Freckles on the face are one of the most common skin concerns out there. They are also a divisive topic, as some people try and hide them while some embrace them as a sign of beauty. If you belong to the former group, here's the answer to your query on how to get rid of freckles on your face.
First things first, what are freckles, anyway? According to Dr. Kiran Sethi, MD, Celeb Skin and Wellness Expert, Isya Aesthetics, New Delhi, freckles are either genetic in nature, a result of sun exposure, or age-related pigmentation. The small brown spots usually pop up on the face and the arms and simply put, are tiny patches of skin with extra pigmentation spots on them. They differ from moles and other dark skin patches in that they lay flat on the skin and do not appear raised. They are very common, especially in lighter skin tones, and are more of a cosmetic concern than a medical (more on that later) one.
- Types of freckles
- 1. IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) rejuvenation
- 2. Laser treatment
- 3. Chemical Peels
- 4. Topical retinoid creams
- 5. Natural remedies
- Expert advice on dealing with freckles
- FAQs about freckles
Types of freckles
As seen above, freckles are known to develop as a result of a combination of genetics (hereditary) and prolonged exposure to the sun. In fact, other photo-damaging sources, like fluorescent tanning lights, can emit the ultraviolet (UV) rays that cause freckles. The UV rays, when absorbed by the skin, put your melanin production into overdrive. This leads to concentrated patches of pigments that are deeper than an acne scar or other kinds of pigmentation. Combined with hereditary factors, freckles are more susceptible to lighter skin tones and are rarely seen in deeper, pigmented skin. The different types of solutions you could consider for fading freckles are as follows:
1. IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) rejuvenation
A type of light therapy, IPL is an in-office treatment used to treat skin concerns like age spots, sun damage, freckles, birthmarks, varicose veins and unwanted hair. On freckles especially, it works by releasing the light of many different wavelengths in a scattered way. The treatment is able to penetrate deep down to the second layer of the skin (dermis), without damaging the top layer (epidermis). Dr. Sethi suggests a total of 4-6 sessions for a clear and glowing complexion.
2. Laser treatment
Similar to IPL therapy, laser treatments use pulses of intense light to target freckles rooted deep in your skin. The only difference is that the laser does it in a focused manner, as opposed to the scattered form of IPL therapy. Laser treatments are considered a highly effective form of skin solution for freckles with 50-60% fading noticed in patients. As for the frequency and type of laser, Dr. Sethi suggests Brilliance or Picosure and a minimum of 1 - 4 sessions depending on the pick.
3. Chemical Peels
Working on medium-depth pigmentation concerns like freckles, compounds like TCA, glycolic acid, salicylic acid, retinol, phenols are used as peels for visible exfoliation. They also help relieve superficial pigmentations like melasma, post-acne marks or post-inflammatory pigmentations, tanning and smooth out uneven skin tone, including fine lines and wrinkles. Depending on the condition being treated, usually, chemical peels can be done in 6-8 sessions with two weeks gap between each session.
4. Topical retinoid creams
Apart from aiding in cell turnover for faster skin rejuvenation, the vitamin A derivative retinoid can also fade freckles - and stop new ones from forming. Research suggests that retinoids can absorb UV rays and thus protect your skin from photo-damage in the long run. Since they are formulated in a potent concentration, it is recommended to add retinoids in your skincare slowly and upon proper instruction from your dermatologist.
5. Natural remedies
Full disclosure, there is no evidence that natural remedies can fade freckles completely, but some of them do help in managing them. After doing a patch test to make sure you are not allergic to these ingredients, these natural remedies can help get rid of freckles at home:
1. Lemon juice
Mix a couple of drops of lemon juice with honey and apply on freckled skin with a cotton pad. Leave for 15 minutes and rinse off, follow up with a moisturiser and repeat twice a week for best results.
2. Aloe vera
Take some fresh aloe vera gel in your palms and massage it on your freckles for two to three minutes. You can either leave it on or rinse it off, depending on your preference. You can also use it as an overnight treatment.
Make a thick paste of fine turmeric powder, besan and milk. Apply it on your face and leave it to dry. While washing, first wet your face, wait for it to moisten and then wash it off.
Take some fresh yogurt in a bowl and massage on your freckles with your fingertips. Leave it on for 15-20 minutes and wash it off. The antioxidants present in yogurt can help keep signs of aging like freckles under control.
5. Eucalyptus oil
Eucalyptus oil has been used in beauty rituals to inhibit tyrosinase activity and melanin synthesis, which in turn fights hyperpigmentation. Mix a couple of drops of eucalyptus oil mixed with a carrier oil (like sweet almond) and apply it to your freckles. Keep it on for 20 minutes and gently wipe with a washcloth.
6. Pomelo essential oil
Mix 2-3 drops of pomelo essential oil and mix with a carrier oil like jojoba or grapeseed oil. Apply on freckled areas, leave it on for 20 minutes and wash it off with water.
7. Banana peels
Rub a ripe banana peel on your freckles and leave the juice on for 20 minutes. Wash with cold water and follow up with a moisturiser.
Expert advice on dealing with freckles
According to Dr. Sethi, “If the freckles are changing in size, shape, depth and colour, get it checked out ASAP to rule out skin cancer. And do an annual skin check! Otherwise, typically they are benign,” As far as preventive measures are concerned, she recommends, “Sunblock sunblock sunblock! You should also add antioxidants - vitamin C, vitamin e, ferulic acid - in your skincare routine. Also, start an anti-aging skincare routine early to keep these aging signs at bay.” The bottom line is, freckles are mostly a cosmetic concern and if you need to get rid of them, talk to your dermatologist for the right option suitable for your skin type. While procedures like laser treatments require a long time for healing, natural remedies may or may not provide visible results. As such, getting a professional opinion is essential when dealing with freckles!
FAQs about freckles
1. Can freckle reappear after fading?
A. Yes, freckles can reappear after prolonged and unrestricted sun exposure. Since they usually cover a large area of skin, they can reappear or become darker in the summer season.
2. Are freckles a sign of beauty?
A. Yes, freckles represent unfiltered and untouched beauty in the contemporary age. With the rise of inclusivity in popular culture and makeup trends like faux freckles gaining momentum by the day, freckles are considered a sign of beauty in the modern world.
3. Can you use makeup to hide freckles on your face?
A. Yes, you can use makeup to flawlessly conceal freckles on your face. Colour-correct them with yellow to orange pigments first, they manage to ‘lift’ the dark spot or freckle and even out the skin tone. Follow this with a concealer or foundation, steer clear of pink and red undertones as they can make the coverage look patchy and uneven.