Are Freckles Something That You Can Get Rid of in Skincare?
Everyone who cares about their appearance wants to maintain a clear complexion, which is harder than most realize. Skincare is a very complicated process that requires us to regularly apply topical products and adjust our lifestyle to avoid contaminating our skin. This is further complicated because our skin is extremely sensitive to environmental factors that could damage it. As a result, individuals caring for their skin invest in products designed to protect them from these factors and maintain the smooth complexion they worked so hard to achieve.
Many even try to defy the progression of time through anti-aging creams and proteins that can reduce wrinkles or liver spots that manifest with time. Unfortunately, some blemishes cannot be prevented and manifest as a part of genetics.
A freckle is one of the most common examples of a "blemish" that appears regardless of our skincare routine. Most people with freckles develop several that dot their faces and other body parts where the skin is prevalent. Freckles are an interesting mark that is extremely common for certain skin types but can discourage those who want a clear complexion.
The biggest issue is that our genetics determine whether we develop freckles, so we can do nothing to prevent it. Many people with freckles are desperate to be rid of them and will use any resources to accomplish this goal. The question they often ask is: are there any skincare products that will remove freckles?
What Are Freckles?
You have likely seen freckles, even if you have none, but you might not know the specifics. Freckles appear to be skin spots similar to liver spots in coloration but appear in higher volumes. They are small, flat spots that typically appear on parts of the skin exposed to the sun and are usually tan, red, or brown.
While freckles might not be attractive to everyone, they are extremely common and do not represent a health threat. Rather, they are considered a cosmetic issue that people love or hate depending on personal preference. Despite being a consistent concern, not everyone is liable to develop freckles, and certain demographics have a higher chance of getting them. If you are fair-skinned and have blond or red hair, you are among the most likely to have freckles. This is because low melanin concentrations in individuals with these traits make them less likely to tan and more likely to develop freckles.
Whether or not you will develop freckles is determined by genetic factors because several genes promote freckling. That said, some people do not develop freckles until they spend significant time exposed to ultraviolet radiation from solar rays. This is because freckles are produced by our bodies releasing melanin in response to UV radiation. Melanin is a photoprotective compound deployed to protect us from UV radiation and prevent burns or radiation damage. Unfortunately, melanin is not powerful enough to protect us completely, and our body's melanin response can make mistakes.
Nevertheless, freckles are a byproduct of melanin production and are examples of where melanin was deployed. While freckles are a byproduct of melanin, they are not all the same. Freckles can be divided into 2 types that change how they look and when and where they appear. These types are:
- Ephelides: Ephelides are flat freckles with a red or tan (or brown) color. Ephelides are the most common type of freckles, and they are the one that comes to mind when the word "freckle" is brought up. Ephelides are typically caused by solar exposure or genetics and manifest on the face, arms, neck, back, and upper chest. Ephelides can appear when we are still children and are commonly seen on individuals with light skin (Asian or Caucasian) and hair (blond or red).
- Solar Lentigines: Solar lentigines are less like the traditional freckles and encompass small patches of skin. They can be yellow, red, or brown and are also called "liver spots" since they tend to appear in individuals aged 40 and up. Solar lentigines are typically caused by repeated exposure to sunlight (hence the name) and can appear on the face, forearms, chest, back, shoulders, back of the hands, and lower legs.
The exact differences between ephelides and solar lentigines are too minute to discuss fully, but they function similarly. Unfortunately, the latter is more visible to the common observer since they are inherently larger and can manifest in brighter colors that draw attention. Fortunately, solar lentigines can be addressed via skincare products and, in rare cases, might fade on their own (though this is less likely).
The simple truth is that freckles, regardless of the type, are common amongst lighter-skinned individuals but can affect anyone exposed to the sun. The nature of freckles, specifically their appearance, has led most people to try and remove them. The question is: is this possible?
Laser Skin Resurfacing
Individuals who desperately want to be free of their freckles often turn to minor cosmetic surgeries to have the marks removed forcibly. Laser skin resurfacing is one of the most common cosmetic surgeries to remove blemishes. This process involves the use of concentrated beams of light that are aimed at irregular skin. It is usually used to treat wrinkles or scars that might mar your complexion, but the surgery can be used to target age spots. It can also be used to address standard freckles, making it possible to use the process to correct your complexion.
There are 2 types of laser skin resurfacing: CO2 (including a subtype called fractional CO2) and erbium.
- CO2 Laser Skin Resurfacing: This type of laser skin resurfacing employs a carbon dioxide-powered laser to remove precise layers of skin. CO2 laser skin resurfacing has successfully treated several skin conditions and has a recovery period of 2 weeks.
- Fractional CO2 Laser Skin Resurfacing: Fractional laser skin resurfacing employs several narrow columns of light and causes collagen to contract. This laser penetrates deeper than others, meaning your recovery might have complications. Generally, it only takes 1 week to recover.
- Erbium Laser Skin Resurfacing: This type of laser skin resurfacing does not involve carbon dioxide. It is designed to remove superficial blemishes and is significantly less painful than other types. It is also more effective for individuals with darker skin tones. The recovery time for erbium laser skin resurfacing is 1 week.
Laser skin resurfacing peels away the top layers of skin to expose a clear sublayer free of blemishes. This extends to freckles, but it will only work if the melanin has not formed in the lower layers of your dermis. Occasionally, melanin will soak deeper than the top 4 layers and cause the sublayer exposed by the laser to retain the freckles, albeit lighter than before. That said, laser skin resurfacing can be painful and results in side effects like bruising, swelling, and redness.
In extreme cases, laser skin resurfacing can cause complications that jeopardize your health. Therefore, laser skin resurfacing should not be used as the first resort unless you are truly desperate to remove your freckles and no other options work. It is possible to undergo the procedure safely, but it should not be chosen lightly.
Freckles are ultimately a manifestation of melanin in the skin, resulting in certain parts of your complexion getting darker in response to UV radiation. As a result, a freckle is like a permanent tan for a small part of your skin. In a sense, freckles are small-scale forms of hyperpigmentation, which makes them moderately susceptible to the same tools that treat the latter. One of the main supplements used to counteract discoloration from hyperpigmentation is vitamin C, an essential vitamin that plays a huge role in our development.
In addition to strengthening our bodies, vitamin C is directly involved in our skin's health and repair. Without it, our bodies would be completely incapable of collagen synthesis. As a result, supplementing our vitamin C levels promotes improved collagen synthesis, which can go a long way toward repairing the skin.
You might not know that vitamin C can also alter the pigment of our skin. Vitamin C actively inhibits our body's melanin production, reducing the effect of hyperpigmentation caused by UV radiation. In 2017, a review of several studies confirmed vitamin C's ability to impede melanin production, preventing skin from getting too dark.
This extends to freckles that manifest because of exposure to sunlight, one of the more common sources of freckles. Applying vitamin C can help reduce the dark color of your freckles to make them blend in with the rest of your complexion. A similar review from 2015 is tangentially related to these results.
In the 2015 review, several studies determined that vitamin C is an anti-inflammatory thanks to its antioxidant compounds. These effects reduce skin irritation and swelling, but this has a secondary effect of restoring uniformity to our complexions. These same abilities reduce redness in the skin caused by various factors, including UV radiation or inflammatory injuries. As a result, vitamin C can restore the complexion's original color and reduce the excess coloration caused by the injuries. While this does not directly relate to freckles, it serves as a testament to the capabilities of vitamin C insofar as pigmentation is concerned.
As strange as it sounds, green tea is not just a drink and can be used in skincare to great success. Green tea is one of several varieties harvested from the Camellia sinensis plant and, arguably, one of the best when used in skincare. Green tea extract has been used in several products to promote hydration and elasticity in dry or cracked skin. As a result, it has become one of the most popular additions to skincare regimens worldwide.
While there are limits to green tea's benefits, it is still widely accepted as a powerful supplement. This is primarily because green tea has a large concentration of powerful antioxidants called polyphenols. Specifically, the catechins in green tea are ideal for skincare regimens and are some of the most powerful tools in your arsenal. One of the lesser-known benefits of green tea is that it can restore uniformity to your complexion since it can counteract discoloration.
Like vitamin C, green tea is used to treat hyperpigmentation since it can reduce the intensity of skin discolored by melanin. There was a large study conducted by Japanese researchers on local women who were dealing with hyperpigmentation. The nutrients in green tea were shown to reduce this discoloration and actively improve the health of their complexion. This study confirmed that green tea could effectively counteract hyperpigmentation symptoms.
Once again, this study was not directly focused on freckles, but the connection between freckles and hyperpigmentation ensures that green tea will at least reduce the intensity of your freckles and make your complexion more prominent.
Green tea can be an excellent alternative to vitamin C, and both are preferable to the surgical route. The biggest problem you will have with the former two will be finding products that take advantage of natural resources.
Finding the Right Blend
Freckles are a common sight on several faces, especially those who spend significant time in the sun. While freckles can be appealing to some, others find them unsightly and prefer to eliminate them. It is important to note that there is no guaranteed way to remove freckles completely, and your genetic profile will affect how successful treatments are. That said, vitamin C and green tea are excellent tools for reducing the intensity of your freckles and bringing your complexion to the forefront. The biggest challenge is getting your hands on skincare products that use these compounds.
We at Teami have always espoused a natural approach to skincare, believing that organic substances are better for our skin's health. That is why we have cultivated a large catalog of natural compounds designed to enhance your skin and reduce discoloration. If your freckles bother you, we recommend our Hibiscus Infused Vitamin C Serum or our Green Tea Detox Mask. We encourage you to visit our website and pick your preferred product personally. After all, finding the right blend is a Teami effort.
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