“Freckles are light to dark brown flat macules on sun-exposed skin,” Hartman says. “They are often poorly defined and may merge into larger patches.”
Libby agrees and says these oval-shaped brown spots occur only on sun-exposed skin and are not present at birth. “Freckles can come and go, but usually start appearing as early as the first few years of life,” she says. So just when you find yourself desperately wishing you had freckles all over your face, think again. These spots are caused by sun exposure and pigment transfer to the skin cells called keratinocytes. It’s also important to note that freckles can only appear on the parts of the skin that get direct access to the sun.
Even though freckles are benign, they are a direct result of unprotected sun exposure. “Freckles indicate that you’ve had sun exposure and damage and we know that sun exposure leads to photoaging like brown spots and wrinkles, as well as skin cancer,” Libby says. “Freckles are a good reminder to wear your sunscreen and keep your skin protected as much as possible from the sun.”
And yes, anyone can get freckles, no matter how light or dark your skin tone is.