Are Freckles Something To Worry About?04.11.2021
You’re not the only one who loves freckles. You’re beautiful and fresh-faced with freckles. Many people have started to get freckle tattoos and applying fake marks with eyeliner to capture the sun-kissed, youthful look that a few freckles can give. Many people with natural freckles love seeing them return now that summer is in full swing. However, pigmentation that is caused by the sun can cause skin cancer.
According to the Skin Cancer Foundation in the United States, one in five Americans will get skin cancer before age 70.1, which is more than any other types of cancer combined. While we all know the importance of monitoring moles and having regular skin cancer screenings, the protocol for freckles is somewhat murkier. We decided to consult the experts to find out if freckles can indicate a larger problem and which ones are harmless.
Freckles are not a sign of health
Although vitamin D can be beneficial for your body, freckles aren’t always a good sign. They appear when you are in the sun but aren’t there all year. Although they may appear healthy, freckles can be a sign that you have been exposed to too much sunlight. Keira Barr, a dual-board-certified dermatologist, explains that freckles are a sign of too much sun exposure. You see, freckles are only visible on the areas of skin that is exposed to the sun: our faces, arms and hands.
Their appearance is a sign of a defense mechanism. “When exposed to sunlight, the skin produces melanin (skin pigment), to protect our DNA and deeper skin layers.”
Freckles are not necessarily dangerous and should be differentiated from more serious permanent marks such as moles and sun spots. Joshua Zeichner MD, says that freckles are normal in number and produce pigment more than others. Sunspots (also known as lentigines) are more common than freckles. They develop from sun exposure later in life. They do not fade once they have developed. They have a higher number of pigment-producing cell under the microscope.
You may be wondering why freckles are more common in people with darker skin and hair than they are in adults. The answer is not fun. We often trade our freckles from childhood for other types of sun damage. “Freckles fade with age and we develop other forms of pigmentation such as solar lentigines or moles from prolonged sun exposure. Barr explains that these are all signs of sun damage. However, freckles are generally less noticeable than any other skin marking.
Barr states that freckles can be a sign of sun exposure, UV-induced damage and skin cancer risk.
Pay attention to freckles
Although they are generally harmless, it is important to watch your freckles like any other skin mark. Zeichner states that freckles don’t indicate an underlying condition and can become darker with UV light exposure. However, it is important to be aware of freckles becoming darker. This indicates that you are getting enough sun exposure. It should remind you to use your sunscreen.
Barr says that freckles don’t necessarily indicate skin cancer. However, more freckles can increase the likelihood of developing skin cancer later in life. She explained that individuals with high levels of freckles are at greater risk of developing melanoma. This means that if you have freckles, don’t worry too much about it. Just make sure to visit your dermatologist regularly, and be on the lookout for any signs of problems.
Use safety precautions
Although you may love the look of freckles, they can be a sign that your skin is suffering from sun damage. It is important to take the necessary precautions to prevent them from happening. This means creating a sun protection plan that you stick to and following it. Zeichner states that this should include wearing a broad-brimmed hat, at least three inches in diameter, sunglasses, seeking out shade, using sun-protective clothing, and mineral-based sunscreen.
This may seem like too much for you. Try to use sunscreen every day if possible. Zeichner recommends a broad-spectrum sunscreen that has at least 30 SPF. He says that even small amounts of sunlight can have a lasting effect on your skin. Protecting your skin takes a lifetime, but it is worth it long-term.