Why Do I Have Freckles? Microneedling For Age Spots & Freckles

  • Dermatology
  • dermatology - Skin Care
  • October 18, 2022

Freckles are caused by excess melanin production. These spots are unpleasant for some. Can microneedling help remove freckles and age spots?

Can Your Doctor Help Clear Your Freckles?

Freckles are tiny, harmless spots that splatter across the face, arms, chest, and back. Many people embrace freckles as beauty marks. However, others struggle with confidence for years, preferring smooth, freckle-free skin. Dermatologists and estheticians have a deep understanding of how the skin works. This knowledge birthed procedures like microneedling, which can significantly reduce freckles over time.

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What are these tiny spots anyway?

The basal layer of the skin contains melanin, a compound that gives hair, skin, and eyes pigment. Melanin also protects the skin from the sun, producing more as needed to absorb some of the ultraviolet (UV) light. The melanocytes, cells that produce melanin, are also responsible for skin color. Sometimes, extra melanin can collect in one spot, creating a freckle. Over time, several melanin spots gather and stay around the face, hands, back, and chest. Freckles are usually red, brown, or tan. This phenomenon is also the cause of more prominent age spots.

Why do we get freckles?

Scientists link freckles to genetics and excess sun exposure. People with darker skin and hair produce more UV-absorbing melanin and are less likely to develop freckles. On the other hand, people with lighter skin and hair can develop freckles. Freckles first appear in children, and excess exposure to the sun over the years can cause more freckles to form. People with freckles are likely to see more during the summer and fewer in the winter. Sun exposure causes more melanin production, causing old freckles to look more pronounced and new freckles to form. Genetics also plays a role in freckles’ degree, size, and color.

Can microneedling help?

Freckles are harmless and do not pose any health risks. However, some people want to remove these spots for cosmetic purposes. Completely removing freckles is difficult, but microneedling is a fantastic procedure that can give patients smoother, clearer skin. The process involves pricking the skin with tiny needles and breaking up old skin cells. These incisions stimulate a reaction from the skin to create more elastin and collagen while discarding old skin cells faster. Since the uppermost part of the skin has several layers, microneedling patients will experience fresh, smooth skin hidden underneath.

What should you expect during microneedling?

Microneedling has several uses, including healing acne, wrinkles, age spots, minor scars, and, yes, freckles. A board-certified dermatologist or an esthetician can perform microneedling. There are also at-home microneedling kits, which can cause more damage if misused. Microneedling is a quick procedure with sessions lasting just 20 minutes. The dermatologist will first use a topical agent to numb the area. Next, the dermatologist uses a microneedling wand with needles at different lengths. These needles penetrate the skin at various depths based on the dermatologist’s expertise. Some wands emit radiofrequency waves to increase the potency of microneedling. After the session, the patient is observed for a few minutes, then allowed to leave.

Tiny needles, big results

Most patients will notice redness, swelling, and soreness for 1-2 days. Ice packs and prescribed cosmetic products can help with these effects. Sunscreen is essential after treatment as the skin is sensitive and prone to sunburn. For the best results, microneedling must happen over several sessions. The dermatologist may pair microneedling with other techniques like platelet-rich plasma (PRP). As a result, patients should see smoother skin, fewer freckles, and less age spots. Microneedling is a tool a board-certified dermatologist can use to help patients be freckle-free.

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