Whether to treat freckles is an individual choice. Freckles are not a medical concern and some consider freckles a cosmetic blemish, while others consider them very attractive. Patients are encouraged to explore the causes and treatment options for freckles, as this is important in separating fact from myth.
Freckles are Not a Sign of Skin Cancer
One common myth about freckles is that they are a sign of skin cancer. This is not true. Patients should, however, see a physician if their freckles begin to grow or change as changes to existing skin growths is a possible sign of skin cancer.
Light skinned individuals are more prone to freckling than dark skinned individuals. Similarly, light skinned individuals are more prone to sun damage that may lead to skin cancer. While freckles are not a sign of skin cancer, those who have freckles may be at a greater risk and should take the proper precautions such as wearing sunscreen or proper clothing when outdoors.
Freckles and Age
Freckles may appear on older individuals who have received excessive sun exposure, but they are not considered a sign of age. Similar to sun spots, freckles commonly appear on sun exposed areas like the face, hands and arms.
Red Hair and Freckles
Freckles do not solely appear on individuals with red hair and do not appear on all individuals with red hair. The link between red hair and freckles is explained by their association with the MC1R recessive variant gene.
Freckles may appear on individuals of all hair and skin colors, although patients with light skin are more susceptible to freckling in the sun.
Patients who want to get rid of or fade their freckles have a few options. Cosmetic cover-up is used in some cases to make freckles less noticeable, while bleaching creams are also available to fade freckles close to the natural skin color.
Laser therapies and intense pulse light therapies are also used, while chemical peels have shown to be effective as well. Before choosing any treatment and to learn more about freckles, patients should consult a skincare professional.