Why Do I Get Freckles?

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  • Written By: Andrew Kirmayer
  • Edited By: Shereen Skola
  • Last Modified Date: 05 September 2019
  • Copyright Protected:
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Freckles are spots that form on the skin that are often brown. They can also be tan, black, yellow, or reddish in color, while some are just slightly different in pigment from the skin in general. You can get freckles from being out in the sun without protective sunscreen lotion. Some people are also more genetically prone to developing freckles than others. The marks typically form when skin cells that produce pigment are damaged and this pigment, called melanin, becomes more concentrated in certain areas.

Melanin is a dark pigment that is usually brown to black in color. If little of it is released, the skin is generally much lighter; when more is produced, then the skin gets browner. Skin cells called melanocytes release the pigment chemical when exposed to sunlight, in order to protect the lower layers of skin. Instead of being spread out evenly over the skin, melanin can clump together to form freckles. You are typically more likely to get freckles if your skin is light; people with blue eyes and red hair are usually more susceptible as well.


Children often get freckles at a young age. Light skin and other genetic factors can make people more freckled. In some cases, these genetic factors can also leave you prone to more serious problems such as skin cancer. Freckles can appear as a type that is round and either tan or brown. They are usually hereditary, but you can also get freckles called lentigines, small dark spots on the skin that are typically caused by sun damage, and which don't fade in the wintertime.

Freckles can be caused by ultraviolet radiation from the sun, like other skin problems related to sun exposure. They can appear in children and become more numerous with age, especially if you continue to be unprotected in the sun. Most of the skin damage that occurs from the sun is permanent and adds up over time. When you get freckles, it is often advised to use suntan lotion whenever outside, to prevent any further damage to your skin.

Some people seek medical treatments that often involve lasers to remove cosmetic freckles. You can get the spots anywhere on your body. The most common places are usually on the face, arms, and shoulders, as well as anywhere you tend to get sunburn the most. If you plan to get freckles removed, a dermatologist often examines them to diagnose other conditions that may be present.



Discuss this Article

Post 3
I read that if there are water drops on the skin while being exposed to the sun, freckles will form which is why it's important to dry up after swimming. Is this true?
Post 2

@ysmina-- I agree but sun also has a huge impsct. I started getting freckles from a young age too but they increased immensely when I was around six because I started playing outside a lot more.

Even now, when I go to the beach, I get more freckles. And the ones I have become larger and darker.

I'm scared that they may lead to a skin disorder when I'm older.

Post 1

I used to think that freckles only formed in response to too much sun exposure. But then I had my daughter and she started getting freckles before she was even one. She wasn't over-exposed to sunlight. I always covered her skin before going out and I would put baby sunscreen on her face and hands.

The pediatrician said however that this is normal and due to genetics.

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