Sun Spots vs Freckles 

Youthful skin is calling! Advanced laser technology by Lumenis removes unwanted sun spots on the face and body.

Sun Marks: What Are The Different Types Of Marks The Sun Can Leave On Your Skin?

The sun can be a beautiful thing. It provides us with vitamin D and warmth, but it also can both temporarily and permanently damage the skin if we’re not careful. Despite what’s commonly perpetuated in modern society, sunscreen, and the importance of protecting your skin from harmful UV rays aren’t exclusively linked to sunburn. Actually, the sun can leave many different sun marks and / or sun spots on the skin, and whilst many of them are not harmful to an individual’s overall health, they can take years and years to naturally disappear. Have no fear though, advances in laser technology mean that there is a way to permanently remove unwanted sun spots on the face and other areas of the body, in a very painless and quick procedure.

What are Sunspots?

Sunspots sometimes referred to age spots or liver spots, are small brown circular patches that consist of multiple pigmented cells grouped together and develop on the skin as a result of direct sun exposure. Larger than a freckle or mole, they tend to be around .2-2.0 centimeters in size and are isolated in placement.

Whilst some people may have one or two sun spots on their face, they’re also commonly found on other areas of the body that are exposed to the sun such as shoulders, arms, back and especially on the hands. Despite common misconception, sun spots are not a health risk nor an indication of skin cancer, they are also not always permanent, though, they can take a very long time to fade on their own and are difficult to cover up with makeup.

What Are Freckles?

Freckles are small brown spots that tend to appear in clusters or groups and are generally found on the face, but also the arms and legs too. They are extremely common among people with fair skin and for the most part, regarded as harmless as they are not linked to any health conditions or skin diseases.

Unlike sunspots, or age spots, freckles are not always a direct result of sun exposure. In fact, most people with freckles have them due to genetic disposition and so some individuals will have freckles as a child, and they might fade slightly with age. It is worth noting that sun exposure however can affect the appearance of freckles, and so if an individual with freckles spends a lot of time in the sun, the freckles will naturally darken.

Sun Spots vs Freckles: What Are The Key Differences?

The Genetics Behind Freckled Skin

Unlike other marks on the skin affected by sun exposure such as sun spots, freckles are hereditary. This means that an individual would have to have the ‘freckle gene’ (MC1R) in order to produce freckles on the skin.

Freckles Serve a Purpose

Although many people think that freckles are simply there for no reason, they do actually serve a purpose. Interestingly, freckles almost perform like natural sunscreens and protect the areas of skin that are specifically sensitive to the UV light by blocking them from penetrating deeper layers.

Freckles And Sunspots Have Different Life Spans

The intensity of the appearance of freckles can be triggered by different seasons, due to the level of sun exposure, and also age. Many people find that the older they get, the more their freckles tend to fade and are less prominent than they once were. On the flip side, sun spots, tend to be consistent in their colouring and take a lot longer to fade naturally.

Sun Spots Are Larger in Size

On average, sun spots are visibly larger than freckles and are isolated on the skin. In contrast, freckles are significantly smaller than the common sun / age spot and tend to appear in clusters vs just a singular freckle.

Sun Spots Are More Common on Matured Skin

Due to the way in which they develop, sun spots are a lot more common on more mature skin as they tend to appear later in life, around the mid-thirties range.

3 Ways to Prevent Sun Marks

In recent years, there have been many products and treatments created to specifically target and reduce the appearance of sun marks. However, prevention is always the best cure and it’s important to take the necessary steps to ensure that you’re minimising the risk of getting sun spots on your skin.

Limit Daily Sun Exposure

One of the best ways to prevent sun marks is to limit your daily sun exposure since sunspots are created through repeated sun exposure. With that in mind, having a daily limit will significantly minimise any risk.

Wear A Hat, Long Clothing, And Sunscreen

Another tip is to consistently ensure that you’re well-protected when you are exposed to the sun. This can be done by wearing long clothing to cover specific areas of the body, particularly the arms, as well as wearing a hat and plenty of sunscreen to give your skin maximum protection across the board.

Monitor The UV Index

Finally, monitor the UV index when you are planning to step out into the sun. There are several free apps and websites that allow you to check this daily for your specific area so take full advantage of them!

Are Sun Spots and Freckles Harmful?

The core concern for many people when understanding what causes freckles and sun spots is whether either of the two are harmless. The short answer is generally no. Whilst sun spots and freckles can be indications of different things, either genetic or environmental, neither of the two are actually harmful although they should always be closely monitored for any changes.

Sun Spots Indicate Prolonged Sun Exposure and Premature Aging

Regular and repeated exposure to ultraviolet radiation from the sun is not only what causes sun spots, but also wrinkles to the skin too.

How To Remove Sun Spots with Laser Treatments?

With recent advancements in laser technology and skin rejuvenation treatments, many individuals have been turning to laser procedures to reverse sun damage on the face and body.

Laser Skin Toning Removes Sun Marks

Laser skin toning is a process in which skin pigmentation is targeted through the energy from the laser and used to reduce pigment irregularities and stimulate collagen production.

IPL With OPT technology: The “Gold Standard” In Photorejuvenation Treatments

Lumenis’ Photofabulous treatment is regarded as the gold standard when it comes to Photorejuvenation treatments. Over the course of 3-4 sessions, the Stellar M22 treats multiple skin conditions and accurately targets and treats the early signs of ageing skin efficiently and effectively. The treatment consists of two technologies sequentially- IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) and ResurFX non-ablative skin resurfacing so that both skin tone and texture can be treated. It’s a double win!

Before and After Laser Skin Toning: In Pictures

The Bottom Line About Sunspots and Freckles

All in all, sun spots and freckles are two very different skin conditions and therefore need to be addressed as so. Whilst sun exposure can have an effect on both, they are not interchangeable and have different lifespans and root causes, meaning when considering different treatment options, it’s integral to know exactly what the origin is.

Both can be completely harmless, however, it’s essential to keep an eye on any new developments and seek medical advice when appropriate. As always, prevention is better than cure! So make sure you take the necessary steps now to minimise the risk of any long-term sun damage in the future.

About Lumenis
Lumenis is a global leader in the field of minimally-invasive clinical solutions for the Surgical, Ophthalmology, and Aesthetic markets, and is a world-renowned expert in developing and commercializing innovative energy-based technologies, including Laser, Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) and Radio-Frequency (RF). For 50 years, Lumenis’ ground-breaking products have redefined medical treatments and have set numerous technological and clinical gold-standards. Lumenis has successfully created solutions for previously untreatable conditions, as well as designed advanced technologies that have revolutionized existing treatment methods. visit: