What Causes Freckles on The Skin?
Posted On: - 2009-05-28 22:34:33
Freckles are flat brown spots that appear on the skin surface as a result of sun damage. They may vary in color but they are always darker than the normal skin around them. They are actually an abnormal collection of melanin pigments within the skin and appear more prominent in fair skinned people.
The skin contains melanocytes, cells that are responsible for the pigmentation of the skin. Melanocytes produce a pigment called melanin and feed it to keratinocytes, normal skin cells that make up the outer barrier of the skin. This barrier layer protects the skin against damage by the sun and other environmental factors. Melanin prevents sun damage and when the melanocytes get damaged, freckles appear on the skin surface.
Causes of Freckles
Freckles can be caused by a number of reasons but the prime cause is repeated and prolonged exposure to sunlight. Sun exposure increases melanin production that gets deposited in certain areas of the skin and makes it appear darker. Not all people are susceptible to development of freckles. This is because different people have different sensitivity levels to sunlight.
Fair skinned people are more sensitive to sunlight than dark skinned people. This is because people with dark complexions have larger deposits of melanin in their skin and it helps protect them against possible sun damage. Just about anyone can develop freckles irrespective to the complexion of the person.
Another factor that contributes to melanin is imbalanced nutrition. Improper diet may lead to uneven distribution of melanin pigment that can further result in the development of freckles.
If there has been a history of freckles in your family, for example your mother or father has had freckles, then it is not a surprise if you develop some. Freckles are often a cause of genetic factors and passes on by heredity as well as sun exposure.
Freckles vs. Liver Spots
Elderly people may often develop dark spots on their skin can be mistaken for freckles. These spots are generally darker than freckles and are called liver spots. It should be noted that freckles are different from liver spots. While freckles are a result of prolonged sun exposure, liver spots are caused as a result of aging skin.
Risk Factors about Freckles
Freckles are harmless and don't have any health risks. They might be mistaken for some skin disease but they actually are no risk to your general health. However, they often look unsightly on the face. So, women seek treatment options to eliminate their appearance.
Prevention of Freckles
Freckles are a tell tale sign that the skin is extremely sensitive to sunburns and other serious skin diseases. People who have a hereditary influence of freckles should avoid repeated, prolonged and unprotected sun exposure. Even if not, all people should take adequate protection against the UVA and UVB rays of the sun by wearing good quality sunscreens.
Treatment of Freckles
There are a variety of skin care products available in the market that aim to reduce pigmentation and diminish and even eliminate the appearance of freckles. There are products that camouflage their appearance and there are others that serve to eliminate them completely.
Here are some popular products that help reduce the appearance of freckles.
iS Clinical Active Serum
This serum is especially designed to prevent premature aging and repair signs of damaged skin by scraping off dead skin cells and boosting collagen production within. It is extremely effective against freckles and completely eliminates their appearance with regular use. It consists of 8% glycolic, 2% salicylic, 2% lactic and 0.5% kojic acids that makes the skin smooth and toned. It also prevents the various signs of acne like pimples, blackheads and whiteheads. It has a cool tingling sensation just after application. It is just a sign that the serum has started working. It caters effectively to normal as well as oily skin. However it is not recommended for very sensitive skin.
Obagi Nu-Derm Toner
It contains a unique combination of natural ingredients and herbs that tones the skin and restores its normal pH balance. It has a natural astringent called ‘Alum’ that normalizes the skin’s pH levels so that active ingredients of other skin care products are able to penetrate easily. With regular use, there is a visible reduction in the appearance of freckles and other pigmentation marks.
Dr. Marilynn Syrett is a professional physician and skin care expert. Apart from writing articles about the various facets of skin care, she also reviews several skin care products from brand names like Obagi and iS Clinical.