There’s no denying that freckles can add flavor to one’s appearance, which is why plenty of people who harbor these harmless spots learn to love them. Others, however, aren’t so fond of their freckles, especially those who desire smoother, even-toned skin. These individuals might spend significant time looking into how to get rid of freckles. Unfortunately, freckle removal isn’t as simple as one might wish. The good news, though, is that there are various ways to reduce the appearance of freckles over time.
So, can you really get rid of freckles? Let’s discuss how to deal with these unique yet unwanted features.
First, it’s worth understanding how freckles naturally arise and disappear in some cases. Ultraviolet radiation from the sun is the main culprit. When exposed to sunlight for extended periods of time, the skin triggers a response in the form of melanin production (i.e. pigmented cells). Some people are simply more predisposed to developing freckles due to their genetic makeup and environment. For instance, those with fair skin, red or blonde hair, and/or highly sensitive skin and who also live in warmer, sunnier environments are more prone to getting freckles. These freckles can vary in size and shade, and some might stick around for a long time while others naturally fade. Generally speaking, people’s freckles become more prominent in the summer months and “hide” during the winter, though dark freckles usually remain visible. Freckles also tend to dwindle as people get older, and solar lentigines (larger brown spots that are likewise harmless) may take their place without proper prevention.
So, yes, freckles can disappear without intervention. However, they may return when things get warmer and sunnier, and even if old freckles fade, new ones may show up.
If you’re seeking answers on how to get freckles removed, note that there is currently no way to completely eradicate all freckles. That said, there are many cosmetic solutions designed to greatly reduce freckles' appearance, some more effective than others for particular patients.
For instance, laser treatments target areas of skin with unwanted freckles and stimulate its natural healing process. In turn, skin cell turnover occurs more rapidly, and this new growth can gradually reduce the appearance of freckles. Chemical peels offer another solution for freckle reduction. These treatments use acid (usually glycolic acid) to exfoliate the skin at various depths to promote new skin cell growth, much like the aforementioned laser treatments. Cryosurgery can also be used to fade freckles by applying liquid nitrogen to target areas, killing unwanted cells (i.e. freckles). Lastly, your dermatologist might recommend bleaching/fading creams containing hydroquinone, which can slow down melanin production and light the skin’s overall tone.
While these options cannot entirely eradicate all freckles, they can go a long way toward minimizing their appearance. Talk to your dermatologist about these various options to go over your medical history, potential side effects, and ultimately determine whether you’re a good candidate for any of these procedures.
Whether or not you end up undergoing any of the treatments mentioned above, there are things you can do each and every day to keep new freckles at bay and reduce your existing freckles. These preventative measures include:
Staying out of the sun for prolonged periods
Wearing 30+ SPF sunscreen when outside and reapplying every 2 hours or so (or as needed/directed)
Applying retinol cream (Vitamin A) to your skin under the recommendation of your dermatologist
Regularly exfoliating and moisturizing for overall healthier skin
There may be no surefire way to get rid of your freckles, but it’s worth knowing about the various ways to reduce and prevent them. The cosmetic dermatology pros at Premier Dermatology Partners are happy to give you more information on freckle reduction and removal so you can take the right steps for your skin. To learn more about our providers and all the services we offer, contact us today.