The reason why no one person in this world has the same skin tone is because of the different amount of melanin in their skin. Fair-skinned people generally have lesser melanin than those of darker skin tone.
Given Singapore’s location at the equator, we’re all susceptible to UV rays that can cause severe skin damage. However, with the presence of melanin in our body, it functions to absorb these harmful rays, thus minimising the effects of sun exposure.
That said, prolonged exposure to the sun can cause an overproduction of melanin, leading to skin pigmentation such as freckles and sunspots. Also, freckles are common among Asian and European populations, especially those with pale skin and red hair.
Freckles, in general, are harmless, but they can make your skin tone appear uneven – which is why most people prefer to remove them. If you have freckles and want to get rid of them, read on to find out whether freckles can be removed.
What are freckles?
Freckles are tan or light brown spots on your skin, often formed in areas that are exposed to the sun such as the face. They form as a result of the overproduction of melanin – the pigment responsible for your skin and hair colour. In general, freckles are caused by the skin’s reaction to UV radiation.
That said, freckles can be categorised into two – ephelides and solar lentigines. Ephelides form as a result of sun exposure and sunburns while solar lentigines develop into dark patches of skin during adulthood due to various factors. The two types may look similar but are different in terms of their development.
Why are freckles more obvious on some people?
As we mentioned earlier, freckles are more prevalent among those with fair skin. However, the natural environment and genetics can also cause freckles to develop. If you’re susceptible to sunburns, it increases your chances of developing freckles.
Additionally, scientists have linked the presence of freckles to the MC1R gene, which provides instructions to the skin to produce melanin. But the gene doesn’t affect every individual the same way.
There are generally two types of melanin – pheomelanin and eumelanin. People whose skin produces more pheomelanin than eumelanin are susceptible to UV radiation and tend to have red or blonde hair, fair skin, freckles, and tans poorly.
Meanwhile, people whose skin produces more eumelanin then pheomelanin tend to be protected from skin damage by UV radiation and have brown or black hair, dark skin, and tans easily.
Can freckles be removed?
Absolutely! Freckles, in general, are another form of skin pigmentation that either fades or become more visible over time due to external and internal factors. Hereditary freckles can diminish as you age but freckles caused by sun damage tend to be more visible with age. Here are some ways for you to remove the freckles from your skin.
Topical creams are typically available over the counter or through a prescription from a skin specialist. They usually include ingredients that lighten the skin such as hydroquinone, corticosteroids, retinoids, kojic acid, ascorbic acid, and azelaic acid.
Besides, these ingredients may be combined (subject to the dermatologist’s discretion) for an effective depigmentation of freckles.
Chemical peels help to exfoliate and remove dead skin cells from the surface of your skin, thus encouraging new skin cells to form. Depending on the acid concentration of your chemical peel, it may take time to see the results.
You can expect some side effects such as peeling, redness, irritation, crusting, swelling, and stinging after the treatment. Your skin will take about two weeks to heal, so you should take proper precautions and apply topical ointments where necessary.
Laser therapy is probably one of the best ways to remove freckles. It uses pulses of focused, intense light energy to target pigments in the skin. Depending on the type of laser used, results may vary with minimal side effects.
Similar to chemical peels, you can expect some redness, swelling, and peeling for a few days after the treatment. The risk of infection and scarring is low if you follow your dermatologist’s advice and precautions. Depending on your skin condition, multiple sessions may be needed to achieve your desired results.
Like other types of skin pigmentation, freckles can be prevented with several measures that include regular sunscreen application, use of an umbrella or a hat, or regular exfoliation.
If you’re considering a laser therapy to remove freckles on your face, Eeva Medical Clinic offers several types of laser treatment such as the Targeted Pigment Removal Laser, Korean Curas M1064 Specific Melasma Targeting Laser, and Klarity Brilliant Gold Toning Laser.
With a collective experience of more than 40 years in the medical and aesthetic field along with personal experience in pigmentation, our doctors are always on the lookout for innovative, creative protocols in treating skin pigmentation. Consult our doctors at Eeva Medical Aesthetic Clinic to know more about the available treatments.