I Saw the Sun–And the Freckles, too

Freckles are a common occurrence, and though many people love and embrace their freckles, there have been people trying to get rid of their freckles as well. All concerns about loving freckles or hating freckles aside, the question remains—what actually causes freckles, and what does the sun have to do with it?

Freckles and the Sunshine

Does frequent exposure to UV rays from the sun actually have an impact on the number and visibility of freckles that you have? If so, ought those who have freckles start staying out of the sun? Is there any sort of health risk associated with the development of freckles?

These are some of the most common questions surrounding freckles, and it helps to take a step back and understand scientifically how and why freckles develop, and what the sun has to do with it.

Freckles are almost always caused by a genetic predisposition. This means that you are born with a likelihood to have freckles or not. Sure, there are times when freckles will develop later on in life, but this is a result of environmental factors triggering something that was already capable of happening with your skin. This is why there are some people who are born with freckles, the skin already showing freckles long before their first exposure to the sun. There are also some who can spend the majority of their life basking in the sunshine and never have to worry about developing a single freckle. It all comes down to the genetic code that makes up who you are and how you look.

That being said, the sun actually does have a significant impact on freckles—especially for those who are genetically likely to develop freckles. The more exposure your skin has to the sunshine, the more likely you are to develop freckles. Just as the skin tans, freckles can darken when exposed to the sun. Those who have lighter skin are at the highest risk for developing more freckles, so those who have very light skin need to take the most caution by using plenty of sunscreen or wearing layers when spending time outdoors.

At the end of the day, freckles are not something that need to cause much concern. They are harmless from a health perspective. For those with lighter skin, freckles can act as a helpful barometer to gage how much time you are spending in the sun. The lighter your skin the more likely you are to develop skin cancer, and so keeping an eye on your skin by watching how quickly or excessively freckles develop can be a helpful way to moderate your sun exposure.

For more information on freckles and the sun’s impact on skin health, contact us at 770-251-5111 today or make an appointment with Avail Dermatology here.