Freckles aren’t limited to fair-skinned redheads; however, they’re most common among red-haired people. Between 4 – 5% of the total world population have freckles.

What are freckles?

Freckles are tiny, harmless marks that appear on the surface of the skin. Some people are more prone to getting freckles than others. It depends on their genes and skin types. 

Newborn babies don’t have freckles. Freckles first show up in children between the age of two and four years old, this is due to the fact that the skin needs a certain amount of time exposed to the sun to start making those melanin spots, and they may disappear or become less noticeable as they grow up into adults. People may continue to get more freckles until they’re in their 20s.

What causes freckles?

Freckles are caused by both genetics and sun exposure. Freckles appear when melanin, the pigment responsible for giving the skin its color, builds up under the skin. Freckles may appear brown, red, or tanned. They commonly develop in areas of the body that are frequently exposed to sunlight, like your hands, face, and neck.

Sun exposure

Skin cells produce extra melanin so it can protect your skin from sunburn. Freckles tend to appear when you’re exposed to the sun because of this.

Freckles can occur over a large area of the body and may reappear or get darker during the summer months. New skin cells replace old skin cells during the winter months, so freckles tend to fade or disappear.


Genetics also play a major role in who is more prone to freckling based on which type of pigment their body produces.

There are two kinds of melanin produced by the body: pheomelanin and eumelanin. Eumelanin shields the skin from UV rays while pheomelanin does not. The type of melanin produced by the body depends on a gene called MCR1. Dark-skinned people tend to produce more eumelanin than light-skinned people, so they are less likely to develop freckles.

Moreover, eye freckles are very similar to moles on the skin. Melanin is produced by cells called melanocytes. When these cells clump together, they form a spot on the skin called an eye freckle.

What is the difference between moles and freckles?

Two of the most frequently observed skin growths are moles and freckles. To tell the difference between the two, one of the easiest ways is to just feel the growth’s surface.

Moles are usually raised whereas freckles tend to be flat. If you look at the pigment, you can get an idea as to whether it’s a mole or a freckle. A mole is usually darker than your skin tone, and a freckle is typically only a few shades lighter than your skin color and may appear dark red or light brown. Freckles generally appear in large clusters, but moles appear in one spot.

The more significant difference is that moles can develop into skin cancer, whereas freckles can’t. Any mole that is larger than a pencil eraser should be checked out for cancer.

How do you get rid of freckles?

There are several options on how to get rid of freckles, and it usually costs $350 to $1000 through surgeries and medical treatments. It depends on how many parts of the body need to have the freckles removed. It is also best to consult with a board-certified specialist to assist with the results you’re seeking.

1. Sunscreen

It may seem counterintuitive, but you’ll still get your freckles if you wear sunscreen. The sun is always stronger than we think. If you spend time in the sun without sunscreen, your body will produce more melanin. Above all, we don’t want to risk getting sunburned so you should always wear sunscreen, even on cloudy days. 

2. Laser treatment

Laser treatments use pulses of focused, intense laser light to target damaged areas on the skin. There are different types and brands of lasers. According to a 2015 study, the 1064 Q-Switched NdYAG laser is effective for removing freckles. Results from this study showed that using laser treatment lightened more than 50% of freckles in 62% of participants.

3. Cryosurgery

Cryosurgery freezes and destroys abnormal skin cells using extremely cold temperatures. Cryotherapy is generally safe and requires no anesthesia and little postoperative recovery time. Side effects can include hyperpigmentation, bruising, and blisters. Cryosurgery seldom causes scarring.

4. Topical fading cream

Bleaching creams are available both over the counter (OTC) and by prescription (Rx). Many fading creams include hydroquinone, which is thought to suppress melanin formation and lighten darkened areas.

5. Topical retinoid cream

Retinoid cream is a vitamin A compound. It helps to improve sun-damaged skin and lighten freckles. A 2014 review found that retinoids may protect against skin cancer by absorbing ultraviolet B radiation (UVB). This could help prevent new freckle formation.

6. Chemical peel

A chemical peel uses chemical solutions to exfoliate and remove dead cells from the surface of the skin. To get rid of freckles, a mild skin peel containing glycol­ic acid or trichlro­acetic acid penetrates into the skin’s mid­dle layers. After the damaged skin has been removed, new skin is regenerated.

7. Natural remedies

There are several natural treatments for freckles that people swear by. None are scientifically proven to be effective. However, most are unlikely to be harmful when used in moderation. The list of natural treatments includes:

Lemon juice: Apply lemon juice with a cotton ball directly to your face, then wash it off. It is thought to make skin lighter.

Honey: Combine honey with salt or sugar for a scrub. Honey may help in lightening pigmentation.

Buttermilk: You can apply buttermilk directly to your skin. Leave it on for 10 minutes, then rinse it off with warm water. You can also combine buttermilk with oats to make a mask. Buttermilk contains lactic acid, which may help lighten your freckles.

Sour cream: Apply sour cream directly to your face, and then wash it away after a few minutes. Sour cream contains lactic acid, just like buttermilk.

Yogurt: Apply yogurt directly to your skin, then leave it on for a couple of minutes. Yogurt also has lactic acid.

Onions: Rub the onion over your skin and then rinse your skin with warm water. Onions can be used as an exfoliant and may help lighten dark spots.

Who has the most freckles in the world?

Freckles occur among people with heritage from around the world. Because they’re often associated with people with red hair, people with freckles are often associated with Ireland and Scotland. However, anyone can get freckles.

How long do henna freckles last?

Henna freckles mean applying henna dye directly to the face in an attempt to create realistic-looking freckles that last longer than makeup but not as long as semi-permanent tattooing. Henna freckles can last around 2 to 6 days with proper care, like moisturizing daily and avoiding exfoliants.

Henna freckle color varies depending on your skin type, the temperature and humidity when applied, and the time you’ve had the henna. In general, henna freckles are light brown and subtle. Fake freckles with henna will look natural if it’s created with varying sizes, placements, and length of time the henna ink is allowed to dry.

Can you tan if you have freckles?

Yes, some people with freckles may be able to get tanned in the sunlight, but it’s best to prevent direct exposure to the sun. You can also utilize other means to tan the skin, such as:

  • Tanning lotions and sprays
  • Bronzers
  • Tanning beds