Currently, there are over 3.5 million in over two million people diagnosed with skin cancer every year. In the last 30 years, more people have been diagnosed with skin cancer than any other cancer, which could be a direct relation on the cultural affects of tan skin as a desirable characteristic.
Why do people get freckles anyway? Skin cells have melanocytes, which are specialized cells designed to protect the skin from harmful ultraviolet rays (UV) produced by the sun. The protection melanocytes produce is melanin, which works by darkening the skin as it’s exposed by more sun. If melanocytes are clumped together, sun exposure will scatter with dark spots and if you weren’t born with freckles at all, they can still develop from repeated sun exposure, typically on the hands and face. Unfortunately, people born with freckles or develop freckles overtime due to prolonged sun exposure, are at a higher risk for skin cancer.
Freckles usually appear during childhood and on areas of the body that are most frequently exposed to the sunlight, such as the face, hands, arms, chest and shoulders. Freckles are usually relatively harmless and there is no reason to treat them or laser them off, unless of course they’re aesthetically displeasing. Always using a broad spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 at least or higher, but it’s especially important for people who freckle easily or who already have freckles, for example, light-skinned, blue-eyed people. If the freckles are changing shape or developing suddenly at a rapid rate, it’s always a good idea to schedule a full-body checkup with a certified dermatologist.