Spotting the Difference Between Sun Spots & Freckles

Freckles and sun spots can be the most confusing skin conditions to navigate. They are both small, flat and varying shades of tan or brown. However, sun spots are directly affected by sun exposure, while freckles are more hereditary and can be accelerated by sun exposure.


Condition Size Feel Color
Sun spots circular, small to medium size spots (2cm) flat or smooth often tan or varying shades of brown
Freckles tiny, circular dots or specks 5mm flat or smooth red, tan, light brown, dark brown or black (depending on skin tone)
The easiest way to tell between sun spots and freckles is by the difference in size. Sun spots are often larger in size whereas freckles are very tiny speckles. You can also tell its difference by how it appears on the skin. Sun spots usually form singularly, and are spread out on the body. Freckles, on the other hands, are usually clustered together - normally by the cheek and nose area of the face. Sun spots and freckles can show up anywhere on the body, and are more apparent on areas most exposed to the sun.

Causes and Formation

Freckles are mainly caused by genetics. Persons that experience freckles often carry the MC1R gene and other features such as fair skin or reddish hair. However, these additional features are not needed to determine whether you have freckles. You may find that people with browner shades and dark hair also have experience freckling. Freckles often appear darker in hotter seasons when sun exposure is more prominent. On the opposite side, freckles normally fade and become less apparent during winter time. Sun spots are not genetic and are mainly caused by prolonged sun exposure. Like freckles, sun spots usually darken during hotter seasons. Sun spots are also known as age spots, because of their likelihood to spread the more you age. While sun spots are more apparent on fair to tan skin shades, anyone can experience sun spots.

Treatments for Sun Spots

  • Avoid going outside during the sun’s peak times (10am - 3pm). If so, ensure to cover affected areas as much as possible.
  • Wear sun protection (SPF-30 or higher) whenever you are going out in the sun.
  • Retinoid creams, like our Resurfacing Créme are excellent for fading sun spots and evening skin ton.
  • Microdermabrasion treats are 4x more effective than exfoliating at home. Our Mini Micro is great for targeting those last minute sun marks.
  • Vitamin E & C. Applying Vitamin E or C topically can also improve the appearance of sun spots as they both work against sun damage.
  • Applying an enriched serum like our Revitalizing Serum every night helps with signs of aging, including sun spots.
Knowing your body is important, and we hope that this article added a bit more insight into your skin. If you would like to know more about skin cancers, click here to read on.

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