Imagine walking on the beach when suddenly you notice a small black spot on your shoulder. Most probably, upon looking at it, you will be surprised to find that it looked like a freckle–those little dark spots on your face or body that make you feel like ‘Eww’.

Freckles are actually sun damage to your skin. These brown spots leave you with an uneven complexion and dotted face, especially the forehead, nose and area around the nose. Some people accept Sunspots and Freckles gleefully, and some want to get rid of them overnight.

Now, you may know that they are caused by exposure to the sun, resulting in the overproduction of melanin. In all magazines, consultation sessions with experts and online stuff you go through, you will see both these things explained in one. There is so much uncertainty about this topic that even the experts sometimes get baffled.

Not many would be able to tell you the difference between the two; Freckles and Sunspots.

Let’s start the topic by explaining to you the difference between Freckles and Sunspots.

What are Freckles?

These are flat, brown spots that become noticeable when your exposure to the sun increases in the summer season. Freckles are mostly known to be inherited, and fair-skinned people are more vulnerable to them. They are quite visible in the summers and tend to fade in the winters. As you age, Freckles become less visible on your face and other body areas (if affected by Freckles).

What are Sunspots?

According to, “Sunspots are flat areas of skin discolouration that can be tan or varying shades of brown. They appear on the parts of your body that get the most sun exposure, such as your face, shoulders, back, and the backs of your hands. They often start to appear around the age of 40, though some people may develop them earlier or later in life, depending on the amount of sun exposure they’ve had.”

These brown marks are also called liver or age spots.

When it comes to myths about Freckles and Sunspots, they are countless, and it’s time to clear the primary one.

Causes of Freckles

Difference between Freckles and Sunspots

Are freckles and dark spots the same thing?

No, they are not. Freckles are inherited. This means that if you are prone to Freckles, your parents or − probably one of them – were affected by it. Freckles on your skin don’t mean that you are negligent when it comes to sun protection.

Dr. Mervyn Patterson, one of the most renowned aestheticians in the UK and Medical Director at the multi-award-winning aesthetic clinic, Woodford Medical, says that Freckles are created by our skin to safeguard against the harmful UV rays of the sun.

“A freckle is a natural area, generally less than 5mm in diameter, where cells have produced extra pigment called melanin. “The melanin pigment acts as a natural sun blocker helping to prevent ultra-violet light from reaching the deeper layers of the skin,” he says when explaining the phenomenon.

You must have seen when babies are born. They have clear and smooth skin with no blemishes and Freckles, even if the parents are susceptible to Freckles. Exposure to the sun results in their appearance, which is why they start becoming visible when the child grows older and starts spending more time under the sun.

Moreover, you can start noticing Freckles on your skin in your childhood, and they can disappear when you reach adulthood. Freckles appear quite clearly on people who have a pale complexion. This is because the gene controlling the Freckles is the same, which is responsible for red hair, a pretty obvious reason for pale-skinned people to experience the threat of Freckles.

Is sun damage responsible for Freckles?

Having Freckles doesn’t mean your skin is sun-damaged. And rather, it signals towards the skin type, which is more vulnerable to the UV rays. So, if Freckles have targeted your skin, you need to put on a sunblock cream to stay safe from the damage inflicted by the UV light. It also slows the ageing process. 


If you want to be sure if it is really the Sunspots that are affecting you, check the size. Sunspots are usually larger than Freckles, and they tend to appear once you’ve crossed the 30-35 year barrier, and people close to their 40s are more prone to them.

Other names for Sunspots are age spots, liver spots, solar lentigines, senile lentigines, and they become visible when you are excessively exposed to the sun’s harsh rays.

“Pigmented cells clump together to form dense areas of pigment and, although they do fade a little if the sun is avoided, they generally remain as persistent patches,” says Dr. Patterson. This is where you need to be careful, and limit your exposure to the sun and wear good quality UVA and UVB sun creams.

How to Prevent Sunspots

Things to consider for protection from Sunspot

Don’t go for fake tanning sessions or sunbeds, and this will also prevent Sunspots from appearing. One thing to notice here is that while you age, the Freckles may not disturb you. On the other hand, Sunspots are more menacing and stubborn, and this is the exact reason why you are suggested to go for a cosmetic treatment to get rid of Sunspots.

Sunspot treatments

Leading experts suggest different treatments to combat Sunspots. These include Intense Pulsed Light or Led Light therapy, micro-needling and some peels that have also proved their worth in treating Sunspots.

Treatments based on Lasers and IPL treat Sunspots by penetrating the skin. This is how the Laser radiations and heat produced by light destroy the dark patches. On the other hand, micro-needling and peels stimulate the skin’s healing response to diminishing the dark pigment responsible for Sunspots.

One thing to note here is that you may not achieve ideal results with one treatment only and may require multiple treatments or a full course to see visible elimination. However, one thing is sure that the above-mentioned treatments are quite effective as compared to over-the-counter or topical treatments that claim to give great results.

We would like to have your attention to a serious matter that pigmentation can lead to a risk of cancer. However, Sunspots, just like Freckles, aren’t that harmful, and till they are stable, you are at no risk of any major problem.

In the end, you need to be careful when it comes to any irregularity in skin pigmentation. If you notice anything serious, contact Expert Centre as this irregularity can lead to malignant melanoma. We know what to do if there are pigmentation irregularities.