Freckles, which typically appear as a result of genetics or sun exposure, can add a playful, naturally beautiful aspect to your skin. These little brown dots are almost always harmless, but you can choose to lose them as a simple matter of aesthetics. Available treatments range from home remedies to high-tech dermatological work -- these methods may not completely rid your body of freckles, but they do help fade them if that's your desire.
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Massage fresh lemon juice into the freckly areas of your body each day, avoiding any sensitive spots. Lemons contain limonene and citric acid, which act as natural skin-lightening agents. Regular application can reduce the darkness of freckles.
Increase your intake of cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and kale, and cut back on caffeine, nicotine and alcohol. According to natural health expert and author Katrina Ellis, this helps normalize your body's estrogen production -- too much estrogen leads to unstable melanin levels, resulting in freckles.
Apply a fading cream to the affected areas, closely following the manufacturer's directions. Typically, you massage these creams only on the freckled parts of your body up to three times daily. Fading creams rely on ingredients, such as hydroquinone or natural licorice extract, to halt the production of melanin and lighten dark marks. These products fade freckles and spots gradually over time; it may take about three months to notice results.
Visit your dermatologist for an in-clinic mask treatment. This procedure uses de-pigmenters such as achillea, bark and mulberry extracts to diminish the appearance of freckles and spots. For a more intensive treatment, request a trichloroacetic acid or glycolic acid peel on the affected areas. One TCA peel can reduce the appearance of freckles by 70 to 80 percent, but you'll need about a week of downtime afterward. Gentler glycolic-acid peels require no downtime, but it takes about six treatments to fade freckles by about 40 to 50 percent.
Consult a dermatologist to see if laser treatment is a viable option for your freckles. In these 20- to 45-minute sessions, a licensed dermatologist uses intense, targeted light to fade pigment. These treatments typically cost a few hundred dollars each and may require multiple sessions.
REFERENCES & RESOURCES
- Cleveland Clinic: Diseases and Conditions: Moles, Freckles, Skin Tags, Lentigines and Seborrheic Keratoses
- The Daily Mail: Fade Those Freckles: Are Sun Spots and Blotchy Skin Making You Look Old? We've Got the Solution
- Katrina Ellis: Remove Freckles Naturally
- Westside Dermatology: Freckle Removal
- Plunkett Pharmaceuticals: Superfade FAQs
- Columbia University: Go Ask Alice!: Freckles, Freckles, Go Away