Freckles are flat uniform pigmented spots of skin which vary in colour from reddish tones, light to dark browns or even black depending on skin colour and ethnicity. They are hereditary or appear due to UV exposure, and predominantly occur in areas of high sun susceptibility such as nose, cheeks upper shoulders and arms. Freckles are most commonly seen in people of fair complexion and can present at as early as 12 months of age. They present as flat macular discolourations of the skin which often increase in number and appear darker in summer and lighter in winter.
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Freckles are harmless, however if quite prominent they can be considered unappealing. Treatment of freckles is performed using a pigment laser or a Q Switch laser depending on their colour. A skin care regime is advised to assist in maintaining clearance which includes cosmeceutical products such as vitamin A based products and diligent use of an effective sunscreen. Lightening products may also be recommended.
Immediately post treatment the age spot will appear darker in colour, the spot and area surrounding may feel warm and appear slightly pink-red in colour. Redness and warmth subsides within a few hours of treatment. The colour of the freckles continues to deepen for several days. It is common to see micro-crusting over the freckles, the darker the colour the more crusting can be expected. This crusting is a normal effect and can be expected to resolve within 7 days following treatment. 1- 3 treatments are usually sufficient for dark freckles. Once the pigment has moved to the skin’s surface and has flaked off, the age/sun spot may appear lighter in colour or may be completely removed.
Maintenance treatments may be warranted every so often as new ones appear or faint ones darken. Clearance can be maintained by incorporating cosmeceutical products to counteract sun damage as well as the diligent use of sunscreen.