Brown Spots & Freckles

Freckles: Freckles are flat brown marks that develop on sun exposed areas, especially on the face. Mostly seen in individuals with fair skin, especially those with red hair, however they can be seen in some darker skin types.The colour is due to an accumulation of pigment (melanin) in the skin cells. This pigment is produced when the cells are exposed to UV radiation. Freckles are more obvious in those with fair skin as the distribution of pigment producing cells is not as even or regular as darker skin types.

Freckles tend to fade in winter with reduced sun and skin cells are replaced by new cells. They are also less noticeable as the skin ages.

Lentigines: Lentigo or lentigines are also due to a localized increase in pigment producing cells (melanocytes). This increase in cells is most commonly the result of sun damage – solar lentigo. They are mostly seen on the face and hands, and are larger and more defined than freckles. They persist for long periods and rarely disappear but will fade in winter.

Other brown marks: Brown spots may be scaly, and are more suggestive of a pigmented actinic keratoses or seborrhoeic keratoses (wisdom or age spots). These are due to an increase and accumulation of the skin cells at this site. Facial pigmentation may also be due to melasma (a chronic pigment disorder of the face), chronic inflammation, or scarring.