Freckles Vs Sun Spots: What’s The Difference?

sun spots vs freckles

Freckles are tiny spots less than 5 mm in diameter where the skin cells have resulted in extra pigmentation. These are caused due to genetic factors and are often uniform in color and vary as per the skin tone. Sunspots are similar to freckles but have a 0.2-2 cm diameter. Read on to check the difference between the two.

What’s The Difference Between Freckles And Sun Spots?

1. Visibility

Freckles can be seen in lighter skin types and are associated with the genetic factor. MC1R gene controls the appearance of freckles and controls the skin color and red hair color too.

Those with a fair complexion are prone to the development of sunspots though this is common in an older population, mainly those in their mid-30s. When the skin is repeatedly exposed to the sun, melanin is produced by the skin cells, resulting in the formation of sunspots.

2. Lifespan

With the increase in age, freckles fade away but the sunspots do not. Hence if you want to remove the sun spots, a special treatment process needs to be followed.

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3. Impact

Both freckles and sun spots are harmless. But it is important to check if there are any changes in appearance, as it could indicate malignant melanoma or skin cancer.

4. Areas of Appearance

Freckles appear on the face, neck, arms or chest whereas sunspots appear in any of the areas that are exposed to direct sunlight.

5. Ways of Reducing

If you don’t want the freckles to appear, there is no way of doing it as it is mostly affected by genetics. So you can just hide those marks in makeup. There are certain over-the-counter products available to reduce the pigmentation of freckles, such as phenol, acid peels, Trichloracetic acid (TCA) and alpha hydroxyl acids. Patch tests are mandatory while using any of these products to avoid any burning sensation on the skin.

For the removal of sunspots, treatment can be done with retinoid creams, hydroquinone, cryotherapy, laser therapy and chemical peels. These have to be done under the supervision of a professional skin care specialist to avoid any side effects.

When you have freckles or sunspots, it is crucial to monitor them regularly to assess the chances of skin cancer. While going out in harsh sunlight, it is recommended to wear a hat and sunscreen lotion to avoid the harmful effect on the skin.

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