Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Safely Removing Freckles

Ah, freckles. Often viewed as a sign of youth, Irish heritage, or as simply having a fair complexion, these little marks are actually small clumps of pigment in the upper layers of the skin. A result of sun exposure, freckles crop up on the face, arms, legs and back at an early age.
People have long battled their freckles, whether by trying to fade them with creams or lemon juice or by hiding them under makeup. Of course, the most effective answer when dealing with freckles is simply to practice prevention.
How to get rid of freckles

To keep pale freckles from getting darker, or to show the development of new ones, be careful when exposing your skin to the sun. Either limit the time you spend in direct sunlight, or use a sunscreen in order to boost your skin’s own protection.
Although freckles will fade later in life, around the ages of 35 or 40, many people don’t want to wait. And with a wide variety of safe, effective options to help you get rid of your freckles, why not?
Getting rid of freckles involves two procedures. Caused by the body’s overproduction of melanin, the “freckle pigment,” freckles accumulate in the upper layers of the skin. You can lighten your marks by gently reducing the upper layers of skin through peeling, or you can dissolve the clumps of pigment in your skin by using a laser process.
If you decide to lighten your freckles by gradually peeling away the uppermost layers of your skin, there are a number of home remedies that people have used for ages. Keep in mind, though, that just as many people will claim these ideas to be “old wives’ tales” as those who support them entirely.
Some say your refrigerator has everything you need to lighten your freckles gradually and safely – for example, washing your face with sour milk has a supposed freckle-lightening effect. The lactic acid in the milk will gently peel away the uppermost layers of skin without irritation to the skin. Lemon juice is another option, but be sure to use your fingers or a cotton ball to apply the juice rather than rubbing a lemon slice directly on your skin. Fruit and vegetable masks are also touted as proven freckle-fighters; apricot, strawberry, cucumber and red currant masks all contain the necessary acids to help your skin sheds its outer cells. Or try a sour cream mask; when applying the sour cream, allow it to dry completely and then remove with facial tissue or cotton balls. Do not rinse off. For oily skin, swab your face with lemon juice before applying the sour cream. Others swear by a mixture of parsley with lemon juice, orange juice and red currant juice.
If you want to move away from using produce on your face, but still want to remain “natural,” saltpeter is another option. Moisten a piece of saltpeter and then, using the mineral, rub the freckles twice daily.
Otherwise your pharmacist may be able to help you out. Alpha Hydroxy acid is a popular choice for people who want to even out their skin tone; helping the skin to shed its outer cells quickly, the acid removes the upper layer and thus the darkest part of your freckles. Kojic acid is a relatively new discovery. Derived from fungi, this natural product was discovered in Japan in 1989. Kojic acid helps inhibit the formation of pigment clumps in the upper layers of the skin and is known to be very gentle.
However, most doctors recommend laser treatments as the best method to permanently remove your freckles. Lasers are able to pinpoint each and every freckle, ensuring that the surrounding skin is left untouched. With a laser procedure, short, concentrated beams of light are shot onto the skin. These beams are then absorbed by the deeper cells that contain the clumps of pigment that make up the freckle. As the cells burst, the pigment is released and absorbed by the body. Of course, the process is expensive, running about $300 to $500 a visit, and often requiring multiple visits to remove all the pigment.