Friday, August 16, 2013

Freckles are a common skin condition but you may wonder what exactly causes them. Dr. Edward Hill tells us more about freckles in todays 60 Second Housecall.

Dr. Hill:

Freckles are pigmented cells in the skin, grouped in small clumps. Freckles are usually tan or light brown, flat and very small. Sometimes they overlap and run together, so they may look larger.

People with fair complexions are most likely to have freckles because their skin contains less melanin. Melanin is a chemical produced by certain skin cells that helps protect the skin from sun damage by reflecting and absorbing ultraviolet rays.

People with fair skin have less melanin, but some of their melanocytes make more melanin when exposed to the sun. So instead of easily getting an even suntan, they get freckles.

Freckles are not harmful or the sign of a health problem. Some peoples freckles fade away almost completely in the winter and return in the summer. Other peoples freckles dont change much with sunlight and can be seen year-round. Freckles also tend to fade as people get older.

Whether youre freckled or not, wear sunscreen and follow sun-safety rules.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, Im Dr. Edward Hill.