How they form and appear on darker skin tones — and how to protect your skin
Let it be known: freckles aren’t only for fair-skinned maidens. Braided red hair a la Pippi Longstocking is no longer a requisite to having a complexion covered with a smattering of these charming spots — locks, twists, and 4C tight coiled curls could even accompany them because, yes, black people can also have freckles. In fact, people of all different skin tones — white, caramel, olive and black — can have freckles. Here’s the reason freckles appear and how freckles are different on the different skin tones that can have them.
What causes skin freckles?
In a word: genetics. Freckles, aka ephelides, often depend on your DNA — although sun exposure can cause them to first appear or darken. Freckles are different than hyperpigmentation, aka dark spots, in that they’re caused not by melanocytes (which produces your skin’s color) but the melanocortin-1-receptor — the major freckle gene, according to a study published in the 2001 issue of Human Molecular Genetics, conducted by doctors in the dermatology department at Leiden University in the Netherlands.
What is the difference between freckles on lighter and darker skin tones?
Freckles are more common in people with lighter skin tones because they have less melanin to begin with and thus the darkened freckles stand out against their skin tone. But black people can absolutely have freckles too — just look at SZA, Sade, and Adwoa Adoba. Anyone can have freckles, regardless of their skin color.
Depending on your skin tone, they might appear in a variety of ways. Freckles on darker skin tones tend to be larger and more mottled than those on lighter skin. They can also be darker in color, appearing almost black. Some freckles on dark skin may even have a reddish hue.
If you have freckles, there’s no need to worry. They’re completely harmless and they don’t require any special care. Just be sure to wear sunscreen when you’re outdoors, as freckles can darken and become permanent if they’re frequently exposed to sunlight.
How to get freckles on black skin?
If you searched Google looking for an answer, you won’t find it here. Some places will recommend products with DHA or topical treatments with melanin but our ethos is your skin is beautiful as it exists and products shouldn’t change or alter it. Instead they should care for your melanin and treat inflammation to avoid hyperpigmentation.
How to take care of freckles on dark skin?
There isn’t a specific skincare regime for freckled black skin, but there are a few things you can do to protect your freckles from the sun.
- Always wear sunscreen when you’re outdoors. This will help prevent your freckles from darkening and becoming permanent.
- Avoid using harsh exfoliants or bleaching or skin lightening products. This can cause them to fade or disappear altogether.
What is the difference between freckles and moles?
Sometimes it’s hard to know the difference because they appear so similar: i.e. dark and round. Freckles are small, dark spots that appear on the skin due to sun exposure. They’re usually harmless and don’t require any special care (aside from SPF to avoid darkening). Moles are also small, dark spots that can appear anywhere on the skin. However, moles can be either benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous). If you have a mole that’s changing in size, shape, or color, see your doctor to have it checked out.
To answer your question: Yes, Black people can absolutely have freckles. If you have them, embrace them! They’re part of what makes your skin tone beautiful.