I know all about freckles! I have them mostly on my arms now, but I used to have them splattered across my nose just like Alyssa.
Although Alyssa’s allergies have made her sick and caused some dark circles under her eyes, she was still willing to let me take a picture of the cute freckles on her nose. Actually, when she saw me struggling to take a picture of my arm, that’s when Alyssa offered her own freckles for the photo shoot. Thank you Alyssa!
What Is A Freckle?
I guess we better start at the beginning.
This is how the Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines a freckle:
Freckle (an adjective): any of the small brownish spots in the skin due to augmented melanin production that increase in number and intensity on exposure to sunlight
That sounds a bit complicated for such tiny little spots!
Melanin is the pigment in our skin (the stuff that makes you tan a brownish color) which protects your skin from ultraviolet light exposure. However, my skin doesn’t have a whole lot of melanin and I’ve never have a brownish tan of any hue. All of my melanin joins together to make little, flat, light-brown dots which are called freckles or ephelides.
I bet you didn’t know that word.
Ephelis is the Greek word for one freckle and ephelides are lots of freckles. Ephelides is pronounced so that it sounds like eh-feel-A-deez and ephelis sounds like eh-feel-iss.
Anyway, my ephelides have faded and remain faded because I do not get a whole lot of exposure to the sun. No, I am not a vampire even though I stay out of the sun on purpose. People with light complexions are very prone to get sunburned and to have freckles. I don’t really want a sunburn and I don’t want more freckles! Scientifically, the same thing that determines red hair is closely related to the thing that determines skin color which is why most redheads have freckles.
Fascinatingly Fun Freckle Facts
Now I’m going to share some facts about freckles that will make you wonder how you ever got this far into life without knowing this stuff!
Does tanning affect freckles?
- Yes! Tanning will make freckles get darker and have babies! The ultraviolet waves found in the sun’s rays or tanning beds will definitely make freckles more prominent.
Can freckles become cancerous?
- Nope! Freckles cannot be cancerous. Just make sure that you go to the dermatologist if you are not sure that the brown spot on your arm is really a freckle.
Can you get rid of freckles?
- You can’t get rid of freckles as fast as I can eat a candy bar, but you can get rid of them. Freckles sit on top of the skin, so it is really easy to use lasers to remove the brown color.
Can you prevent freckles?
- Yes and no. Freckles are genetic, so if you are coded to have freckles, unless you live in a cave without any sunlight at all for your entire life, you will more than likely have a few pop out. However, if you use a strong sunscreen and stay out of the sun as much as possible, you can prevent most of the freckles from forming. I use sunblock that is SPF100. I know! I know! It is just ridiculous! Oh my goodness! You are laughing at me! Don’t you know I can hear you? What are you doing now? Don’t hold you brown arm up so that I can see it!! Put your arm down right now!
What makes freckles turn darker?
- Freckle formations are triggered by exposure to sunlight. Specifically, the UV-B radiation activates the melanocytes to increase melanin production and that makes the freckles get darker. By the way, melanoncytes are cells that are located in the bottom layer of the skin’s epidermis and they are what produces melanin in the body.
Do freckles hurt?
- I’m being serious. 🙂 You better not be laughing. 😉
When Alyssa was a little girl, we were sitting on the front porch together watching the sun steadily drop towards the horizon. Her tanned little arm was laying on top of my not-tanned-at-all and freckle-covered arm.
“Mommy?” Alyssa asked.
“Do your freckles hurt?” she asked in all seriousness.
Staring at the top of her white blond head and trying hard to suppress my laughter, I answered, “No, I don’t feel them at all.”
“What if I mash them like this?” she asked as she pressed my freckles with her tiny index finger.
“Nope. I still don’t feel them.”
“Do you like being spotted?” Alyssa continued.
“Not particularly,” I answered. “I would love to be tanned like you, Daddy and Aunt Audrey.”
Alyssa lifted her head up and looked into my eyes as she said, “I don’t want you to be brown. I like your dots.” Then she pressed her tiny little lips on my arm and kissed my freckles.
Yeah. My child melted my heart.