com/2017/05/28/microdermabrasion-a-simple-and-effective-way-to-rejuvenate-your-skin-2), Photofacials or IPL, Q Switched Laser, Cryotherapy, etc. that will help you get rid of these spots.
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