Freckles manifests as asymptomatic small, circular, brownish macules, 2 to 3 mm in diameter which start appearing early in life on the face, dorsal aspects of the hands and extensors of the forearms, and keep on increasing in number as the age advances.
Continued exposure to sunlight leads to appearance of new lesions and darkening of the old ones.
This disease is inherited as an autosomal dominant character and depends upon the presence of an abnormally large amount of melanin in the epidermis.
The spots are multiple and may develop on sun-exposed skin after repeated exposure to sunlight. The spots are common in people with fair complexion, commonly occur in areas like the cheeks, nose, arms, and upper shoulders. They may appear on people as young as 1 or 2 years of age.
Freckles may become darker and more apparent after sun exposure and lighten in the winter months.
Freckles are due to an increase in the amount of dark pigment called melanin.
Freckles are not a health risk. They generally do not become cancerous.
Ephelides is medical term for freckle.
Why do Freckles Develop?
Freckles are thought to develop as a result of a combination of genetic predisposition and sun exposure. It is caused by the uneven distribution of the melanin pigment in the skin. A freckle is essentially nothing more than an unusually heavy deposit of melanin at one spot in the skin.
How can freckles be prevented?
It is better to prevent the freckles than treat because treatment of freckles is arduous and results may not always be satisfactory.
Prevention of freckles involve methods to reduce the sun exposure.
- Protective clothing
- Wide brimmed hat
- Prefer shading for work
- avoidance of the peak sun hours
Treatment of Freckles
- Bleaching or fading creams containing hydroquinone and kojic acid
- Cryosurgery with liquid nitrogen. Not all spots respond to this form of therapy.
- Laser treatment