Freckles are skin cells that contain a pigment called melanin. This pigment is produced by cells called melanocytes. Melanin in return helps to protect our skin from the sun and harmful ultraviolet rays. They do this by either reflecting or absorbing these rays.
Freckles are triggered when we get exposure to sunlight. The UV-rays allow for the melanocytes to produce more melanin and this makes them appear become darker. Freckles are also often genetic and individuals with fair skin tend to be prone and have more freckles than darker skin types. Freckles may get worse in the summer and fade in the winter season.
How do I know if I have freckles or age spots?
Freckles are tanned flat spots, generally very small in size. They usually appear after repeated exposure to sunlight and then develop into multiple. They are very common in the upper areas of the body like the face (mostly cheeks and nose), arms and shoulders. They may appear on individuals as young as 1-2 years old and sometimes fade when people get older (in their 50’s).
These spots are usually uniform in colour and may vary in individuals by either appearing brown or black and may even be reddish or a yellow tan colour.
What is the classification of pigmentation?
The 2 main categories of pigmentation are:
- Hyperpigmentation: patches of skin becomes darker in colour than the surrounding skin, this is due to an excess melanin (brown pigment) distribution in that area.
- Hypopigmentation: here you will find a loss of skin colour in some areas due to a depletion of melanocytes, the cells that produce melanin.
Types of hyperpigmentation are:
- Age spots
- Sun spots
- Solar lentigines
- Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.
Types of hyperpigmentation are:
Vitiligo, albinism, skin trauma like burns/blisters can cause loss of pigment in an area and skin cancer removal for example with liquid nitrogen or laser therapy can result in hypo-pigmentation in the area treated.
Frequently asked questions about hyperpigmentation:
1. Who can get hyperpigmentation?
Anyone can develop pigmentation. Those with fair to medium skin tones are more prone and those individuals that spend a lot of time in the sun too. Tanning beds are even worse and can cause darker areas of skin to develop. By neglecting sunscreen individuals are more prone to sun damage.
2. Is it permanent?
Hyper-pigmentation depends on the type you have, some are removed very easily while others like melasma can be long-term but maintained to appear better with the correct type of treatments and products.
3. What can cause hyper-pigmentation?
Other than the sun other factors can also cause hyper-pigmentation, for example:
- Hormone treatments (HRT) and imbalanced hormones
- Any topical creams or medications that causes photo-sensitivity
- Inflammation from acne or scratching pimples can cause dark marks as well
- Freckles may be hereditary too
4. How can I minimize the risk of sun damage and freckles?
- Some perfumes contain Bergaptene that makes the skin photo-sensitive, we can prevent this by not applying our perfumes directly unto our skin.
- Always wear SPF that protects the skin form UVA and UVB rays.
- Wear a hat when you are outside.
- Brightening creams may help to prevent or worsen sun damage, this is a good product to add to your skincare routine.
How can we treat freckles at Dermology?
Fire and Ice Peel and Skintech’s Easy Phytic chemical peel
At Dermology we have achieved great results with chemical peels and are able to treat skin types 1-6. Concerns that can be improved are acne, superficial acne scarring, oily skins, uneven skin tone, dark spots and overall rejuvenation. These are generally recommended for overall rejuvenation but are wonderful procedures for specific concerns like pigmentation, dark spots and uneven skin tone too. There is literally no downtime with these peels and are very convenient to get done during your lunch hour or even right before a function. Afterwards you can expect slight redness that lasts for up to about an hour. A course in generally recommended to get the best possible results for this type of treatment.
BBL Forever Young treatment at Dermology
What is BBL Forever Young?
This is a broadband light technology and treats skin conditions caused by sun damage, ageing and active lifestyles. It is specifically designed to treat fine lines and wrinkles, age spots, sun spots, dark spots, skin blemishes and small facial veins. Treatments are tailored to matich your skin concern and condition to get the desired results.
What does the treatment do?
This technology utilizes the power of phototerapy to achieve great results in photo rejuvenation. You use a specific wavelength or filter and this will treat your specific concern. With freckles we will use a filter that targets pigmenation in order to make your skin smoother, more vibrant and have overall more youthfull looking skin.
How does the treatment work?
The light energy delivered by the BBL will gently heat up the upper layers of your skin. The heat will be absorbed int targeted areas and will stimulate your cells to generate new collagen. By doing this it helps to restore your skin by smoothing out an even skin tone, removing darker areas such as freckles and stimulating collagen
What areas can be treated?
Any area of he body can be treated. Most commonly those exposed to excess sun are those most popular to treat. These areas are face, neck, chest, back of the hands and arms. We can perform treatments on any and all areas of the body.
What can I expect after the treatment?
Some redness may be seen that will dissapear within a few hours. Pigmentation areas like your freckles will darken and then fade and flake within the next few days. After some time your skin will start to feel smoother, fine lines may appear softer and noticeable changes will be seen in redness and pigmentation. Results depend on the condition and how many treatments will be needed, as well as the area being treated. This will be discused during your consult where your treatment plan will be tailor made just for you.
What is the aftercare advice for this treatment?
- Skincare products will be recommended that aid in treating pigmentation and protecting the skin against further stimulation of pigmentation and to mimimize the risk of inflmmation and ensure shorter healing time after your sessions.
- Sunscreen is always recommened in order to protect the skin from further damage.
For more information on getting rid of your freckles, make an appointment at Dermology today – we can assist you with smoother better looking skin.