Flat, tanned circular spots that typically are the size of the head of a common nail.

Usually the spots are multiple and may develop on sun-exposed skin after repeated exposure to sunlight.

Common in people of fair complexion on upper-body skin areas like the cheeks, nose, arms, and upper shoulders.

May appear on people as young as 1 or 2 years of age.

Mostly uniform in color.

Freckles may be reddish, yellow, tan, light brown, brown, or black.


Slightly darker than the surrounding skin. 

They may become darker and more apparent after sun exposure..

May lighten in the winter months.

Freckles are due to an increase in the amount of melanin and are not due to an increase in the total number of pigment-producing cells called melanocytes.

There are two basic types of freckles: simple freckles and sunburn freckles.

Simple freckles are usually tan, round, and small.

Sunburn freckles are often darker, have irregular jagged borders, and may be larger.

Sunburn freckles are more common on the upper back and shoulders.

Ephelides is the medical term for freckle.

Most often found on people with light complexions, and in some families, they are a hereditary trait.

People with reddish hair and green eyes are more prone to freckles.

Sun avoidance and sun protection, including the regular use of sunscreen, help to suppress their appearance.

Lentigines tend to be darker than the common freckle and do not usually fade in the winter.

“Liver spots” or “age spots” are the common names of the darker spots seen in adults, frequently on the back of the hands.

Lentigines do tend to appear over time, and are a sign of sun exposure.

Thought to develop as a result of a combination of genetic tendency and sun exposure.

Natural sunlight and artificial suntanning lights emit ultraviolet (UV) rays, and after such exposure the epidermis thickens and the melanocytes produce the pigment melanin at an increased rate.

This production of melanin may give protection against future sun exposure.

Freckling is caused by the uneven distribution of the melanin pigment in the skin.

Tend to be inherited genetically and are most common in individuals with fair skin and/or with blond or red hair.

Smilarity in the total number of freckles found on each pair of identical twins, and such similarities are considerably less common in fraternal twins.

Variations in freckle counts appear to be due largely to heredity.

Xeroderma pigmentosum has also has a genetic tendency of freckles.

Also found in skin folds in neurofibromatosis.

Pose no health risk.

Lentigo maligna is an uncommon superficial skin cancer that generally occurs on the faces of older adults who have a history of considerable sun exposure.

Over the course of months to years, this condition may, if untreated, develop into a more aggressive variety called lentigo maligna melanoma.

The main prevention measures are aimed at sun avoidance and sun-protection.

Freckle prevention is more effective than freckle removal, so people with known hereditary tendencies of freckling should start sun protection early in childhood.

Much of the sun and UV skin damage occurs often while children are under age 18.

Fair-skinned people who are more prone to freckling and sunburns are also generally more at risk for developing skin cancers.

Bleaching or fading creams with products containing hydroquinone and kojic acid can help lighten freckles if they are applied consistently over a period of months.

Bleaching or fading creams are most effective in combination with sun avoidance and sun protection.

Retinoids may help lighten freckles when applied consistently over a period of several months.

Cryosurgery can be used to treat some types of freckles.

Lasers may help lighten and decrease the appearance of freckles safely and effectively.

Photofacials or Intense pulsed light treatments are another method to lighten and remove freckles.

Chemical peels can also help lighten freckles and improve irregular pigmentation.

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