As soon as the sun shines, they come out: not flowers, but freckles. However, these harmless skin pigmentations also have a warning function - whoever has them, should protect his skin from the sun, because they are a sign of particularly sensitive skin.
What are freckles?
Freckles are pigmentation marks in the uppermost skin layer. They are caused by a genetic defect that causes the pigments to not distribute evenly throughout the skin cells. Normally, the pigment melanin is formed in response to solar or UV radiation from certain skin cells, the melanocytes. It is released to the surrounding cells and thus serves the skin as protection against sunlight. The more solar radiation (or UV radiation in the solarium) affects the melanocytes, the more melanin they produce and the stronger the skin pigmentation becomes.
Not so much the number of diligent melanocytes is important for the color of the skin, but rather the amount of pigment storage available per cell. Fair-skinned people have about 50 pigment stores per cell, dark-skinned Africans 500.
Who has freckles?
Most freckles occur in people with fair skin, blond or reddish hair - so the photosensitive skin type. You can find them on the body especially in those places that are not protected by clothing from sunlight - on the face, on the forearms and hands and often on the shoulders. This type of skin often causes increased liver spots.
The distinction between a heavily colored freckle and a mole can sometimes be difficult, but it is especially important for larger pigment spots that itch, bleed, or have an irregular border. Here an experienced dermatologist should check whether this malignant change does not turn into a malignant skin tumor.
In pregnancy, freckles and other pigmentation marks may be more prominent due to the altered hormone concentration. However, this "more" pigment usually returns after pregnancy.
Why do freckles disappear in winter?
Since the color of the freckles depends strongly on the light intensity, they often become much brighter in winter time and therefore invisible to the naked eye. However, even in winter: When skiing or other outdoor activities should protect the skin from too much sunlight. Through the snow, the sun's rays are reflected and the skin has to process as much sun as on a hot summer's day.
If you spend a lot of time outdoors in the winter, the freckles will increase in intensity. Even glass does not protect against UV radiation: People whose desks are at the window and sit in the office during the day, but in the sun, can observe a dark color of their freckles.
What can you do about freckles?
If you have a tendency to freckles, you should avoid direct sunlight. If you use sunscreen with a high sun protection factor and rarely expose the endangered areas to the sun, their freckles will only darken slightly in the hot season. Strong sunlight generally affects the skin in general - it leads to faster skin aging and increases the risk of skin cancer. Therefore, not only people with a light, photosensitive skin should follow this rule of conduct.
The color of the freckles can be lightened in the short term with various bleaching creams, stronger peels or a cold treatment, but they can not be permanently removed in this way. During laser treatment, the pigments and pigment cells of the upper skin layer are destroyed in several therapy sessions. It is a medium-term effective method of removing freckles.
After some time, however, new melanocytes and new pigments are formed, so that this treatment only promises success if they also avoid further sun exposure. The laser treatment is not paid by the health insurance, depending on the severity of the freckles several treatment sessions are needed, each cost between 100 and 300 euros.
The best way to keep it with the Irish folk wisdom "A girl without freckles is like a sky without stars, " feels with Pippi Longstocking, Robert Redford, Boris Becker and Charlize Theron in prominent freckles wearers in good hands and tries to cheeky, happy Pünktchen something positive to win.