In a nutshell, freckles are simply a sprinkling of the pigment protein, melanin, which appears on the skin when the skin is exposed to UV rays. Melanin is basically a chemical made by skin cells called “melanocytes”. It is produced to protect the skin from the sun´s harmful ultraviolet rays. It protects the skin by reflecting or absorbing the UV rays.
Now, let´s talk about the matter at hand in detail—what causes freckles on the face exactly?
In most cases, freckle is usually triggered by the over-exposure to sunlight. In order to protect the skin from the sun´s harmful UV rays, the skin produces melanin, which causes freckles to appear or become dark and brown. Now, in some cases, the melanocytes (melanin) spread out evenly and appear something like a tan. However, that doesn´t happen to everyone. In other people, the melanocytes group together in clumps and cause a cluster of freckles to suddenly appear. Therefore, if you get freckles when you bask in the sunshine, you should understand that your skin is more sensitive to the sunlight.
Although freckles are most commonly found on the face, as this is the part of the body that gets exposed to the sunlight the most, they can actually show up anywhere on the skin.
Sunlight is not the sole factor that influences freckles. It can be caused due to genetics too. Whether you call them – gingers, the devil’s spawn or angel-kissed, be sure to call redheads out of the sun because along with their fiery tresses comes a powerful propensity to develop melanoma, a particularly deadly form of skin cancer.
So why do redheads tend to have more freckles?
[easy-tweet tweet=”Myth: Gingers don`t have souls! Fact: Gingers earn a freckle for every soul they steal!” via=”no” hashtags=”skinwearein”]
Because both red hair and freckles are usually caused by the same gene, MC1R. The gene perches on melanocytes and controls the pigment balance in both hair and skin. When MC1R is working the way it normally does, it converts any pigment the body produces into eumelanin, which is responsible for black and brown hair and skin colours. When the MC1R gene is “broken,” it allows a rarer type of human pigment, pheomelanin, to build up in the body. Pheomelanin causes reddish hair and the rusty look of most freckles. Variations of the MC1R may also control the number of freckles people have.
Some people just can’t resist a redhead. Do gingers smell different?!
Do all redhaired irish? Definitely not! Read “I am not Irish!“
Basically, your genetics can decide how those darker specks will show up. People who have lighter skin and blue or green eyes are generally likelier to have freckles than those with darker skin. Fair-skinned people have less melanin in their skin. Hence, when the sunlight causes their skin to make produce melanin, they often form freckles instead of getting an even suntan like other people with darker complexions.
It is completely natural for a person to have freckles, don`t panic. Thankfully, they aren´t harmful. You shouldn´t be worried if you see new freckles appearing or if your freckles appear overnight. The appearance of freckles is not a sign of health problems and complications. However, you should note that people with freckled skin are more susceptible to skin cancer as we mentioned above. Miiskin helps you to track your moles and freckles for changes over time by using photos to create snapshots of your skin and moles’ appearance.
If you want to prevent freckles, we would advise you to use sunscreens with an SPF (Sun Protection Factor) of at least 50. You should also seek shade or stay indoors during the peak sun hours of 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.