What treatments are available to remove freckles?
Efforts to diminish the appearance of freckles go back centuries.
Ancient Egyptians used oil of fenugreek to fade freckles and age spots.
In more modern cultures, lemon juice was a favorite home remedy.
All of that gave way to modern cosmetics and bleaching agents,
none of which have been overly effective. More advanced techniques
including freezing, chemical peels, dermabrasion and laser resurfacing
may get rid of freckles and age spots, but such treatments can be
painful, and they may damage healthy skin or cause scarring.
Conventional treatments for freckles include cosmetic cover-ups
and bleaching creams, neither of which have garnered satisfactory results.
Heavy cosmetics need frequent touchups, and are not a good fit
for today’s active lifestyles. Bleaching agents attempt to fade the freckles
to a color approximating that of the surrounding skin.
However, they can sometimes lighten or darken the skin surrounding
the freckles, calling even more attention to the spots.
Occassionally, bleaching agents cause rashes or chemical burns.
Some people have had success using alpha hydroxy acids
on a regular basis, combined with sun avoidance and the use of sunblock.
Some dermatologists recommend prescription-strength retinoids
for the treatment of freckles. More modern treatments for
lightening freckles include freezing them with liquid nitrogen, and the use of
strong acid peels or ablative laser treatments which are also used to treat
fine lines and wrinkles. Freezing, chemical peels and ablative laser
treatments, while more effective than conventional treatments,
can damage healthy skin, cause scarring and demand lengthy recovery times.
Most prescription creams used to lighten the skin contain hydroquinone.
Bleaches lighten and fade darkened skin patches by slowing
the production of melanin so those dark spots gradually fade to match
normal skin coloration. Prescription bleaches contain twice the amount of
hydroquinone, the active ingredient, as over-the-counter skin bleaches.
In more severe cases prescription creams with tretinoin and a cortisone
cream are added. These are somewhat irritating to sensitive skin
and will take 3-6 months to produce improvement.
There are now several highly effective laser treatments.
The q-switched ruby and other pigmented lesion lasers often remove
pigment without scarring. A test spot in an inconspicuous place will need
to be done as they sometimes make things worse instead of better.
Intense pulsed light (Photoderm) has a similar effect.
Carbon dioxide and Erbium:YAG lasers vaporise the surface skin,
thus removing the pigmented lesions. Results are variable,
but sometimes very impressive with minimal risk of scarring.
With superficial resurfacing techniques, there is minimal discomfort
and no down-time but several treatments are often necessary.
Unfortunately, the treatment occasionally makes the pigmentation worse.
Continued careful sun protection is essential, because the pigmentation
is likely to recur next summer. Unsightly benign skin moles may be removed
using traditional surgical techniques (excision biopsy or with a resurfacing laser).
There are also natural remedies to fade or get rid of freckles.
Wash your face with sour milk. Lactic acid will provide
gentle peeling effect without irritating or drying your skin.
Lemon juice is a time proven freckle fighting remedy. It is not necessary
to rub your skin with a piece of lemon. Applying the juice with your fingers
will do the job. Do not rinse this mask completely, just remove gently
with a facial tissue, then apply a moisturizer. For oily skin - use lemon juice
before applying the mask. Natural parsley juice (or parsley infusion)
mixed with equal amounts of lemon juice, orange juice, and red currant juice
under your favorite cream will help you keep your freckles invisible.
For more info, download Freckles Removal, a free ebook.