Freckles are found on people worldwide, and some people have more than others. Freckles come from genetic predisposition and exposure to sunlight.
They are clusters of concentrated melanin which are most often visible on people with a fair complexion. A freckle is also called an ephelis. Freckles do not have an increased number of melanin producing cells (melanocytes), but instead have cells that overproduce melanin granules changing the coloration of the skin. This also causes the different skin tones among humans.
Freckles can be found on anyone no matter their genetic background; however, the number of freckles is genetic and is related to the presence of the melanocortin-1 receptor MC1R gene variant. The formation of freckles is triggered by exposure to sunlight. The exposure to UV-B radiation activates melanocytes to increase melanin production, which can cause freckles to become darker and more visible.
Freckles are predominantly found on the face, although they may appear on any skin exposed to the sun, such as arms or shoulders. Heavily distributed concentrations of melanin may cause freckles to multiply and cover an entire area of skin, such as the face.
Freckles are not a skin disorder, but people with freckles generally have a lower concentration of photo protective melanin, and are therefore more susceptible to the harmful effects of UV radiation.
A Freckle in History:
♦ Earlier, up to the beginning of the 20th century freckled people were referred to the lower class. Ladies from the upper class tried to conceal hateful dark spots on their skin. They hid out from the UV-rays under umbrellas and veils, but if insidious UV left its track on their skin, they did their best to lighten them.
From the excerpt: “A clear, pale complexion was highly priced in colonial America. The following was taken from an 18th century book of beauty advice (Beauties Treasury; or the Ladies Vade Mecum):
A Cure For Freckles
- Two drams honey of roses
- Two drams oil of tartar
- Mix with rye meal and spread on a cloth. Place over your face, breasts, or hands overnight. In the morning, rinse away with lemon juice
♦ The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR) Found a bottle of freckle cream that may have been on Amelia Earhart’s final journey with her
♦ According to legend, the first redhead was Prince Idon of Mu who, upon discovering Atlantis, was imprinted with the island’s stunning red sunset and leaves in the form of red hair and freckles so future generations would be reminded of Atlantis’ first sunset.
♦ The Irish Redhead Convention has a contest for most freckles per square inch
♦ Freckle patterns have been used to identify people in court cases
♦ It seems that Chanel was the first company to market a product designed to create faux freckles. Released in 1995, Le Crayon Rousseur was “part of Chanel’s effort to gain a high-fashion profile,” according to Chanel’s then market development manager Timothy Walcot, who added that “the `little girl’ look is quite in. This is intended as a bit of fun.” The instructions that came with the pencil recommended that it be used to “emphasize a light tan” as well.
♦ Lancome had a Freckle Crayon as part of their summer 2003 collection. The mind behind the pencil, then artistic director Ross Burton, declared that “freckles are a symbol of freedom“.