Q: What are freckles? …and what are age spots?
A: Essentially, they are both flat (non-raised) tan-coloured, brown or black spots on the skin.
We are not born with any visible freckles, but we are all born with melanin in our skin. The more melanin you have, the darker your skin colour is, naturally.
Freckles are usually found on fairer skins and will appear as soon as there is exposure to the sun. People with fair skin have less melanin than people with darker skin, therefore their melanocytes (skin cells found in the basal layer of the epidermis) make up for it by producing more melanin when they go out in the sun.
Freckles are not harmful, they’re just pigment cells (cells that contain colour) and can appear in small batches or sometimes overlap to appear larger.
Some people have freckles that fade away almost completely in the winter and return in the summer. Other people’s freckles don’t change much with or without the sun and can be seen year-round. Freckles also tend to fade as people get older. The spots you see when you are older are inevitably Age spots — also called liver spots or sun spots; solar lentigines.
Age spots vary in size and usually appear on the face, hands, shoulders and arms or any areas most exposed to the sun. Age spots are very common in adults older than age 50, but younger people can get them too, especially if they spend a lot of time in the sun or live in a sunny place.
Although age spots can look like cancerous growths*, true age spots are harmless. But that doesn’t mean everyone shares an excitement about having freckles and/or sun spots, so for cosmetic reasons, age spots and freckles can be lightened using skin-bleaching products or removed using IPL or laser.
*It is recommended to visit a dermatologist for a full body skin scan on a regular basis.
The LightBarr offers SURGICAL QUALITY Square Pulsed Light Treatments for removal of all 50 shades of brown spots, as well as red veins, fine lines and wrinkles.
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Until then, whether you’re freckled or not, be sure to wear sunscreen – It’s the best way to prevent further damage to your skin second to avoiding the sun completely. One application daily is not enough, especially if you are an outdoorsy person who lives in a warm climate. It is recommended to reapply factor 30 sunscreen every 4 hours to be well protected.
The LightBarr is currently able to treat skin types I – III on the Fitzpatrick scale. See below for further details on The Fitzpatrick Scale and Von Luschan’s Chromatic Scale