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All about freckles causes of freckles freckle development freckle removal treatments to remove freckles prevention of freckles

What causes freckles?

Freckles are flat tan, brown or black spots that appear over time on areas of skin that have been exposed to the sun. Freckles are common among those with lighter skin who sunburn easily. Age spots, which appear later in life, are superficial collections of the skin pigment melanin which occur within the top layer (epidermis) of the skin. Freckles and age spots, classified as symptoms of photoaging, are commonly found on the face and hands, or any other part of the body that

has been overexposed to the sun.

The basic cause of freckles is special cells in the skin that produce a pigment called melanin. Melanin is what gives skin its color. Sunlight hitting the skin causes the production of more melanin in order to protect the skin layers underneath. If you have melanin that builds up in one place, it will result in freckles. Sunlight also causes freckles already present to become darker. Dark skin that appears during pregnancy or while on birth control pills is called melasma, or the mask of pregnancy. Sun exposure makes these patches and spots even darker. Flat, large spots on the skin in middle age are caused by sun exposure, and are known as age spots, liver spots, or lentigines. Sun exposure is also powerful enough to change certain skin cells into dangerous skin cancers, leading physicians to recommend protective sunscreen and clothing. These actions can also help slow the appearance of both freckles and age spots. For those who already have any brown, discolored lesions, an in-depth consultation should be scheduled with a physician. He or she will perform a careful examination to determine that these spots are not pre-cancerous. This can develop on the skin causing growths that have irregular borders and strange colors such as black, red or pink. Look for spots that don’t heal, have lack of symmetry, or are of a large size. See a dermatologist if you have any spots on your skin that look suspicious.

More information on freckles

What are freckles? - Freckles are small brownish spots on human skin, predominantly found on the face. Freckles discrete specks or spots which develop over sun-exposed surfaces, particularly the cheeks and nose.
What causes freckles? - The basic cause of freckles is special cells in the skin that produce a pigment called melanin. Excessive build-up of melanin in one place will result in freckles.
How do freckles develop? - Freckles are caused by uneven distribution of melanin in the skin. Freckles become more prominent when exposed to sunlight because the skin produces extra melanin in sunny conditions.
How to get rid of freckles? - Bleaching agents are the most conventional treatment for freckles. Freckle removal is easily achieved with lasers. Retin-A is a good treatment.
What treatments are available to remove freckles? - Conventional treatments for freckles include cosmetic cover-ups and bleaching creams. More modern treatments for lightening freckles include freezing them with liquid nitrogen.
How can freckles be prevented? - Freckle prevention is obviously better than developing them and then needing to treat them. Wear a sunscreen that blocks both UVA and UVB rays. 
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All information is intended for reference only. Please consult your physician for accurate medical advices and treatment. Copyright 2005,, all rights reserved. Last update: July 18, 2005