02 Nov What Are Freckles And How To Prevent It And Treat It?
What are Freckles?
Freckles, also known as ephelides (sing. ephelis), are small, pigmented lesions which are most commonly found over sun exposed skin, for example: face, neck, trunk, upper limbs etc. They are the result of an overproduction of melanin.
Freckles are usually well demarcated, round or irregularly shaped macules, which are less than 3 millimetres and generally multiple. They tend to develop at a very young age, ranging between the age of 10s to 20s. It is also interesting to know that one is more likely to develop freckles if one is lighter-skinned and have blond or red hair.
How to Prevent It
The best way to get a handle on your freckles is to prevent new pigments from forming. Both environmental and genetic factors contribute to formation of freckles.
As we all know, ultraviolet rays are the leading cause of pigment formation. The first step is to step out of the sun under extended periods of time.
Usage of umbrella or protective clothing is encouraged whenever possible to block our skin from getting harm by direct sunlight.
The best daily protection that we can use is sunscreen. To maximize the benefit of sunscreen, we should apply it every single day, even when we are indoor.
Harmful rays especially UVA are able to penetrate through windows and harm our skin. When our skin is exposed to UVA or UVB, melanocytes will produce melanin to protect our skin. That is when freckles start to form.
Sunscreen should be reapplied every 3 to 4 hours when we are indoor, and if we are under direct sunlight, it is recommended to reapply every 2 hours. Make sure that your sunscreen provides coverage for both UVA and UVB, i.e., SPF of at least 50+ and PA +++.
Apart from that, hydration is equally important in prevention of freckles. Use hydrating facial masks at least twice a week. Dry and dehydrated skin can trigger melanocytes to secrete more pigments on our face.
As mentioned earlier, the mainstay of management of freckles is prevention and to avoid over-exposure to UV rays. You may find it very difficult to eliminate freckles completely. However, if your freckles have become more apparent, there are several methods to reduce their appearance, either in combination or as standalone therapies.
You may consider:
Topical medications can help lighten the appearance of freckles. Take note that some over-the-counter creams may contain chemicals that do more harm than good
Chemical peels can aid in removing the top layers of the skin. As the skin forms new layers, the freckles will lighten over time. Do be wary on the concentration of the peels, types of chemicals, duration of application. You definitely do not want to be too aggressive with peeling and remove too many layers of your skin.
Light therapy is one of the tried and tested methods for treating freckles with clinical trials to prove. Selective photo thermolysis with a suitable wavelength from light therapy can help reduce the appearance of freckles. With an array of devices in the market, a qualified and trained doctor will help you identify which is most suitable for your skin condition. With modernization of medical treatment, there are currently safe, efficient, and zero-downtime modalities to treat freckles.
Do visit your nearest UR Klinik and have an in-depth skin analysis and consultation with trained doctors to see which suits you best.