Freckles, freckles, go away

Originally Published: April 27, 2001 - Last Updated / Reviewed On: March 16, 2015
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Dear Alice,

When I was young, I had no freckles. As I got older, my face began to form freckles. Also, darker freckles are forming. Is there a way I can remove the freckles or stop them from forming?

Sincerely, Bobbie

Dear Bobbie,

To slow down or avoid the further development of freckles, as well as to prevent the ones you already have from getting darker, you may want to reduce your sun exposure and use sunscreen when you're out in the sun. Some folks try to use bleach to lighten their freckles, but it won't help, plus it can be irritating to the skin. The only way to remove freckles is through laser surgery, which can be costly.

What you may not know is that freckles can be a risk factor for skin cancer (melanoma). According to the American Cancer Society, fair-skinned folks who are prone to freckling or burning are at particularly high risk for skin cancer. Be sure to apply broad spectrum sunscreen of at least SPF 15,  and reapply often especially if sweating or spending time in water. If you are very sensitive, you can further avoid sun exposure by wearing a hat or shirt while out in the sun. This will not only help with the freckles, as mentioned earlier, but they have the added benefit of reducing skin cancer risk. If either of these concerns is real to you, or for more information, you might want to see a dermatologist to talk about your options.

Remember, freckly-faced friend, that what you want to disappear, others may find attractive. Perhaps it will simply take time for you to learn to love your newly decorated landscape. You may ultimately find that you would like them to stay. However, if you prefer to limit their popping up, know that you have preventive tools.