Does the sun have anything to do with the increase of freckles?

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dano7744's profile pic

dano7744 | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator

Posted on

Yes it does, exposure to the suns ultraviolat rays cause cells in your skin called melanocytes to produce more melanin. Melanin is a brown pigment in the skin that all people have. People of color have more melanin that other races.

Freckles are small concentrations of this pigment melanin that are visible on the epidermis (outer most layer of skin). When you are exposed to the sun, these pigments are intensified and become darker and more visible. If you lack sun exposure these pigments are not visible.

brettd's profile pic

brettd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

As melanoma, which is skin cancer and much different than ordinary freckles, is very common in people with repeated and prolonged exposure to UVA rays, it's important to recognize the difference between ordinary freckles, which are harmless, and these dangerous growths.  Freckles are round and even in both pigment and shape.  Cancer growths are usually darker, and can change color rapidly, and have uneven edges.  Watch to see if they grow or change shape quickly, and if they do or you even suspect they have, get to a doctor for a screening.  Early detection is extremely important.

kapokkid's profile pic

kapokkid | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

People that have freckles are actually born with them, in a sense.  If you have the right genes, they are basically waiting to appear.  The exposure to the sun, particularly UV-B radiation causes "melanocytes to increase melanin production" which actually makes freckles darker.  They are there but will only become more pronounced due to the exposure to the sun.

There are different kinds of freckles, some of which will actually fade when exposure to sun is decreased but some will remain even during the winter months when not exposed to sun.

krishna-agrawala's profile pic

krishna-agrawala | College Teacher | (Level 3) Valedictorian

Posted on

Yes. Formation of freckles is very much influenced by exposure of skin to sunlight.

Freckles are are formed by higher concentration of melanin at certain spots in the skin. Melanin is a brown pigment produced naturally by the skin. And the colour of skin of a person is determined by amount of melanin present.

The amount of melanin in skin of people is determined largely by heredity. But exposure to sun increases production of melanin, causing a person to tan. Sometimes the melanin builds up in small spots which we recognize as freckles. Exposure to sunlight increases the number of freckles formed.

kelstonjo's profile pic

kelstonjo | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted on

Kind of.  I was born with my freckles and the more I am out in the sun the darker my freckles get.  Also, each summer it seems I get a few more, especially on the underneath of my arms that don't see much sun during the colder months.  My face freckles also increase in number and darkness.  The sun just brings out their pigmant I think.  Its a skin discoloration that is brought out by the sun... which I get instead of a tan.  By the time you are an adult they have been stimulated so much that generally you just have them showing all the time but the sun makes them darker each year.  I have them on my face, arms, back and shoulders... but oddly they have never showed on my legs.

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