What Are Freckles and What Causes Them?

Updated on May 31, 2017
ChaplinSpeaks profile image

My mother, daughter, and I all have lots of freckles—but my father, husband, and son don't have one between the three of them.

Freckled

Source

Freckles

How do you get freckles? An obvious answer would be exposure to the sun, but there has to be more to it. My mother, daughter, and I all have lots of freckles, but my father, husband, and son don't have one between the three of them. Is there a genetic factor involved? Are different types of people more likely to get freckles? The answers to these questions and more are answered in this article.

Age Spots

Age spots are also known as liver spots or sun spots.
Age spots are also known as liver spots or sun spots. | Source

What is a Freckle?

Freckles are tiny flat spots that form on the skin after exposure to the sun. They are often brown or red, but can also be yellow, tan, or black. Freckles usually appear on the face, arms and shoulders—the areas that get the most sun. Common places to see a sprinkle of freckles would be across the bridge of the nose and under the eyes along the cheekbones.

The scientific name for freckles is ephelides. They are different from moles and age spots, which are slightly larger and darker spots that stay on the skin year round. Freckles often appear in the summer and fade in the winter, but not always—especially if you have a lot of them.

Are Freckles Dangerous?

Freckles are not cancerous and are not considered a skin problem. Keep in mind, though, that a lot of freckles usually means a lot of exposure to the sun. Overexposure to the sun can result in skin problems, so report any unusual spots to your doctor.

What Causes Freckles?

Melanin is what gives your skin its color or pigmentation, and it also protects you from the sun. Fair-skinned people have less melanin than people with darker complexions. For this reason, fair-skinned people are more sensitive to the sun.

Everyone has melanocytes in their skin which can produce extra melanin when exposed to the sun, specifically UV, or ultraviolet, rays. When the fair-skinned person gets sun, the extra melanin shows up as spots or freckles. The darker-skinned person already has more melanin naturally and evenly distributed to protect his skin. This does not mean the darker skinned person will never get freckles, but is less likely to do so.

Freckle Face

Do you have freckles?

See results

Who Gets Freckles?

Anyone can get freckles, but there are some people who are more likely to freckle in the sun. You are more likely to get freckles if you:

  • Are a red-head or have light-colored hair
  • Have green or light-colored eyes
  • Have a fair complexion
  • Have a family history of freckles
  • Experience a bad sunburn

How to Get Rid of Freckles

I have learned to love and live with my freckles, but my 12-year-old daughter despises her "spots." There are ways to remove or fade freckles, but they will come back if you expose your skin to the sun again. Some popular ways to remove freckles are:

  • Hydroquinone cream - Over the counter creams work well for fading lighter freckles.
  • Dermabrasion - A dermatologist numbs your skin and uses a wheel-like tool to scrub away the freckles.
  • Laser surgery - The laser zaps away the melanin, and freckles disappear with minor possible side effects such as bruising.
  • Chemical peel - This method works well for large or dark freckles.

To prevent freckles in the first place and to protect your skin, always use sunscreen when in the sun. If you have a lot of freckles, remember this quote: "A face without freckles is like a night sky without stars."

Questions & Answers

    Comments

      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment

      • wilderness29 profile image

        wilderness29 

        6 years ago

        Nice Hub! I always wondered why I was blessed with freckles, now I know. My uncle used to play connect the dots on my face when I was a kid!

      working

      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, healdove.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://healdove.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

      Show Details
      Necessary
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Features
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Marketing
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Statistics
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)