The difference between freckles and sunspots
Freckles and sunspots seem very similar, small cute spots on our skin, that often give a natural blushed effect on our face. Anyways, freckles and sunspots are not exactly the same thing!
Freckles VS Sunspots
Freckles are flat circular spots on the skin that can look like many small ‘dots.’ Essentially, they are excess melanin deposits that were stimulated into production due to UV light penetration.
Moreover, they act like sunscreens and are a natural way to block the UV rays from penetrating into the skin. In particular, they protect areas of the skin that are sensitive to ultraviolet light.
Therefore, freckles are a good indicator that you should be applying sunscreen regularly and generously to prevent sun damage.
Sunspots are larger in size than freckles (.2-2.0 centimetres) and they commonly appear with ageing, that's why they are also called 'age spots'.
Sunspots can start forming in the mid-thirties or forties. With repeated sun exposure over years, the skin cells start to produce melanin, forming the sunspots.
They can only fade if the sun is avoided for a long enough period of time.
Some more differences
Furthermore, freckles presence on the skin is due to genetics, they are hereditary but their activation is due to sun exposure. In contrast, sunspots appear with ageing.
Freckles typically fade away with age and even seasons whereas sunspots tend to stick around longer. Because of this, sunspots can require skin treatments for removal.
Neither freckles nor sunspots are harmful, but to make sure these aren't a sign of skin cancer, it is important to monitor their appearance.
It is important to prevent sun spots from appearing on the skin, mainly by using a broad-spectrum sunscreen which protects against both UVA and UVB rays and taking the necessary precautions for sun exposure.
The importance of your skintype
How your skin reacts (the appearance of freckles and/or sunspots) and how your skin tans depends on your skintype, which is genetically determined.
People who have more dark skin naturally produce more melanin (pigment). This pigment in the cell will cover the DNA so that the harmful UV rays cannot damage your skin cells. It is a natural defense mechanism.
This doesn't mean that people with darker skin shouldn't protect their skin. It is true that fair skin burns more quickly (due to UVB rays), but the UVA rays that cause skin ageing have the same effect on every skintype.
What is melanin?
Melanin is the natural pigment that gives our skin its colour. The production of melanin protects us against harmful UV radiation from the sun. When our pigment cells (melanocytes) produce too much melanin or are disturbed, pigment spots may appear. The development of pigmentation spots is often due to too much exposure to the sun but can also be caused by other factors.
Learn more and discover your skin's needs
Because UV rays, pigmentation and skin ageing are all related to each other, I collected all the information in a skintip.
What can Nomige do for you?
At Nomige we look into your DNA so that we can gain more insights into your skin ageing process. In the lab we analyse several genes involved in collagen homeostasis, antioxidant protection, barrier function and skin hydration.
Based on your DNA profile, we know what risks you are carrying and we develop products whose ingredients can counteract these risks.
Questions about pigmentation?
Discover Dr. Barbara Geusens' tips about pigmentation. Don't hesitate to contact us if you have any other questions.
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