Freckles may be painless and harmless, but they can also be embarrassing. No one is born with freckles, although they’re believed to be genetic. These brown or light tan spots are triggered by sun exposure.
Freckles are just small clusters of cells that contain melanin. They’re flat, unlike moles, which are raised.
As a child, other people find freckles cute or endearing, but adults usually want to get rid of them. Here are four ways to fade or get rid of freckles.
1. Fading and Retinoid Creams
Fading, or bleaching, and retinoid creams can help diminish the appearance of freckles or get rid of them altogether.
Fading creams usually contain the ingredient hydroquinone, which suppresses melanin production and lightens darker areas of the skin.
But here’s the thing about hydroquinone: no one really knows if it’s safe to use. The FDA recognized creams with 2% hydroquinone to be generally safe, but the ingredient was later found to cause cancer in rats and skin darkening over time.
Retinoid creams may be the better option for making those freckles disappear. Creams with retinoid, a vitamin A compound, can help lighten freckles and improve the appearance of sun-damaged skin.
They can also prevent future freckles by offering photoprotection.
2. Laser Therapy
Laser therapy is a popular way to get rid of freckles. This treatment uses intense, focused light to target damaged skin. Some lasers are more effective at lightening freckles than others.
According to Dore Aesthetics, which performs freckle removal in Singapore, pigmentation removal technology targets dark pigments in the skin and doesn’t affect surrounding tissue. These treatments can reach deeper layers of the skin that chemical peels cannot.
While costlier than creams and chemical peels, laser therapy is one of the most reliable and effective ways to get rid of freckles completely.
3. Chemical Peel
Chemical peels are exactly what they sound like: chemicals that peel off, or exfoliate, areas of the skin that are damaged. Peels containing trichloroacetic acid or glycolic acid are most effective against freckles and can penetrate the middle layers of the skin.
A chemical peel can cause a few side effects, including:
It can take up to two weeks for the skin to heal from a chemical peel.
Cryosurgery uses liquid nitrogen to literally freeze and destroy skin cells that are abnormal. The operation is safe, requires little recovery time and does not require the use of anesthesia.