Whether or not you’ve been enjoying fun in the sun with adequate sun protection, you may still notice your skin color darkening, and not always evenly. If you’ve noticed brown spots recently, you may be observing the development of freckles or solar lentigines. Which do you have? That depends on your natural skin tone and age.
Freckles (medical term: ephelis [singular] or ephelides [plural]) are:
Solar lentigines (singular: lentigo), also called “age spots,” are:
Lentigines are most often seen on the face and hands and most commonly on people with naturally light skin.
Freckles arise as a result of increased sun exposure and melanin production. So, your brown spots are likely freckles if:
Good news: freckles are not dangerous and require no treatment.
Solar lentigines are most often the result of sun damage—i.e., cumulative sun exposure over the course of decades. Unlike freckles, solar lentigines do not disappear when sun exposure stops. So, your brown spots may be solar lentigines if:
Although no one really wants “age spots,” these areas of hyperpigmentation are not dangerous, so no treatment is needed. However, lentigines often respond well to lightening treatments, such as:
A powerful combination these lightening ingredients can be found in Hale Cosmeceuticals’ SB-7 Skin Brightener.
Freckles and true age spots are not dangerous, but some skin cancers or pre-cancerous conditions can look very similar. You are always better served by erring on the side of caution and having areas of hyperpigmentation checked by your doctor or dermatologist if you observe:
Although sun protection will not lighten freckles or lentigines that have already developed, it can reduce further sun damage that can incite abnormal cell growth or malignancy. So, before you head outside, always make sure you have on adequate SPF and other protective gear.