Question: My teenage daughter is incredibly self-conscious about the dark freckles on her nose and cheeks. Would skin whiteners or lightening creams help her?
By Dr. Cheryl Hull of Hull Dermatology
Any time we address the treatment of freckles and sun spots, it’s important to stress the importance of daily protection from ultraviolet radiation. No matter what treatment is used to treat freckles and sun spots, if proper protection from ultraviolet radiation isn’t used, the spots WILL come back. We all get some ultraviolet radiation every day, whether it’s through car windows, walking in parking lots or, more obviously, during any time of prolonged sun exposure, such as athletic events, time at the lake, etc.
Help your kids and teens develop a daily habit of applying a moisturizer with an SPF of at least 30. This doesn’t have to be a thick, greasy sunscreen. There are several facial moisturizers that are easy to find that have SPF of 30 or greater. I encourage patients to buy two or three of these products to compare and see which one feels best on their skin. Brands I highly recommend include Neutrogena, Cetaphil, Oil of Olay, Clinique and Blue Lizard.
To treat the freckles and sunspots, there are several different options. The first choice is daily application of a prescription-strength bleaching cream. These creams can often make the spots disappear very nicely. This can take a minimum of 2 months time.
The next option we often use in conjunction with bleaching creams is laser treatment. Intense Pulse Light laser is very safe and effective, is relatively painless, and there’s no down time. The freckles and sun spots darken over the following 1-2 weeks, and they then “fleck” off. This may take 1-2 treatments. There are other treatment options such as chemical peels, laser resurfacing and lightening masks, but, for children, I treat these lesions most often with the two steps described above.
“Beauty Buzz” is sponsored by Hull Dermatology, with offices in Rogers, Bella Vista and at the Eureka Springs Hospital. Dr. Hull has published several scientific papers and has received numerous awards and honors for her work in dermatology. For more info, click here to visit the Hull Dermatology website or call them at 479-254-9662.