sun care and self tanning Is It Possible to Get Rid of Freckles?

  • Témi Adebowale

Plus, how your skin care routine can help.

January 09, 2023
Can You Get Rid Of Freckles


Whether you’ve had freckles since you were young or you tend to develop them after a long day in the sun, you may have wondered at one time or another what exactly causes freckles and whether you can get rid of them. At this point some folks are wondering why anyone would ever want to get rid of their freckles — they’re gorgeous. And we agree! (We even go so far as to create fake freckles from time to time.) But embracing beauty diversity is all about embracing how your features make you feel and for some that means light freckles or no freckles at all.

So if you do have freckles and  you’re hoping to get rid of yours, keep reading for what you need to know about freckles, including what they are in the first place, how to get rid of freckles and how you can adjust your skin care routine to help keep more freckles from popping up.

What Are Freckles?

Let’s start at the very beginning: What exactly are freckles? According to the Cleveland Clinic, freckles are small tan, red or brown spots that are usually found on the face and the arms. If you’re curious, the scientific name for freckles is actually ephelides, per the Mayo Clinic

Freckles are nothing more than small areas of extra pigmentation on the skin, but unlike moles or other dark skin patches, freckles are completely flat and not raised. Freckles are very common and can occur on anyone, and they’re typically nothing to be concerned about healthwise. In other words, the only skin concern about freckles is cosmetic.

What Causes Freckles?

While freckles occur in all skin tones and genders, they are the most common in people with fair skin and naturally red hair. There are two common causes of freckles:

1. Genetics

Freckles are the result of a genetically determined overproduction of melanin, and they tend to develop in childhood or young adulthood.

2. Sunlight

Freckles can be triggered by sunlight exposure, as Cleveland Clinic reports, so freckles can appear or become darker when they are exposed to the sun’s ultraviolet light.

3 Ways to Get Rid of Freckles

And now, time to answer the question we’re all here for: Is it possible to get rid of freckles? While you may not be able to get rid of freckles instantly (you’re better off turning to makeup to cover them up temporarily or — our preferred option — embracing them), research does indicate that you can fade the appearance of freckles. Keep in mind, however, that it isn’t necessarily an easy process. 

1. Laser Treatments

According to a study published in the Journal of Dermatology and Dermatologic Diseases, certain laser treatments can help fade freckles. The laser lessens the appearances of your freckles by using laser energy to resurface the skin. The exact laser treatment you should undergo will depend on advice from your dermatologist.

2. Chemical Peels

Another potential freckle-fading treatment to consider is a chemical peel. Per the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery, deep chemical peels may be used on the face to help address freckles. Chemical peels involve applying a solution to the skin that causes layers of skin to exfoliate and peel off, and with a deep chemical peel, the exfoliation will reach the middle layer of skin. The skin that is revealed underneath will be smoother and softer, and hyperpigmentation, dark spots and freckles will have a diminished appearance.

3. Intense Pulsed Light Treatments

According to a study published in The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology, intense pulsed light treatment, or IPL, is another treatment option for fading freckles. Intense pulsed light treatment uses wavelengths of light to stimulate the skin to regenerate and boost collagen production, diminishing the look of freckles.

Something to keep in mind is that these treatments are not necessarily permanent. You can always develop new freckles, which is just one more reason to be diligent with sun protection. Regardless of the permanence of these treatments, or the option you choose, remember that all of these treatments should be performed in-office by a board-certified dermatologist. As for options that don’t involve in-office treatments, retinol can reduce the appearance of freckles

How to Prevent Freckles From Getting Darker

There are some easy steps you can take in order to help prevent freckles from getting darker and prevent future freckles from forming altogether. Here’s a hint: It’s all about sun protection. 

Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or greater everyday (even if it's cloudy). Apply it generously and frequently to all areas of skin that are exposed, and don’t forget to reapply every two hours, and after you go swimming or have been sweating.

You may also  notice that your freckles tend to fade come wintertime, and this is completely normal as well, according to Harvard Medical School. Just continue to wear your sunscreen for freckles to prevent them from coming back with the warm weather.

Should You Get Rid of Your Freckles? 

You certainly don’t have to take any steps to cover or fade freckles, as they don’t pose a health hazard. However, one thing to note is that even though freckles are generally harmless, you’ll want to pay attention to your skin and watch out for any changes. If you do notice a sudden change in size or appearance of a spot or freckles on your face or neck, book an appointment with a board-certified dermatologist to get it checked out.

Recent years have seen more people embrace their freckles, and freckles have become so popular that recent years have seen people draw on fake ones to get the look themselves.

How Do You Fake Freckles?

Whether you want to enhance the freckles you already have or are looking to give yourself a totally new look, you can embrace freckles by drawing or spraying them on yourself. 

1. Grab the L’Oréal Paris Magic Root Cover Up and hold the can about eight to ten inches away from your face.


2. Spray one short burst of the root spray on the center of your face so it comes out in a splatter and not a full spray. 


3. Let the product dry, then apply a setting powder or setting spray like the L’Oréal Paris Infallible Pro-Spray and Set Make-Up Oil-Free Setting Spray to seal the temporary freckles.

Next: 7 Complexion Products for a Natural Makeup Look

Photographer: Chaunte Vaughn, Art Director: Hannah Packer, Associate Creative Producer: Becca Solovay, Production Assistant: Jason Parigian, Digital Tech: Sam Kang, Photo Assistant: Hannah Lewis-Lopes, Makeup Artist: Jonet Williamson, Hair Stylist: Akihisa Yamaguchi, Wardrobe Stylist: Melina Kemph, Wardrobe Assistant: Kayla Martinez, Prop Stylist: Katrina Rozeville, Prop Assistant: Zach Molina, Model: Alexandra Cunningham