Freckles: What They Are and What Causes Them

by on February 17, 2012

Freckles: What They Are and What Causes Them

Freckles come in different sizes, but the most common ones look like the periods we make at the end of a sentence scattered all over our skin. Some people find freckles adorable, while some would rather live without them.

What are freckles?

Freckles are random spots of melanocytes that have accumulated at certain areas in the skin. They’re most common in areas that are exposed to the sun; the cheeks, forehead, arms, neck, sometimes even your legs. These also vary in color from dark reddish brown, dark brown, to black. Freckles become darker due to sun exposure or exposure to UV light.

What causes freckles?

As already mentioned, the main culprit behind freckles is exposure to sunlight. Alternative methods for tanning that mimic the UV rays of the sun also causes freckles. Whichever part of the body is exposed to the stuff, freckles are likely to occur. This especially applies to those of us with fair, light skin. You might also notice that with lessened sun exposure, the freckles you have become lighter. This is because the concentrations of melanin in the freckles are lessened since they’re no longer needed for your skin’s protection.

Are freckles bad?

You might have seen freckles on people as young as 1 to 2 years of age. Freckles are, more often than not, non-cancerous. Freckles are simply melanin formations on the skin caused by the sun, which activated the melanin in the first place.

Freckles are usually flat. When you run your finger over them, you won’t be able to feel them. They’re simply visible spots on the skin. But when they start acting weird, that’s when you should likely see a dermatologist and ask if there’s anything to be concerned about.

When should I see a doctor about my freckles?

You should see a dermatologist about your freckles when they start to grow in size. You should also see a dermatologist when they start to become warts instead of adorable little flecks on your skin. You’ll know it’s a wart when it starts to protrude and grow into something that looks
like a dark boil.

You should also see a dermatologist when you think you have too many freckles all over your skin. Too many freckles might indicate an abnormality in your skin’s melanin production, and could be caused by underlying conditions other than sun exposure.
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