Is It A Freckle Or An Age Spot?

Distinguishing between freckles and age spots can be a difficult task to handle. This is because of the many similar characteristics of both. These include the fact that they are both small spots found on the skin in exposed areas and that their appearance is associated with the exposure of the skin to sunlight.

Age spots are dark blemishes on the skin surface, caused mainly by overexposure to sunlight. The ultraviolet radiation from the sun is the cause of the spots. The skin has a layer of melanin. Melanin is a dark pigment produced by the body to protect the skin from ultraviolet radiation. It is the one that is responsible for determining the skin color. When the skin is exposed to UV radiation, more melanin is produced for protection. When the person is growing old, the bits of melanin in the skin clamp together and form small blemishes on the skin surface known as age spots. They are more common with aging people hence the name age spots.

Although the ultraviolet radiation is the main cause of these rays, genetics is believed to also take part in the formation of the age spots. Genetics dictates the skin color, hair color and hence determines how vulnerable to ultraviolet radiation one is going to be. Tanning beds and sun bathing makes the symptoms worse hence it is discouraged for those with age spots.

Freckles on the other hand are caused by uneven distribution of melanin in the body. A freckle is simply an uneven deposit of melanin on one part of the skin. They are common with people who are light skinned. The causes are many. The first one is ultraviolet rays. The rays trigger production of more melanin which forms the freckle. Another cause of freckles is heredity. Two people may be exposed to the same intensity of sunlight and yet differ in the formation of freckles. This is because the formation of freckles will depend on other factors like the skin type and color, which are determined by the genetic make-up of a person.

Most freckles are uniformly colored on a person’s body depending on the skin color of the person involved. They tend to darken after exposure to sunlight and become lighter in the colder seasons. Freckles unlike age spots are not limited to aging people. The can appear on the skin of people as young as one or two years old. There are two types of freckles namely simple freckles and sunburn freckles. Simple freckles are normally darker and larger while sunburn freckles are relatively smaller and lighter.

age spots

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