Big freckles are typically caused by sun exposure, heredity, and sometimes, hormonal fluctuations. The biggest culprit, however, is the sun. When certain skin cells are damaged by the effects of the sun, the result is freckling. Tanning can exacerbate existing freckles and even cause very noticeable and big freckles. In addition, people with light complexions are more likely to acquire big freckles than those with darker complexions.
Sometimes, freckles fade in the winter, only to come back during the summer, and they also typically fade with age. Freckles can be found anywhere on the body, and big freckles are typically more common on the shoulders and back. Freckles are not usually found on babies, and are generally noticed more on people who have not yet reached puberty. Sun spots, also known as liver spots are a type of freckle that don't fade during the winter, but are present all year round. They are also more prevalent in the aging population.
Certain people find freckles attractive, while others sometimes seek ways to hide them. Freckles can be covered with make-up or concealer, however, hiding big freckles can be more of a challenge. Applying lemon juice to the freckled area can help fade freckles, but results can take time. Fade creams or bleaching creams are also effective in lightening freckles. These preparations are available over-the-counter, however, a dermatologist should be consulted before using a fade cream to determine its safety.
Topical retinoids can be used to fade big freckles, however, results are not typically seen for at least six months. Retinoids are available by prescription, and they may also produce side effects such as skin irritation, redness, and flaking. Staying out of the sun may prevent future freckles from appearing, however, hormonal changes of pregnancy and menopause may spur them on. Other ways to discourage freckle formation are to wear sunscreen, to keep the arms and legs covered when outdoors, and to wear a sun hat.
When new big freckles are noticed, or if freckles begin to change color or shape, or begin bleeding, a dermatologist should be consulted as soon as possible. These symptoms may be signs of skin cancer and will need to be evaluated. Most skin cancers, if caught and treated early, are curable, however, medical evaluation is necessary. Laser surgery can also be an effective means of lightening freckles, however, elective cosmetic procedures are typically not covered under most medical insurance policies.