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Freckles

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Next update of Wiebke Posmyk • Medical editor

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Opinions are divided on freckles. While some people consider the small brown spots that the first rays of sun lure onto the face, cleavage and arms as an ideal of beauty, others try everything to hide the visible discoloration of the skin. But why do freckles appear and which skin types are most likely to show them?

Freckles (ephelids) are particularly common in people with blonde or reddish hair. They mostly belong to the group of people with the so-called skin type I or II. These types are characterized by light-colored, particularly light-sensitive skin.

In people from Skin type I. (Celtic type) there is always a reddening of the skin even with very little sunlight. The skin never turns brown. This skin type is most prone to freckles. Even with people with Skin type II (Caucasian type) the skin turns red after a very short time in the sun. In contrast to skin type I, this skin type can occasionally develop a slight tan.

Freckles are caused by an increased formation of the organic pigment melanin. Melanin is a pigment that turns skin and hair dark. In the basal layer of the epidermis there are cells that - stimulated by UV radiation - can form melanin (so-called melanocytes). In principle, the tanning of the skin is nothing more than a protective reaction against UV radiation.

In people with freckles, the melanocytes are more active, so that it becomes one on the surface of the skin Hyperpigmentation which shows up in the form of light to dark brown discoloration of the skin. The pigments are also distributed unevenly under the skin. The number of melanocytes is not increased in people with freckles.

Freckles therefore appear particularly in places that are exposed to sunlight: the face, cleavage, shoulders, upper arms and backs of the hands. The brown spots appear for the first time in childhood. In the winter months they fade or disappear completely, only to reappear in spring with the first rays of sunshine. With increasing age, the hyperpigmentation can also weaken or recede completely.

Freckles are not dangerous and need no treatment. If you find the small dots annoying, you should Avoid strong sunlightto prevent the freckles from protruding too much. Sun protection products can also help prevent or at least contain hyperpigmentation. In general, people with skin type I or II should protect themselves particularly well against UV radiation.

If freckles have already appeared, there is an option to cover them with make-up. Particularly effective covers Camouflage makeup the skin discoloration. Special colors are used and fixed with powder. Camouflage products are particularly long-lasting and have good coverage.

Although freckles can be removed by laser treatment, the activity of the melanocytes cannot be stopped, so that new freckles form after a short time.

Also Whitening creams can only lighten the dark skin spots for a short time. Home remedies such as lemon or cucumber juice have proven largely ineffective.

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