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What Causes Freckles to Suddenly Appear?

3 mins

Evelyn Carter

Freckles are a common skin condition. While they are almost always harmless, you shouldn't ignore them. Here's why you get freckles and how you can get rid of them.

Like acne, freckles are very common. Unlike acne, freckles do not really pose any danger. Barring exceptional cases, freckles are never harmful. But like any lesion, they should be treated and looked after.

One of the biggest problems with freckles is that they can appear at any time. People with blonde or red hair are more likely to get freckles. However, that does not mean that people with darker skin can’t get them. 

Today we will look at the main causes of freckles and why you can get them suddenly. We'll also discuss some of the most common remedies and general skincare tips.

Table of Contents:

  • What Are Freckles
  • Why Do You Get Freckles
  • Main Reasons Behind Freckles
  • How to Get Rid of Freckles
  • Tips to Prevent Freckles
  • Do You Need to Be Worried about Freckles?

What Are Freckles

Freckles are small spots that appear on your face. They are generally brown or red. Some freckles are elevated; that is, you can feel the bumpy texture when you touch your skin. Sometimes freckles are rather smooth and do not have any elevation.

There are two main types of freckles. Ephelides refer to flat freckles that are brown and red. These are caused as a result of sun exposure and ultraviolet light and generally occur in people with lighter skin. Ephelides are more common among children and younger people, and they generally fade away with age.

Solar lentigines can be anywhere from yellow to dark brown in appearance and are not flat. They are common among people aged 40 or above. Solar lentigines are a result of prolonged sun exposure on the arms, shoulders, face, legs, back, and chest. It is important to note that any part of your body that has been exposed to the sun for a long time can get freckles.

Solar lentigines, sun exposure freckles

Why Do You Get Freckles

Freckles are a result of abnormal melanin growth. Melanin is the pigment that gives skin and hair their color. The more melanin your skin has, the darker it is.

Freckles are a result of a sporadic increase in melanin. That's why you get dark spots on your face and body and not a general sun tan or sunburn.

Main Reasons Behind Freckles

Two main factors determine whether you get freckles or not. While there can be several contributing factors, almost all cases of freckles point to two major causes.

  • Genetics

If you are genetically disposed to get freckles, you are very likely to get them. In most cases, freckles appear in your youth and fade with age. However, many people are also genetically predisposed to getting freckles later in life (after 40). Your ethnicity also plays a role in whether you would get freckles or not. White people and Asians are more likely to get freckles.

freckles on face, freckles makeup
  • Ultraviolet radiation

Sunlight is the only source of ultraviolet radiation, and it can also lead to freckles. Freckles appear only in body parts that are exposed to sunlight, like the arms and the face. If you spend a lot of time in the sun and do not use appropriate sunscreen, you are more likely to get freckles.

How to Get Rid of Freckles

There are several ways to get rid of freckles. The simplest way is to just wait it out. If you are young and have suddenly got freckles, they are very likely to go away on their own. The only thing you need to be careful about is not to overexpose your skin to the sun. Apart from that, remember to always use sunscreen when you step out of your home.

  • Acid and chemical peels

Acid and chemical peels exfoliate the top layer of the skin, taking away the freckles along with it. It's a quick and easy way to get rid of freckles, but you must only do it under professional supervision.

  • Retinoids and retinol

Retinoids and retinol accelerate the growth of new skin cells and help in getting rid of dead skin. As a result, they are effective against freckles.

benefits of retinol, retinol and vitamin c
  • Laser treatment

Laser treatment can be modified for a range of skin conditions. A single laser treatment session is often enough to get rid of light freckles.

  • Cryotherapy

Cryotherapy is an advanced method of getting rid of freckles that uses liquid nitrogen. The treated parts get dark and shed eventually.

Tips to Prevent Freckles

As a general rule of thumb, never forget to use sunscreen. Even if you are not spending a lot of time outdoors, always wear sunscreen during the daytime.

Have a good skincare routine to prevent freckles. Start with an aloe vera face wash to undo the sun damage, and use a vitamin C face serum once a week. Use a good moisturizer and a night cream as well.

vitamin c serum

Try to avoid harsh sunlight as much as possible. Consider using face covering for added safety.

Do You Need to Be Worried about Freckles?

In most cases, you do not need to worry about freckles. Having freckles is not a medical emergency and calls for a doctor's visit only in very few cases.

However, if you experience pain and discomfort in the areas with freckles, visit a doctor immediately. If you are using any chemical treatment to get rid of freckles, make sure your dermatologist approves it.

To put it in simple words, you do not need to worry about freckles unless they cause real discomfort or pain.

We hope this guide has helped you know a bit more about freckles. Having freckles is an extremely common skin condition and is not concerning in most cases. You can prevent and get rid of freckles without much difficulty.

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Evelyn Carter

Evelyn was involved in the beauty industry as a makeup artist before she turned to full-time writing. Carter has reviewed numerous skincare, haircare and other beauty products. Her experience gives her keen insights into products, ingredients, and their reliability. Her articles are informational content pieces liked by readers and beauty brands alike.

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