Sunspots vs. freckles: how to know the difference

It’s almost summertime here in Boca Raton, Florida, and our board-certified professional works regularly with patients to help them understand skin conditions that may be impacted by the sun. Many patients with spots on the face, arms, and other areas are often unsure as to what these areas of pigmentation are. Dr. Marta Rendon often evaluates patients to let them know if they are dealing with freckles or sunspots.

What are freckles?

Freckles are typically found on the skin to be less than 5mm in diameter. These small spots on the skin are locations where skin cells have produced extra pigmentations. The color varies depending on the patient’s skin tone, and is often determined by genetics. Even though they are hereditary, their appearance and darkening may be impacted by sun exposure. They are not a sign of sun damage, but patients with freckles should be mindful about applying sunscreen regularly.

What are sunspots?

Sunspots differ from freckles in many ways. Sunspots are often areas of pigmentation that are larger than freckles and found on sun-exposed areas. These spots are more commonly seen with aging, which is why they often have the name “age spots” or “liver spots.” The clumping of pigmented cells is what makes them bigger. Sunspots are also not permanent, and can be treated with certain skin treatments such as laser skin resurfacing or chemical peels. Sometimes they can fade over time if they are not exposed to sun.

Should I have my pigmentation areas evaluated?

Whenever you have changes to your skin, it is essential that you schedule an appointment with a dermatologist to get a full evaluation. Some skin changes, such as changing moles or new growths, may indicate skin cancer is present. We recommend patients have annual skin cancer screenings for this exact reason, ensuring individuals are taking a more proactive approach rather than a reactive approach to their skin and body’s health.

Interested in an evaluation?

Contact our board-certified dermatologist, Dr. Marta Rendon, by calling (561) 750-0544 She is located in Boca Raton, FL and works directly with patients in her practice to help them with cosmetic and medical dermatology concerns. Her facility is located at 1001 NW 13th Street in Ste. 100.

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