Your mom thinks they’re cute. Your grandmother calls them “angel kisses.” But every time you look in the mirror, you want to scrub those little brown dots off your face. Freckles – you either love them (usually when they’re on someone else) or you hate them.
If you’re one of those who hates them, then you’re in good company. The good news is that you can get rid of them.
What are freckles?
Freckles are small flat brown marks that appear on the face and other sun exposed areas. They’re most often seen in fair-skinned people, especially those with red hair, but they occasionally appear on darker skin types as well.
Freckles are natural and not harmful. Although you may not like your freckles, they’re certainly not a sign of any health problems.
Basically, freckles are skin cells that contain a pigment called “melanin.” Melanin is a chemical made by skin cells called “melanocytes.” Melanin is what helps protect your skin from the harmful ultraviolet rays of the sun by reflecting or absorbing them.
What causes freckles?
Freckles are triggered by exposure to sunlight. The sun’s ultraviolet radiation causes melanocytes to make more melanin, which can cause freckles to appear or become darker.
And guess what? That same grandma who calls your freckles “angel kisses” may actually be responsible for you having them. Because while anyone can have freckles, they are genetic. So if your parents have freckles, there’s a good chance you will, too. People with fair complexions (skin and eyes that are light in color) tend to have more freckles than people with darker complexions. Most of the time, freckles generally become less noticeable as we age.
What can you do about your freckles?
Apart from sun protection, there’s really no way to prevent freckles. For example, avoid prolonged sun exposure between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. since the sun’s rays are most intense during these hours. Be sure to wear sunscreen with a 15 or greater SPF every day and re-apply every two hours if you go swimming or perspire. Protective clothing, such as a wide-brimmed hat and lightweight long-sleeved shirts, are helpful as well.
Even then, that will only take you so far. The most effective way to get rid of age spots is through laser treatment. At Dermatology Associates, we have two different lasers that we use to get rid of freckles, depending on the number of your freckles, and the results you want to achieve.
The PicoSure® laser system eliminates skin pigmentation issues by sending multiple bursts of light lasting just one trillionth of a second to your deepest skin layers. The light energy breaks up the brown pigmentation and returns your skin to even coloring.
Our NewSurg KDP™ laser eliminates freckles by emitting an intense beam of light to the pigmentation. The freckles absorb the light and the pigmentation breaks up and is absorbed and eliminated by your body’s natural processes.
With laser treatments, you experience minimal discomfort – perhaps a slight stinging sensation – and may notice some redness after your treatment session. Restrictions are minimal after treatment, other than staying out of the sun for a short time. The laser light treats the pigmented area only and has no effect on the skin surrounding it.
If you’d like to learn more about how you can defy genetics and get rid of your freckles, click here to schedule an appointment.
Dermatology Associates offers a full spectrum of leading edge medical, surgical, and cosmetic dermatology services from offices in Savannah and Vidalia.