Freckles are considered harmless blemishes on the skin and are not a medical concern. However, many patients seek treatment for freckles to remove or fade them. Many consider freckles attractive or not a problem, while others consider them cosmetically embarrassing and seek treatment.

What Causes Freckles?

Freckles may be caused by genetics, as they have been known to run in families. Light skinned individuals may be at greater risk than dark skinned individuals, although freckles may appear on individuals with all skin and hair colors.

Sun exposure is one of the most common causes of freckles. When sunlight hits the skin, melanin production is stimulated. When melanin forms in clusters, freckles or sun spots may form. Avoiding excessive sun exposure is the best way to prevent freckles. Most skincare professionals recommend wearing sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher when outdoors.

Freckles and Skin Cancer

Freckles are not a sign of skin cancer. However, light skinned individuals who are more likely to freckle are also at greater risk of skin cancer. Patients who spend a lot of time in the sun and who do not wear sunscreen or take the proper precautions to prevent sun exposure are also at greater risk of both freckling and skin cancer.

If freckles grow or change, patients should speak with a physician immediately, as changes to existing skin growths may be a sign of skin cancer.

Can Freckles be Treated?

Yes. There are treatments that have been successful in removing or fading freckles so that they are less noticeable. Laser resurfacing and light pulsed therapy have been used and are available at many medical spas, clinics and other doctor's offices. Chemical peels may also be successful and are available at many of the same facilities.

Makeup is used oftentimes to cover up freckles. A cosmetician may be helpful in matching cosmetics to skin tones, while certain skincare professionals may be helpful as well.

The best resource for information relating to skin care, conditions and blemishes such as freckles is a skincare professional. Dermatologists, family physicians, estheticians, nurses, physician's assistants and other professionals may provide treatment depending on the procedure or treatment method. SkinCareGuide.com also offers further information about freckles.