Freckles may be described as flat, round, dark colored spots that range in size from about 2mm to 4mm. Freckles could be the result of pigment precipitation in one particular place, as generally the skin surrounding the spot is lighter in color. Freckles have a hereditary aspect to it and you are likely to inherit it if runs in your family. Freckles are usually of no medical consequence and do not cause any problems. Freckles are sensitive to the UV rays of sunlight and hence appear more prominent during or after exposure to sunlight. Though freckles could be present all over the body, mostly they are found in areas exposed to sun.
There are two basic types of freckles:
- Ephelides: These are flat red or light-brown spots that typically appear during the summer months and fade away in the winter. These types of freckles could be hereditary.
- Lentigines: Lentigines may be small tan, brown or black spot that is darker than an ephelide. This does not fade in winter. This is also a genetic condition.
Symptom of Freckles
Freckles may be seen as dark colored spots on the skin. These may be more apparent on the facial skin, especially on or around the nose. Generally, light or fair skinned people are more prone to freckled skin. Freckles get more emphasized on exposure to sunlight.
Causes of Freckles
- Freckles are passed on genetically, so you are likely to get it if one or both your parents have it.
- Rare disorders such as Xeroderma Pigmentosum cause an increased sensitivity to ultraviolet rays leading to freckles.
- Prolonged exposure to sunlight can cause freckles to appear, more so in case of fair-skinned people. The melanin content is less in case of fair-skinned people; hence exposure to sunlight causes these spots to appear.
- Hormonal imbalance could cause freckles too. In this case, the estrogen could over-stimulate pigment producing cells causing them to generate more color when exposed to sunlight.
Remedies for Freckles
Freckles may be unsightly and a cause of cosmetic concern for many. Here are some natural remedies that will help you deal with freckles at home -
- Apply sour cream on your face. Do not rinse this mask off completely; gently wipe off with a soft tissue and top it up with a moisturizer.
- Lemon juice is a tried and tested remedy for treating freckles. Apply lemon juice with your fingers on the affected area; lemon juice bleaches the dark spots.
- Regular use of fruit and vegetable masks such as those made with apricots, strawberries, cucumbers and red currant will help lighten freckles.
- Wash your face with sour milk. Lactic acid promotes gentle peeling of skin minus the irritation or dryness.
- Heat honey slightly and apply to face, tap face gently with your fingers. Wash honey off with warm water then rinse with cool water. Stir in a little quantity of wheat germ into the honey before applying.
- Horseradish juice or horseradish vinegar, or oatmeal dabbed on the skin is also helpful in lightening freckles.
- Apply parsley juice mixed with equal amounts of lemon juice, orange juice, and red currant juice under your favorite cream will help you keep your freckles invisible.
- Apply odorless castor oil or vitamin E at night before going to bed.
- Dissolve some sugar in the juice of one lemon. Apply mixture to each freckle with a brush.
- Grind yellow mustard in milk and apply to the face during the night. Wash your face the next morning.
- Onions also can be used for removing freckles and age spots. Slice a red onion in half and rub on the spots twice daily. Continue until the spots fade.
- Applying buttermilk on freckles is thought to help in lightening them.
- Mix an equal quantity of turmeric and sesame seeds. Grind in water and apply to the face.
- Take a watermelon, make a hole in its rind and introduce some grains of rice in it. Take out the rice after a week. Grind into a paste and apply on the face.
- To lighten freckles, mash 1/4 cup of unripe currants and mix with 1 tbsp. of unpasteurized honey. Put on freckles and leave on for half an hour. Rinse off with warm water and dab on diluted fresh lemon juice.
Diet for Freckles
Though there is no particular diet or food that will prevent the occurrence of freckles on the skin, here are some general diet guidelines that will promote a healthy and glowing skin. Eat plenty of fresh vegetables and whole grains for the vitamins A, B complex and C, all needed for healthy skin. Vitamin B5 helps prevent dry skin. It is found in milk, eggs, cabbage, wheat germ and nutritional yeast. The essential fatty acids, found in unrefined, cold-pressed vegetable oils such as flax seed, are also important for supple, resistant skin. Increase your Vitamin C intake. It makes your skin less sensitive to the sun. Foods rich in vitamin C include citrus fruits, apples, green onions, black and red currant, rosehip tea.
Suggestions for Freckles
If your skin is prone to freckles, here are some suggestions that could help you keep them at bay -
- Use a good quality sunscreen that offers a high level of 'sun protection factor'. Use it whenever you have to go out in the sun.
- Add a broad-rimmed hat to your wardrobe and use it when out in the sun. The broad rim will shield your face from direct sunlight.
- Avoid going out from 10 am to 4 pm when the sunrays are maximum.
- Use sun block lotion each time you go for a swim and reapply every two hours in case of heavy perspiration.
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