What is the difference between freckles and pigmentation?

Saturday, 10 October 2015

I am struggling to understand the difference between freckles and pigmentation (like the type of pigmentation you get from being exposed to the sun). I know that people can get “freckles” from the sun, but what about young children who have lots of freckles, who have not had a lot of sun exposure? Are freckles formed the same way as other pigmentation?


Health expert Dr Graham Duncombe from Skin & Body Renewal responds:

“Freckles and pigmentation from sun exposure do develop from the same mechanism, which is an increase in the darker pigment melanin. People with very fair skin (and red-heads) have skin that is more sensitive to the sun and they form freckles very quickly from sun exposure. Freckles also has a genetic link but it takes exposure to UV-B radiation from the sun to cause them. It is very rare to be born with freckles. Pigmentation can also develop from other causes other than UV-B exposure such as hormonal causes (like pregnancy), or as a result of inflammation.”

Have a question you’d like answered? You can ask Dr Duncombe here.

Other articles you may be interested in:
Everything you need to know about freckles
Celebrities who flaunt their freckles
Pregnancy and pigmentation
Protect yourself from skin cancer
Target dark spots

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  1. Amanda Hoosen

    Any tips for Hyperpigmentation?

    4 years ago •


    Interesting! Freckles are so cute.

    4 years ago •

  1. Esté Smit

    I always wondered about this one, because I have freckles from a very young age.

    4 years ago •

  1. Salmaa Moosa

    pigmentation also comes from using the pill (contraceptive), after using it for many years, attacks usually fair skins mostly

    4 years ago •

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