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Freckles are darkly colored spots on the skin that develop due to the clustering of melanin-producing cells within the skin. They usually develop due to excessive sun exposure or genetic inheritance and are harmless.
Freckles may vary in size and shape but are generally small, light brown, and flat. Bigger freckles may result from overlapping of various small freckles.
Home Remedies for Freckles
Various home remedies employ natural ingredients to help lighten and fade freckles.
However, it is important to note that the efficacy of these remedies depends on an individual’s skin type and genetic predisposition to the development of freckles.
Note: Most of the following remedies are based on anecdotal evidence or are backed by limited scientific studies. While they are generally safe, it is essential to conduct a patch test of the remedies to check for any allergies, untoward reactions, or sensitivity.
1. Apply aloe vera gel
Aloe vera contains an active ingredient called aloesin, which can help lower skin pigmentation. (1) Hence, it is widely used in the treatment of freckles.
How to use:
- Extract some fresh aloe vera gel or purchase organic aloe vera gel.
- Apply the gel to the affected area and rinse after 15 minutes.
- Repeat the remedy daily until you see improvement.
2. Use almond oil
Almond oil is a good source of vitamins A and E, which help reduce pigmentation and nourish the skin at the same time. (2)
How to use:
- Heat some almond oil and massage 2–3 drops onto your face.
- Allow the skin to absorb the oil for an hour or overnight.
- Rinse with lukewarm water.
3. Dab some lemon
Lemon juice is thought to be an excellent natural bleaching agent due to its citric acid content. This bleaching property of lemon can help fade freckles.
How to use:
- Squeeze fresh lemon juice from half a lemon and apply it to the affected areas using a cotton ball. If your skin is sensitive to the juice, dilute it before using.
- Wash your skin with water after 10–15 minutes.
- Repeat the application once or twice a week.
4. Apply yogurt
The lactic acid in yogurt helps block the activity of tyrosinase enzyme, which controls melanin production and thus hyperpigmentation. (4)
How to use:
- Massage some yogurt on the freckled skin for 15–20 minutes.
- Wash your skin with water.
- Use this remedy daily for about a month for results.
Besides using home remedies, it is also important to take proper care of your skin to help control and prevent the appearance of freckles. The following self-care tips can be helpful:
- Avoid going out in the sun. It is suggested to avoid sunlight, especially between 10 am and 4 pm.
- Use sun-protective clothing. Always wear full-sleeved clothes when stepping outdoors. Collared shirts can help protect the back of the neck. Moreover, opt for natural fibers such as cotton, which allow the skin to breathe and keep it cool. Wear wide-brimmed hats to help protect your face, neck, and ears.
- Apply sunscreen. Use a broad-spectrum, waterproof sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher. Apply generous amounts of sunscreen to all areas that are not protected by clothing, even on the days when there is no strong sunlight, as UV rays are always present.
- Increase vitamin C intake. Since vitamin C is helpful in the treatment of freckles, you must consume vitamin C-rich foods, (3) such as citrus fruits, kiwi, and leafy greens.
- Use tinted moisturizers. You can also apply moisturizers that cover your freckles and contain SPF as well.
Most-Asked Questions About Freckles
Are freckles inheritable?
Genetic predisposition is a major contributing factor to the development of freckles. Therefore, it is highly likely that you will develop freckles if either of your parents has them.
How are moles different from freckles?
Freckles are a result of increased pigmentation in a few skin cells on the outer layer of the skin.
On the other hand, moles develop due to an increase in the number of pigment-producing cells, known as melanocytes. Moreover, moles are bigger in size and slightly raised.
You must check your mole regularly for any growth or changes, as they can indicate skin cancer.
Are freckles permanent?
Freckles generally fade with time or as age increases. They may also disappear in the winter season. Protecting your skin from sun exposure or undergoing treatments such as laser treatments can help fade freckles over time.
Freckles are rarely a serious problem as they usually fade with time or disappear in the winter season and reappear in the summer.
Whatever the case, you must protect your skin from excessive sun exposure and visit a doctor if you notice any changes or are concerned about their appearance.
You can also try different home remedies to help treat your freckles and improve your skin health in general.