Do you have beauty marks splashed across your skin or unwanted spots that mottle your complexion? Read on to see what can help your freckles fade into the background.
Freckles, or “ephelides”, are spots on your skin created from an overproduction of melanin, the pigment in your skin and hair. Freckles usually develop because of genetic factors. People with fair skin and red hair are more likely to have freckles. Usually, freckles appear in childhood, adolescence and early adulthood and can increase in numbers during that time. Sun exposure can also expose freckles.
While not always caused by sun exposure, freckles do darken when more UV rays hit the skin. To help your freckles not stand out so much, shield your skin from the sun. The best protection comes from being in the shade and wearing protective clothing when you need to be in the sun. Wearing a broad-brimmed hat and sunglasses with UV protection can help shield your face. If your skin is exposed to the sun’s rays, wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 30. Regardless of the season, you should wear sunscreen daily, especially on your face.
Using topical agents, like creams and serums can brighten your skin and lighten your freckles. Products with retinoids are often used to fade dark skin spots like freckles, hyperpigmentation and sun spots. Retinoids are derived from Vitamin A and increase cell turnover and stimulate production of elastin and collagen in your skin. Many people find retinoids to be very effective in fading their dark spots, but you also have to be careful about sun exposure, as retinoids make your skin more sensitive and can irritate the skin.
Laser treatments focus powerful beams of light at the pigmented areas of your skin. The pigment absorbs more heat and light than the surrounding lighter areas, causing those pigmented cells to die and be removed by your body. There are a few types of lasers used to treat dark spots, like freckles. Intense pulsed light (IPL), fractionated lasers (like Fraxel) that only damage a fraction of the skin leading to quicker healing, and ablative lasers that remove the top layer of skin to produce more dramatic results with a longer healing time. Most laser treatments require multiple sessions, involve varying lengths of downtime and can be risky for those with darker skin tones.
A chemical peel involves the application of a mild acid to the skin, causing the skin cells to die and peel off. After the damaged skin is exfoliated, you are left with new skin that is usually smoother, tighter and more evenly toned. Chemical peels help lighten a number of pigmentation issues, including freckles, sun spots, age spots, hyperpigmentation and melasma. There are varying levels of chemical face peels, from mild to deep, increasing in how much pigmentation is removed and how much recovery is needed.
Call Vanguard Dermatology today, located in the greater New York City area. Vanguard’s board-certified dermatologists are well-qualified to assist you with a variety of skin care needs, including mole removal and skin cancer checks.