The humble freckle has always been cause for conversation. Should we embrace them like Emma Stone, Jessica Chastain and Penelope Cruz, and wear our freckles with pride? Or should we cover them up like other facial blemishes, and aspire to have a clearer complexion like Beyonce, Scarlett Johansson and Kendall Jenner?
However you feel about your freckles, one thing’s for sure, they’re yours to do with as you like, and if that means getting rid of them then we at Save Face want you to know how to do so safely and effectively.
What are freckles?
Freckles are small, flat patches of light brown or tan colouring that appear on the top layer of the skin (the epidermis) and they usually get more pronounced with exposure to the sun. They are most visible on people with a pale complexion (those with light skin and eyes) but can affect people of all races.
What causes freckles?
Freckles are caused by a combination of genetics and the sun. They’re made up of a pigment called melanin, which is produced in the body by melanocyte cells in order to protect the skin from ultraviolet rays. This melanin, when produced, acts a little like sunglasses for the skin, reflecting and absorbing UV rays, preventing damage to the skin.
In some people, melanocytes are spread equally throughout the body, and this makes them tan evenly. In others however, melanocytes cluster together and result in freckles.
Rather than actual sun damage, freckles are a sign of the damage that the sun has caused over time, regardless of your age and skin colour. The number, size and darkness of freckles can indicate exactly how much UV damage the skin has sustained, so even if you do choose to embrace your freckles, you should always remain careful about sun protection.
How to prevent freckles
First and foremost, the single most important thing that anyone can do to prevent freckles is to avoid the sun. Covering up in the hottest part of the day and seeking shade wherever you can is the best way to protect your skin, but what about the day-to-day sun exposure that we get as a matter of course?
Sunscreen, then, is of course the answer, even on days when the sun doesn’t appear to be strong. It’s best to apply it every day, as although your regular foundation might contain a sunscreen factor, often this won’t protect you as substantially as you might think.
How to get rid of freckles
As well as covering up freckles with makeup, there is an option available to rid the skin of freckles altogether.
Laser therapy or Intense Pulsed Light Therapy, targets the melanin pigment in freckles, is an effective treatment that will remove freckles. It works because the light is selectively absorbed by the melanin in the skin, which causes the pigment to heat up and break down into tiny particles, which can then be removed with regular exfoliation.
Immediately after treatment, it’s not unusual for freckles to appear darker, but over a few days these dark spots will reach the surface of the skin and shed naturally. Most treatments take around 45 minutes, and repeat treatments are often necessary to see significant results.
Whilst laser and Intense Pulsed Light treatment works effectively to remove freckles that are already present, it will not prevent further freckles from occurring, so the longevity of the treatment in those prone to freckles depends entirely on how well the skin is cared for after treatment.
Alternatively there are skin care products which may be prescribed which work by supressing the manufacture of the pigment in the skin and in combination with treatments or products which stimulate the turnover of the ‘stained’ surface cells, can deliver a more even skin tone and fade the freckles away.
Laser and intense pulsed light therapy are non-surgical cosmetic procedures, and as such should be carried out by a suitably qualified professional. However, finding a practitioner who fits this description can be difficult.
Save Face is an independent and impartial accreditation scheme for aesthetic medical professionals and clinics. We provide an accessible service to enable consumers looking to undergo a non-surgical cosmetic procedure to select an experienced, qualified and above all safe practitioner with ease, by using our multifaceted search engine.
Use Save Face today and make sure you put yourself in the safest hands possible.