Are freckles a sign of sun damage?

Close up of woman's face with freckles, sipping beverage out of mug

We see many patients in our practice who are concerned about maintaining healthy skin. When individuals see our doctors and are presenting with freckles, it is important that these patients understand that freckles are actually a sign of sun-damaged skin.

What are freckles?

Freckles, which are medically referred to as “ephelids,” are indeed a sign of sun exposure and damage. Freckles are caused by the skin producing more melanin (pigmentation) as a natural response to UV ray exposure from the sun. In a way, it is the skin’s reaction to protect itself from further skin damage. Many patients who have freckles are often fair-skinned and will notice their freckles fading in the winter and darkening in the summer. Individuals who deal with freckles may also find that they burn easily and have difficulty maintaining a tan.

What causes freckles?

Freckles may be present in childhood, but over time with continued sun exposure, freckles can darken. Men and women who obtain a recent sunburn or who visit a tanning bed may find that it triggers the onset of new freckles. These freckles are more known to be associated with one’s risk of melanoma skin cancer, so it is important that patients protect their skin and avoid tanning beds, which can significantly increase one’s chances of developing skin cancer in the future.

When should I worry about my freckles?

It is critical for patients who have freckles to monitor them regularly, and to visit a dermatologist at least once a year for an annual skin cancer screening. Any changes in freckles or moles on the body may be indicative of a problem and needs to be evaluated by a professional. New growths, larger freckles, or other concerns on the skin may require an appointment at Hollywood Dermatology and Cosmetic Specialists.

Learn more about the signs of sun damaged skin

At Hollywood Dermatology and Cosmetic Specialists, we understand that having healthy skin is significant to you. If you are ready to discuss the signs of sun damage and reduce the appearance of damaged skin, call our practice today at (954) 961-1200 to book an appointment at any one of our seven convenient office locations throughout the area of South Florida.

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