Freckles is a general term used for circular spots that develop randomly on the skin, especially common in those with a fair complexion. They can appear anywhere on the body and can occur from very young ages.
Age spots are also knows as liver spots and is a term describing the type of freckles seen on adults, usually on the backs of hands. They are not necessarily a sign of old age, but usually appear on areas that have been exposed to the sun, so are more common in adults with a history of sun-exposure.
Older people may also have raised, crusty lesions known as seborrheic keratoses in the same areas, which are benign growths of the skin. The colour ranges from tan to black and can be up to an inch in diameter. These types of lesions are common in most adults after a certain age (40+).
Treatment of Freckles
There are treatments for freckles that can lighten them or reduce their appearance. These include bleaching creams which can be purchased without prescription and can lighten freckles after being applied over the period of a few months. They should also be used in combination with avoidance from and protection against the sun.
Cryosurgery may also be used as a treatment for freckles, where the freckles are freezed or burned. However, not all freckles will respond to this. Lasers may also be used, as these can lighten freckles effectively. Both methods are safe and have low associated risks.
Lightening freckles can also be done using retinoids which are often used in conjunction with bleaching creams, or pulsed light treatments.
Prevention of Freckles
The best prevention is to avoid exposure to the sun as well as using adequate sun protection. You should also wear protective clothing, hats and stay indoors during the strongest sun hours. However, different people are more likely to develop freckles than others and they may not be avoided completely.