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What Are Freckles? And How To Tell Them Apart From Melasma

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Freckles are a common, painless, flat, and non-dangerous skin coloration that can range from reddish to light brown in color.

Freckles often appear early in life on the face, shoulders, arms, chest, neck or back, and may fade over time as the person ages or protects their skin from the sun.

No one is born with freckles, but they tend to appear at a very young age in those that are predisposed to have them.

In this article, we will cover the basics of freckles including what they are made of, how they appear, and how you can tell them apart from other spots on the skin.

What are freckles made of?

Freckles are little spots of skin cells that overproduce a skin pigment called melanin.

Melanin is the same pigment that produces the various skin tones, but in those that are predisposed to freckled skin, the color just tends to be deposited in the small dots that we know as freckles and not evenly throughout the complexion.

The cells that produce melanin are called melanocytes, and they increase their melanin production when they are exposed to UV rays from the sun or UV lamps.

What are freckles caused by?

Ultimately freckles are caused by a combination of UV light and your genetics.

Certain genes decide your skin color and also if you are prone to freckling.

And while not everyone with a pale complexion will freckle, the fairer your skin tone and the harder it is for you to tan, the more likely you are to develop freckles when you go out in the sun.

People that have red or light-colored hair and eyes are also more likely to freckle than those with darker skin and hair colors.

The amount of freckles you have is also determined by your sun exposure.

Even if you have the same freckling genetic disposition as someone else, you could have more and darker freckles due to more sun exposure throughout your life.

How do you prevent or fade freckles?

If you have the genetics to freckle you will likely develop freckles to some extent, but if for some reason you do not like the way your freckles look or you want them to fade there are few things you can do.

The best way to avoid additional or darker freckles is to avoid sun exposure and wear at least SPF 30 sunscreen daily.

The melanin-producing cells respond to the sun to produce melanin, so if you do not expose the cells to sunlight they will produce less melanin.

Even if you have prominent freckling right now, over time if you protect your skin from the sun, those skin cells will turn over and likely fade over time.

The season often has an effect on freckles, with freckles being darker during the summer and fading during the winter months.

Freckles may also fade with age, as most people have the most prominent freckling while they are a child.

Aside from UV avoidance, there may be certain over the counter or prescription skin lightening creams or cosmetic procedures that could fade your freckles.

When is it not a freckle?


Sunspots, or liver spots, can sometimes appear similar to freckles but they often occur later in life, commonly after the age of 40.

Sunspots also occur from sun exposure, but do not tend to fade with time or season and maybe larger than your average freckle.


Moles are also more common in those with fairer skin, but they differ from freckles in a few important ways.

Moles tend to be raised, dark brown, and larger than freckles.

Moles that change shape, are asymmetrical, have uneven borders, are large, or have multiple colors may be a sign of skin cancer and should be looked at by a dermatologist.

Those with pale complexions and moles should have annual skin exams to identify any potentially dangerous moles.


Melasma is a skin condition that can appear as grey to brown patches of skin, almost like many freckles gathered together.

Melasma is not a dangerous condition, and can normally be treated with prescription medications to help fade the abnormally colored patches.

Melasma also occurs on parts of the face or body that are exposed to the sun and tends to worsen or return with sun exposure.

Strut Melasma Formula is a physician formulated compound that contains two prescription medications to help fade the darkened skin patches characteristic of melasma.

Have an Online Doctors Visit today to see if Strut Melasma Formula is right for you.

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