Freckles

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What are Freckles or Ephelides or Lentigo or Sunspots:-

A small brownish spot on the skin, often turning dark or increasing in number on exposure to the sun. Freckles or ephelides or lentigo os sunspots are small, usually yellow or brown spots on the skin, often seen on the face but capable of occurring in freckled individuals on any part of the body that has been exposed to sunlight.

Freckles or ephelides are usually tan or light brown, flat, and very small (smaller than the head of a pin). Sometimes they overlap and run together so they may look larger.

They first appear at about 5 years of age as light-brown pigmented macules on light-exposed skin. They increase in number, size, and depth of pigmentation during the summer months, and are smaller, lighter, and fewer in number in the winter.

Freckles are produced by the action of ultraviolet radiation on the level of melanin in the melanocytes (pigment cells). In individuals of a certain genetic makeup and usually having red or blonde hair, the level of melanin increases to form freckles that contrast with the otherwise fair skin that such individuals possess.

                     Conventional  treatment for freckles or ephelides, Lot many bleach creams, lotions are available in the market which may lighten the spots temporarily but do not treat the excessive formation and accumulation of melanin. The creams and lotions may cause:

  • Skin irritation.
  • Phototoxic reactions with secondary post inflammatory hyper pigmentation.
  • Irreversible exogenous ochronosis.
  • Some local applications for pigmentation like Monobenzyl ether of HQ (Benoquin) cause an irreversible localized and generalized vitiligo like leukoderma.

Cryosurgery and laser treatment are the other options with the conventional system of medicine which may lighten the spots temporarily but the root problem remains as it is and may become even worst. The side effects of such treatments are burning of skin, scarring and worsening of pigments.

                                In contrast homoeopathy does not advocate the use of creams and ointments in skin disorders. It believes that skin disorders are a reflection of internal problem and need to be treated from within. External applications (creams, ointments) can lead to the suppression of the disease and result in a more serious systemic disorder. A well-prescribed medicine not only takes care of freckles but also treats the patient as a whole and improves general health as well.

Homoeopathic remedies control the excessive formation of melanin by melanocytes (pigment cells). Gradually the dark spots become lighter than before; the occurrences of new patches reduce and ultimately stop.

While choosing medicines the cause of freckles is evaluated, for example, genetic predisposition, hormonal imbalances, sun exposure, and poor immune system and so on.

Homoeopathy treatment, which gets to the root of the problem will reinforce the immune system and gradually restore the pigmented spots to the normal skin color. The remedies restore the hormonal imbalance and control the excessive production of melanin. Homoeopathy will not inhibit the natural process of the skin’s melanin production. It will act on melanocytes to produce less melanin naturally thus strengthening the skin cells to stay healthy and remove excessive melanin in the skin. This improves the quality (texture) of skin, freckles disappear and further discoloration of skin stops.

Homoeopathic medicines cure freckles or ephelides or lentigo or sunspots from the root cause and assuring the patient of not facing the similar problem in future.

Types

  • Ephelides

This term refers to flat spots that are red or light-brown and typically appear during the sunny months and fade in the winter.

  • Lentigo

Children may develop a small tan, brown, or black spot which tends to be darker than an ephelides-type freckle and which does not fade in the winter.

Causes

The various causes of freckles are:

  • Exposure of skin to sun is one of the main causes of developing freckles. They will fade when sun exposure is reduced or eliminated.
  • The basic cause is some special cells in the skin that produce a pigment called melanin. If you have melanin in your body, going on accumulating at one place, then it may result in freckles spots.
  • Freckles are influenced by genetic factor also.
  • Hormone abnormalities can cause freckles since estrogen over stimulates pigment producing cells, causing them to generate excess color when exposed to sunlight.
  • Fair skin is another main cause for freckles. There is less overall melanin in fair skin to absorb UV light; therefore pigment cells produce melanin at an increased rate.

Symptoms

  • Simple ephelides or freckles are multiple, small, tanned macules, ranging from 1-5 mm in diameter, with uniform pigmentation.
  • They are most commonly found on sun-exposed areas, such as the nose, the cheeks, the shoulders, and the upper part of the back.
  • The macules may be discrete or confluent.
  • Sunburn freckles present similarly to that of simple freckles, but they are darker, have irregular borders, and may be as large as a few centimeters.

Complications

Freckles may be cosmetically unappealing, but they are not associated with any complications. However, recent studies have shown that individuals with skin types susceptible to freckles are at greater risk for developing skin cancers.

Prevention

  • Use of sunscreens with SPF (sun protection factor) 30.
  • Use of wide-brimmed hats (6 inches).
  • Use of sun-protective clothing (shirts, long sleeves, long pants).
  • Avoidance of the peak sun hours of 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Seeking shade and staying indoors as far as possible.