Freckles are round, flat spots about the size of a construction nail head. While they appear on various people in various shades of brown, black, light brown, reddish, tan or yellow, they are generally uniform in color on each person. The word freckle is derived from the Middle English freken. Frecken came from the Old Norse freknur, meaning "freckled."
Table of Contents
Freckles are usually in multiples and found randomly all over the body, usually on upper-body skin areas like the arms, cheeks, nose and upper shoulders. They are most especially profound after exposure to sunlight. Freckles appear on people of fair complexion, especially children, with freckles showing up as young as one or two years old.
They tend to darken and become more vivid during summer months when people tend typically more sun exposure than during winter months. An increase in melanin, dark pigment, is the cause of Freckles, not an increase in the amount of pigment-producing cells, medically known as melanocytes.
Two Types of Freckles
Freckles are categorized in two basic types. There are the simple freckles which are usually round and about the size of a common construction nail head. Then there are sunburn freckles that are generally on the upper back and shoulders, where you get the most sun exposure and are more prone to sunburn. They tend to be darker and have irregular, jagged shapes and are larger than the eraser on a pencil.
The medical term for freckles is Ephelides and comes from Greek origin. This term refers to flat spots that are tan, slightly reddish or light brown and that typically appear during the sunny months. They are most often found on people with fair complexions, and in some families, they are often hereditary, especially for people with green eyes and reddish hair.
Lentigines tend to be darker than the common freckle and keep their color year round. Lentigines is the Latin word for lentil, the medical term for darker freckles and sunburn freckles. This kind of spot is occasionally part of a rare genetic syndrome, but for the most part they are just isolated and unimportant spots.
For people who feel they have an overwhelming amount of freckles and are concerned that they are not appealing, there are medical options available that may help you. There is a laser treatment where Dr. Adam Basner will numb the area with a local anesthetic around the area of freckles you want gone. With a thin laser, the top layer(s) of your skin are removed. Most patients heal within one to two weeks. However, each patient is different in healing time and how long the results will last.
Then there is the option of a chemical peel that can remove freckles. This is equal to an intense exfoliation using harsh chemicals that will peel several layers of your skin. Most patients recover within two days. Again, every patient is different, and results vary.
The best way to avoid getting freckled is to avoid too much sun exposure. The use of sunscreen is the best way to suppress freckles from appearing as well as protect yourself from skin cancer.
Trust Dr. Basner With Your Freckle Treatment
Dr. Basner is recognized as a Top Doctor by Baltimore Magazine and Newsweek and is the board-certified Chief of the Division of Plastic Surgery at Sinai Hospital. He can help you achieve the smooth color you want for your skin. Contact us today, and make an appointment for your consultation with Dr. Basner.