If only all those freckles would turn into a nice even tan. But even though it seems like there’s always more of them, they never blend together. What’s worse is that they’re a sign that your skin is damaged.
Freckles are leftover skin pigmentation (melanin) that remains in the top layer of skin. In a few years, you may have large brown spots surfacing. Being out in the sun only makes them worse. If you want fewer freckles, you’ll need to protect yourself with sunblock. A good makeup foundation and concealer will make them invisible for a while. Dermatologists can make freckles fade with IPL, or Intense Pulsed Light, if you have lighter-color skin.
You can also treat freckles with creams. The most effective ingredients are these:
- Alpha Hydroxy Acid
- Vitamin A
- Antioxidants like vitamin C, vitamin E and niacinamide
Hydroquinone bleaches your skin cells and keeps skin pigment, or melanin, from forming. It’s often recommended for people with darker complexions. You’ll probably have to use a cream with a 2% solution of hydroquinone for 2 to 3 months before you see results. On the upside, it may help your skin look less freckled for up to 6 months before you have to reapply the treatment. On the downside, many creams with this ingredient have a preservative that irritates skin and causes redness.
Alpha hydroxy acid removes the top layer of your skin by making it grow faster. It helps fade freckles and other skin discolorations. It’s often listed on labels as “lactic acid” or “glycolic acid”. Use it only at night before bed because it makes your skin more susceptible to burning. Glycolic, salicylic, and trichloroacetic acids are used in chemical peels, too.
Vitamin A in the form of retinol and tretinoin helps reverse skin discoloration and wrinkles.
Antioxidants like Vitamin C, E, and niacinamide help even out skin color and slow the damage that the sun does to your skin.
The 5 Best Freckle Creams You Can Buy Without a Prescription
We hunted down the best freckle creams that you can buy without visiting a doctor first. Let’s look at face creams first.
Kiss Red E Whitening Cream
Kiss Red E is a popular lightening cream. Its formula does not use any harsh chemicals or preservatives. Kiss Red E will also moisturize and tone skin. It can be used on any part of the body. Kiss Red E works for both dark and light color skin, although it’s been marketed more toward people with lighter skin tones.
This product is made in the United States from natural organic ingredients including aloe, coconut, jojoba, grape, avacado, sweet almond, witch hazel, vitamin e and many other similar ingredients. It also contains hyaluronic acid to help moisturize skin.
It may take six to eight weeks to start seeing a difference in skin color. You can stop using it once your spots have faded. This product may make your sensitive to the sun and cause sunburn, so minimize sun exposure when using it, or cover with sunscreen or protective clothing.
Clinicians Complex 6% Bleaching Cream is recommended by skin care professionals. It’s based on three main ingredients: hydroquinone, Kojic acid, and Bearberry extract. You’re familiar with hydroquinone already, and Kojic acid works in a similar fashion. It slows down the production of melanin, or skin pigment. Bearberry extract has Arbutin, and Arbutin becomes hydroquinone when it’s applied to skin. This triple combination makes Clinicians Complex very powerful.
But wait, there’s more. The cream also has Vitamins C and E to help make your skin healthier. Clinicians Complex also says their 6% cream won’t oxidize for 2 years. That’s good because it comes in a jar so it’s exposed to air a lot.
If you have acne, eczema, or psoriasis, be careful when using this product. It contains strong ingredients that may cause your skin condition to flare up painfully.
Murad Rapid Age Spot and Pigment Lightening Serum
Murad Rapid Lightening Serum is based on 2% hydroquinone, glycolic acid, and Hexapeptide-2. It lightens dark spots, slows down the formation of new ones, and exfoliates dead skin cells. Murad says that 85% of the people who participated in their study saw freckles start to fade in just a week.
It’s the most expensive product we chose, but it comes recommended by skin care professionals and many satisfied users. Murad recommends using their whole skin care lineup for maximum best results. They say you can use this particular product daily for conditions like melisma, or stop using it once your spots have faded.
At the very least, plan on applying this serum to clean skin and then following it up with a moisturizer. It’s better to use it at night or in combination with sunblock because hydroquinone makes skin sensitive to sunlight.
Komenuka Bijin Essence Whitening Serum with Rice Bran
Komenuka Bijin Essence comes from Japan. It has no hydroquinone in it, which is a selling point for people who have suffered bad skin reactions from that chemical. It isn’t a bleaching agent like the other freckle creams described above, but it will lighten skin over time. Komenuka recommends applying it daily for two months to see if it works for you.
This might be the best freckle cream for you if you suffer from acne. It helps moisturize skin as it works because it’s based on water and includes glycerin and sodium hyaluronate. Sake yeast helps your skin make collagen. Mulberry root extract lightens skin color and is an anti-inflammatory. Rice bran has antioxidant vitamin E and vitamin B-complex to even out skin color.
For Freckles on the Rest of Your Body
If you’re tired of freckled and skin spots on your arms and elsewhere, you can fight those, too.
ASDM Beverly Hills Maximum Strength Skin Lightening Body Lotion
This ASDM Beverly Hills Skin Lightening Body Lotion comes in a much larger container than the face creams do. You won’t need to spend a lot of money to treat the rest of your skin.
The lotion is based on glycolic acid, Kojic acid, Arbutin, and lactic acid. Those acids help exfoliate and lighten dark spots. It also contains titanium dioxide, Jojoba oil, and grapefruit seed extract to help skin feel smooth and look younger. The lotion smells pleasant and light because of the cucumber oil fragrance.
ASDM Beverly Hills recommends a twice-weekly sugar scrub on problem areas to speed up exfoliation and help the active ingredients to absorb into your skin. They say it may take up to 8 weeks of daily use to see results.
Natural Home Remedies for Freckles
We’ll close with a rundown on traditional cures for age spots and freckles. There must be some truth in them because most of the freckle creams we just described are based on acids, and acids help make dark spots disappear. Keep in mind that these home remedies may irritate your skin.
A sour cream face mask needs to absorb into your skin for about 15 minutes before you wash it away. It’s based on lactic acid.
Rubbing a slice of lemon on your freckles might smell good, but don’t get it in your eyes. That has citric acid, which is a natural bleach.
Prevent Future Freckles
Remember to use sunscreen on your face every day to keep your skin healthy.