Introduction Freckle or sunspot? Sometimes it’s super hard to tell the difference! Both are roundish, brownish spots that appear on our faces. Both seem to
Safe Ways to Get That Freckled Look
As the hot summer months draw near, we start planning our summer beauty looks. Sun-kissed golden tan, beachy waves, maybe even a cheeky smattering of freckles across the face… Freckles and the sun are pretty much ubiquitous. We all love the freshness that freckles brings to our faces. We envy those who are lucky enough to have natural freckles, while the rest of us have to settle for spending 10 minutes carefully placing haphazard little dots all over our faces. The interesting thing is, many people with lighter skin complexions are probably able to get freckles naturally. You might just have to be under the sun enough for them to be exposed.
But don’t forget that the sun is really bad for your skin, and even spending a short amount of time without the right kind of sun protection is going to do some serious damage. If you’re planning to try and get some freckles this summer, it will be handy to first understand how and why freckles form, and how you can adequately protect yourself from the sun when doing so.
What causes freckles?
Natural freckles are a genetic trait that is passed down within your family. Freckles are usually found in people with a fairer complexion and the genes for red hair and green eyes also tend to go along with freckles. The Caucasians and East Asians are more likely to have freckles as they have lighter skin tones. The gene called MC1R is responsible for freckles, and people with the MC1R gene will produce freckles when they are exposed to the sun. On the flip side, people without the freckle gene will not produce freckles even if they go under the sun. Freckles are important for people who have them as a hereditary gene as they are meant to protect your skin from the sun. Freckles are essentially an excess of the pigment melanin, resulting in areas of the skin that are darker than the rest of the face. Melanin is important as it helps to absorb harmful UV rays, acting as a natural sunscreen. If you have the freckle gene, you are more likely to have fairer skin that is more susceptible to burning from the sun. Hence, the pigment-producing melanocytes produce more melanin on the vulnerable areas of the face such as the nose bridge and cheeks, which are typically where freckles form.
How Can I Safely Get Freckles?
Apply some fake freckles
The safest, and only, way to get freckles if you do not have them genetically is to fake them! Even if you have the freckle gene and can produce freckles when under the sun long enough, it isn’t wise or worth it to risk your skin’s health just for some freckles. Remember that freckles are a defense mechanism against the sun’s harsh rays, so if you are putting yourself under the sun to get freckles, you are likely pushing the tolerance levels of your skin’s protection against the sun, hence the production of melanin increases to combat it.
The best tip for creating fake freckles is to remember that not all freckles are the same. Some are lighter, some are small, some are dark brown, and some are a redder shade of beige. Using just one product in the same color will give you very unnatural looking freckles. The best way to make freckles look natural is to use different products with different colors, such as one liquid eyeliner and one eyebrow pencil. The different tips and textures will give you more variety in the look of your freckles. Also, place them haphazardly and with no order because natural freckles do not have a pattern!
But if you are going under the sun…
Freckles will show up better when the skin is exfoliated and free of the dead skin cell build-up. Also, keeping your skin fresh and glowing will make the freckles look even brighter and you won’t look as dull. Opt for a gentle scrub, or make your own at home, such as a honey and brown sugar scrub that will give you a mega glow and boost your skin’s moisture levels.
Wear sunscreen and reapply it throughout the day
This is a pretty obvious one, but the key is to choose the right sunscreen and applying it the right way. Your sunscreen should have at least SPF 15, and if you are someone who is more prone to burning, SPF 40 should be your minimum. There are two kinds of UV rays — UVB rays which cause sunburn and UVA which cause aging. So you want a sunscreen with ingredients like zinc oxide, titanium dioxide, or Mexoryl, which will offer you protection against UVA rays. Also, people don’t apply enough sunscreen which decreases the effectiveness of your sun protection. A minimum of one tablespoon for your face is needed for adequate protection. You also need to apply it to your ears and neck, not just your face. Reapply your sunscreen every two hours if you will be under the sun all day, and also remember to always reapply after a swim as the sunscreen will wash off.
Wear a hat and sunglasses when under the sun
Looking directly into the sun is super damaging for your eyes as well, so remember to wear sunglasses! Also, sunglasses help to protect the area under your eyes which are where freckles occur and hence are some of the more vulnerable areas of your face. A large hat will also give you extra shade from the sun.
Moisturize after being under the sun
Your skin will likely have lost a lot of moisture and hydration after being under the sun all day long. So remember to moisturize your face with a potent serum with hydrating benefits, and also apply a thick moisturizing cream to your body to ensure your skin does not get dry, dehydrated, and peeling.
Freckles are cute, but not worth the skin damage! So be careful when under the sun and opt for fake freckles if possible to limit your sun exposure.
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