Aren’t freckles cute and adorable? Especially when you see them on little kids? Some models and other celebrities like Lucy Liu, Sienna Miller, Emma Watson, Megan Fox and Emma Stone among others can even make them look beautiful and wear them with pride. But not many of us know exactly why these small spots of discoloration appear, what they are and how best to remove them, because lets face it, who doesn’t love clear flawless skin?
So what are these freckles, you may ask, well, they are simply flat, tan colored spots the size of the head of a nail, that sprout up on skin that has been exposed to the sun repeatedly, like the face, hands, back and shoulders. These darken in the summers and lighten in color during the winter months, sometimes completely fading away and then re-occurring as the sun starts to come back out in summers.
The emphasis lies on ‘sun exposure’. This happens due to an increase in the production of melanin- a pigment, by overstimulation (caused by UV rays present in sunlight) of a select few melanocytes- melanin producing cells.
More over, heredity along with sun exposure are to blame, together. Some individuals may spend half the peak sunny time outside and never end up with freckles whereas another may not go out in the sun as much and yet start to show a cluster of freckles. This is where heredity and genetics take the responsibility; the more fairer the complexion, with light colored eyes and hair, the more at risk you are of developing freckles. Typically start to occur in kids as young as a year to two years old.
However, like the two sides of a coin, freckles too, have a ‘for’ and an ‘against’ party. This article is specifically for those who would much rather get rid of these freckles to make way for a flawless and airbrushed skin.
There are a number ways of treating freckles and trying to remove them, ranging from natural home remedies, beauty creams, prescribed drugs to minimally invasive medical procedures, chemical peels and surgical treatment. If all else fails, there is always foundation and concealer.
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Natural home remedies to get rid of freckles naturally
- Apply lemon juice on affected areas and massage gently. Lemon is known for its skin lightening properties and hence proves to be effective in aiding the freckles to fade away. Done once daily will likely give good results with constant use.
- Honey mixed in a little luke warm water also helps lighten freckles when applied daily for about ten minutes. Honey, like lemon, is known to contain enzymes that lighten overly pigmented areas.
- Honey mixed with sour yogurt, (the lactic acid present in sour yogurt does wonders for lightening skin and is great for sensitive skin), let sit on affected areas for thirty minutes daily for a couple of weeks until desired results are achieved.
- Rub a slice of red onion on face twice daily for as long as freckles are visible. The sulfur content in onions helps in exfoliating skin and getting rid of freckles.
Products that contain hydroquinone and kojic acid are effective in lightening pigmentation, and can be bought either with or without prescription. Constant use combined with a powerful sunscreen and sun protective clothes will collectively give good results over months.
Most commonly prescribed drugs, retinoids and glutathione, can effectively lighten pigmentation, freckles per se. these are only sold by prescription, so its best to consult a dermatologist first.
Medical and surgical procedures, and peels:
- Cryosurgery, where your physician can freeze the effected area with a liquid nitrogen in a day visit. Albeit 100% effective on the spot, it is not permanent and you may need to keep going back.
- Laser removal, again, 100% effective and very safe too. But quite expensive.
- Chemical peels, much like a facial, but done strictly by a qualified dermatologist, where the old skin is removed to give way to new skin cells. This along with complete measures taken for avoiding sun exposure can ensure the prevention of freckles.
Not every one likes to take a risk where skin is involved, and if you are one of those people, well, it is certainly best if you stick with a good full-coverage foundation in combination with concealer. And avoid unnecessary sun exposure.
All that said, still, prevention is better than cure, and you can delay or even completely prevent the occurrence of freckles, by following a set of precautionary measures such as:
- Applying sunscreen, preferably with an SPF of 50; and reapplying after a couple of hours in the sun as sweat and water both can wear the sunscreen off
- Wearing a wide brimmed hat
- Wearing clothes that don’t expose more skin than necessary, especially during peak sunny timings
- Staying indoors during the peak of sunshine
- Walking or waiting in shade if need be outside during peak sunshine.
So then, what will it be? The natural time consuming home remedies and drugs, or the laser treatment and chemical peels? Either way, stay out of the sun!