Causes and Treatment Options of Freckles | Dermatology


What are freckles?

Freckles are small brown spots that appear on your skin, often in areas exposed to sunlight. In most cases, small scars are dangerous. They are formed as a result of the overproduction of melanin, which causes pigmentation of the skin and hair. In general, the small spots come from stimulation by ultraviolet (UV) radiation.

Causes of freckles

  • Freckles develop as a result of sun exposure and genetic predisposition.
  • The sun and fluorescent tanning lights both emit ultraviolet (UV) rays, which when absorbed by the skin enhances the production of melanin pigment by cutaneous melanocytes.
  • Freckles develop in people with blond or red hair, light-coloured eyes, and fair skin when they are exposed to UV rays.
  • This results in a heavy deposit of melanin at a specific part of the skin.

Treatment for freckles

  • Sunscreen: Cannot treat existing small scars, but it can prevent further development. The best sunscreens have an SPF of 30 or higher. Use it at all times of the year. Apply 20 minutes before going out and reapply every two hours.
  • Laser treatment: Laser treatment or light therapy uses light to target scarred skin. It is effective in removing small scars, but it can cause side effects such as redness or itching. Consult your dermatologist before starting the session.
  • Cryosurgery: This is an in-office treatment that treats small spots with liquid nitrogen. Cryosurgery is safe and rarely causes scarring. However, it can cause bleeding or hypopigmentation.
  • Topical fading cream: Use a topical bleaching cream or a bleaching cream that contains ingredients like kojic acid or hydroquinone (2% per serving). When used over time, they have the ability to lighten small scars.
  • Topical retinoid cream: Retinoids are derivatives of vitamin A, which have the ability to lighten the skin. They work by absorbing harmful UV-B radiation. Side effects of retinoids include redness, irritation, and tenderness.
  • Chemical peel: Chemical peels rely on chemicals such as glycolic acid or lactic acid to exfoliate the skin. The top layer of blackened skin is removed so that a fresh new layer is pushed up. There may be a temporary stinging and red discolouration.


  • Use sunscreen with an SPF (sun protection factor) of 30 or more
  • Reapply sunscreen every 2 hours when you are in the sun
  • Avoid going outside when the sun’s rays peak (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.)
  • Wear sun protection clothing and hats


There is no direct risk or problem to health due to the appearance of small scars. Therefore, there are no specific problems that small scars can bring. However, sometimes these signs indicate that particular moles are more likely to develop melanoma, specifically skin cancer. Therefore, it is necessary for a person to consider the type and size of small scars/moles.

  • Shape: Think of your little blobs into two-dimensional shapes and fold them in half. If the appearances of each side do not match, they are uneven and require medical help.
  • Limit: In the case of cancerous moles, the edges are not marked or uneven.
  • Colour: Colour variation is another indication of a malignant dermatological disease
  • Diameter: The normal diameter should be 1/4 inch. If you exceed this size you must undergo medical tests.
  • Variation: You should see a doctor if the mole changes in shape, colour size, or height over time.

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