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FRECKLES and do you love them or dislike them?

 

Many of those who have freckles seem to have a love/hate relationship with them.  

And yet, the fashion for freckles comes and goes.  

In recent times, freckled models have been popular with designers and fashion magazine editors alike, surfing that freckle wave and milking it for all it’s worth. Freckle-faced models have been at the center of fashion spreads and seen walking on every runway.

Is beauty finally moving towards the unique rather than the conventional?

But what are freckles?

The first thing you need to know about freckles is that they’re hereditary. If you have freckles, chances are your parents did too - and it doesn’t mean that you haven’t protected your skin adequately from the sun.

Freckles are actually the skin’s way of creating a barrier against the sun. A freckle is a natural area, generally less than 5mm in diameter, where cells have produced extra pigment called melanin.  The melanin pigment acts as a natural sun blocker helping to prevent ultra-violet light from reaching the deeper layers of the skin.

Babies aren’t born with freckles (even though they may have the freckle gene) as it is the sunlight that makes them appear.  Freckles tend to appear in childhood but can often fade again during adulthood.

Freckles are those small brown spots on your skin, often in areas that get sun exposure and the good news is that, in most cases, freckles are harmless. 

Did you know that there are two categories of freckles?

These are ephelides and solar lentigines.

Ephelides are the common type most people think of as freckles while solar lentigines are darker patches of skin that develop during adulthood. This includes freckles, age spots and sunspots.

The two types of freckles can look similar but differ in other ways such as their development.

How do we get freckles?

As we said above, ephelides form as a result of sun exposure and sunburns, appearing on the face, the back of hands as well as the upper body.  They do tend to be most common among those with lighter skin tones and lighter hair color.  

There are two types of melanin, namely pheomelanin and eumelanin.

Those whose skin produces pheomalanin aren’t protected from UV radiation and tend to have:

  • red or blonde hair
  • light skin
  • freckles
  • skin that tans poorly

People with more eumelanin tend to be protected from skin damage by UV and have:

  • brown or black hair
  • darker skin
  • skin that tans easily