Freckles, also known as ephelides, are 2 mm to 4 mm tan,
discrete specks or spots which develop over sun-exposed surfaces,
particularly the cheeks and nose. They are most common
in fair-skinned individuals.
Microscopically, the freckle is distinguished by increased melanin production.
They are first noticed during childhood and are common in fair-skinned individuals.
Usually occurring on the face, they darken on sun exposure.
Freckles vary in color -- they may be red, yellow, tan, light-brown,
brown, or black -- but they are always darker than the skin.
Predisposition to freckles is genetic, though exposure to sunlight is a factor
in how many appear. The gene for freckling is related to the presence of red hair.
Larger flat brown spots on the face and hands arising in middle age
also result from sun damage exposure. Unlike freckles, they tend to
persist for long periods and don't disappear in the winter (though they may fade).
If the brown marks are scaly, they may be solar keratoses (sun damage)
or seborrhoeic keratoses (senile warts). These are usually treated by cryotherapy.
If the freckle has arisen recently, is made up of more than one colour
or has irregular borders or if you have any doubts, see your dermatologist
for advice. They fade in winter and, in the absence of sunscreen,
increase in number and darken in the summer. They have no malignant
potential, and no treatment, apart from sunscreen, is recommended.
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 it's 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.
For more info, download Freckles Removal, a free ebook.