Freckles are flat, tanned circular
spots that form most commonly on the cheeks of a person. Freckles are due to an
increase in the amount of dark pigment called melanin. Freckles tend to become darker
and more apparent after sun exposure and lighten in the winter months. The spots
are multiple and may develop randomly on the skin, particularly common in people
of fair complexion on upper-body skin areas.
Type of freckles
There are two basic types of freckles: simple freckles and sunburn freckles. Simple
freckles are usually tan, round, and small - about the size of the lead on a pencil.
Sunburn freckles are often darker, have irregular jagged borders, and may be larger
than a pencil eraser. Sunburn freckles are more common on the upper back and shoulders
where people frequently get their most severe sunburns.
Treatment options for freckles
Treatment options for Freckles:
- Medications: Prescription bleaching creams (hydroquinone) used
alone or with retinoid (tretinoin) and a mild steroid may gradually fade the spots
over several months. Sun protection is strongly advised if you use medication treatments.
- Laser therapy: Laser therapy destroys the extra melanocytes that create the dark
pigment without damaging the skin's surface. Treatments with a laser typically require
several sessions. After treatment, age spots fade gradually over several weeks or
months. Laser therapy is very effective with few side effects.
- Diamond peel: This procedure consists of sanding down (planing) the surface layer
of your skin with a rapidly rotating brush. This procedure removes the skin surface,
and a new layer of skin grows in its place. Redness and temporary scab formation
can result from this age spot treatment.
- PCA peel: Superficial and
medium-depth chemical peels can fade freckles. With superficial PCA peels,
several treatments are necessary before you notice any results. A PCA peel
involves applying an acid, which burns the outer layer of your skin, to the
freckles. As your skin peels, new skin forms to take its place. Sun protection
is strongly advised following this treatment.