Freckles are light brown spots on the skin caused by exposure to the sun or may occur naturally. They are more commonly found in fair-complexioned people. They are caused by an increase in the amount of melanin pigment in the skin. Two types of freckles occur: simple freckles that are small and round and sunburn freckles that are darker and have jagged edges. Here are 10 ways in which you can lighten the appearance of freckles or even get rid of them completely.
1. Chemical peel
The mode of action of a chemical peel is to remove the top layer of the skin known as epidermis. This removes any pigmentation or impurities lodged in this layer. The smooth, fresh, and lighter skin lying underneath is revealed. This helps reduce the appearance of freckles.
[wp_ad_camp_4]There are three types of chemical peels depending on the degree of potency — superficial peels, medium peels, and deep peels. Superficial peels are the mildest and consist of alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) or beta hydroxy acids (BHAs). AHAs are mild acids such as glycolic acid, lactic acid, citric acid, malic acid, or tartaric acid. They are usually found in fruits.
BHAs have the ability to penetrate deeper into the skin and thus are preferred over AHAs to remove deep seated spots. An example of a BHA is salicylic acid.
Medium peels use trichloroacetic acid (TCA) in concentrations ranging between 25% and 50%. However, the use of TCA beyond 35% concentration is not recommended due to the danger of scarring. TCA peels can remove freckles but repeated treatments are required to maintain results. You will have to apply sunscreen religiously for several months to protect the results obtained. Also, the skin takes longer to recover from the effects of a TCA peel treatment.
Deep peels use high concentrations of TCA or phenol to strip away more layers of skin. A 50% concentration of TCA can penetrate the reticular dermis. Phenol peels can permanently remove freckles. Repeated treatments are not required; a single treatment usually achieves the desired result. However, you will need greater protection from the sun for the rest of your life. Also, if the treatment is not done properly, you may be at risk of developing erythema or inflammation of skin.
Microdermabrasion removes the top layer of skin using tiny particles and is effective in lightening natural freckles or those that are caused by moderate exposure to the sun.
3. Skin lightening creams
Skin lightening creams that contain 0.5% retinol can be used to lighten freckles. Retinol is the clinical name for vitamin A. When applied to freckles, vitamin A gets absorbed into the skin and boosts skin cell turnover. The outer layer of the skin is encouraged to shed, revealing the lower layer that does not have freckles. A side effect of retinol creams is that they lighten the area around the freckles as well.
4. Laser treatments
Laser treatments target every individual freckle and they are very effective. The melanin (that the freckle is composed of) is burned off, leaving only the skin cell behind. Typically, 3 sessions of 10-15 minutes each are required. There may be temporary skin irritation but no long-term side effects have been reported.
For temporarily hiding freckles, a mineral based foundation or a cream foundation can be used. The color of your foundation should be between the color of your freckles and that of the rest of your face. If you have dry skin, a cream foundation will work best for you. Use a cotton ball or a makeup applicator to ensure that the foundation blends in well with your skin. Do not apply more than one layer because you may end up attracting attention to your freckles rather than concealing them. Remember to apply a layer of face powder in order to set the foundation.
6. Lemon juice
Lemon juice contains citric acid which is natural skin bleach. It can be used to lighten freckles. They are less effective on freckles caused by exposure to the sun because they tend to be darker and appear to be less uniform.
Use a cotton ball dipped in fresh lemon juice to massage your freckles. Leave it on for 10 minutes before washing off. With time, the appearance of freckles will be reduced.
7. Sour cream mask
Sour cream contains lactic acid, a mild acid that bleaches skin naturally. Apply sour cream directly onto your freckles and allow it to dry. Instead of washing it off, use a wash cloth to rub off the cream. Follow up with a moisturizer to prevent dryness. This method should be repeated daily for effective results.
Sour milk also has the same effects. You can rinse your skin with sour milk every day.
8. Fruit mask
Fruits contain natural acids that can bleach and lighten freckles. Mash several fruits together in a bowl and apply it to your freckles. Watch as the freckles lighten over time.
Particularly effective fruits are strawberry and kiwi. Mix together mashed strawberry and kiwi until you get a smooth and creamy consistency. Apply the mixture to your face and allow it to dry for 20 minutes. Wash off with cold water.
If strawberries and kiwi are not available, you can substitute them with apricots or cucumbers.
A mixture of honey and water should be warmed and then applied to the affected area. After allowing it to sit for a few minutes, it should be washed off lukewarm water.
A mask made of wheat germ and warm honey can also be applied to freckles. Wash off with warm water after 10 minutes. Finally, rinse with cold water.
Alternatively, you can apply a mixture of yoghurt and honey on your freckles for half an hour every day until visible results are obtained.
Buttermilk can help lighten facial freckles. Apply buttermilk on your freckles and leave it on for 10 minutes. Wash off with tepid water. You can also make a paste of buttermilk and oatmeal. This paste should be applied to freckles for half an hour and then washed off with cool water. This method should be repeated every day for best results.