Loving my skin
"When I was growing up, I didn't like them because everyone kept starring at me because I looked different from everybody else," Trudy-Ann Coley told Outlook about her experience growing up with her freckles.
According to dermatologist Dr Arlene Rose, freckles are little flat brown spots on the top layer of the skin, which are an abnormal collection of melanin pigments. She explained that the smaller darker spots are inherited, while the larger ones (malasma) are skin damage caused by too much exposure to the sun.
Tracey-Ann Lawrence hides the small patches under her eyes from the world, telling Outlook she feels uncomfortable leaving the house without make up over them.
Dr Rose notes that freckles are not a skin
disorder, they are harmless, and do not pose any health risks. If an individual tries to get rid of their freckles by using bleaching agents without consulting a doctor, they could experience side effects such as ochronosis - which is when the spots get darker.
"Freckles are unique. It's much easier to prevent them, than trying to remove them later," notes Dr Rose. She explained that freckles can be prevented by using sun screen (sun protection factor of 65 and lower), avoiding the sun, wearing wide-brimmed hats, and long sleeves. It may be too late for some people, and so the curative method comes into play.
"Although it can be extremely difficult to get rid of freckles entirely, you can cover up those dark spots of doom, with different treatment methods - injection technique, chemical peels, creams and laser. The malasma ones can be treated with collagen induction therapy and by naturally avoiding over exposure of the sun rays," she emphasised.
Today, Coley has made peace with her freckles and never covers them up. "As I grew older, I grew to love them. I would never remove, hide or trade them for anything, because they remind me of my father each day."
It's all a matter of preference whether you like or dislike them. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder; if you think that your freckles make you look less attractive - cover it up, especially for special occasions - this will boost your self-confidence. Rose emphasised that you should be extremely careful not to use make-up to cover your freckles daily. "The skin needs to breathe and detox - rid the body of its waste."
She encourages those with freckles - since it is so hard to get rid of them - should just love them, because they are a part of them. "You have to learn to love yourself. Once something is normal, it's in your best interest to love them. It's just one of the things that makes you special."