Welcome to your skin check-in with Life & Style’s resident health and beauty expert, Dr. Will Kirby, a celebrity dermatologist and Chief Medical Officer of LaserAway. Every week, he’ll be spilling his candid thoughts and professional advice on all things skin, beauty and wellness as it relates to you — and your favorite stars.
Although cute on kids in the summer, freckles can be worrisome on adults. But why do some people get freckles from sun exposure and how do you know if you one looks suspicious? I reached out to the nation’s leading skin care experts to get their opinion on freckles!
“Light to dark brown patches on the skin due to increased melanin production from sun exposure are known as freckles,” says dermatologist Dr. Azadeh Shirazi. “They are harmless but can signify sun damage. Worrisome signs to look for are irregular borders or color, asymmetry, symptoms of itching or pain and if it continues to grow and change. It’s best to have a skin evaluation by a dermatologist!”
“It’s normal to get more freckles in the summer and even for freckles to darken in the summer,” explains dermatologist Dr. Melissa Kanchanapoomi Levin. “We use the ‘ABCDEs’ of skin cancer as a guide of when a spot is concerning and needs to be evaluated by a dermatologist. ‘A’ for asymmetry, ‘B’ for irregular borders, ‘C’ for color irregularity or change, ‘D’ for a larger diameter or size than the size of a pencil eraser and ‘E’ for evolution or a change. While it’s hard to tell whether a spot is a skin cancer, a dermatologist can quickly use their expertise to differentiate between similar looking lesions to ensure the correct diagnosis!”
“Freckles result from an overproduction of melanin, which is responsible for giving your skin and hair their color. Sun exposure stimulates melanin as a way for the body to try to protect itself from the ray,” teaches dermatologist Dr. Deanne Mraz Robinson. “It’s important to keep an eye on your body’s freckles and markings so that you can identify ‘red flags’ early on that may signal skin cancer. A good lens to examine your freckles and all skin lesions is the ‘ABCDEs for Melanoma: A (Asymmetry), B (Border, uneven), C (color, a variety of colors/dark), D (diameter, bigger than 1/4 inch) and E (evolution, any change)!”
“The small clusters of pigment cells in the skin that darken with sun exposure due to an increase in the number of pigment cells when exposed to the sun are called freckles,” notes dermatologist Dr. Angie Koriakos. “These are typically benign. However, concerning features that should prompt an evaluation by a dermatologist would include bleeding, changing shape or color or an enlarging lesion. I recommend a good sunscreen with SPF of 30 or higher reapplied every two hours when exposed to the sun to help protect the skin and prevent them from surfacing.”