Ally McManus speaks to two young women who naturally have freckles. One had a laser procedure to remove them. The other loves her freckles and wouldn’t consider removal.
They’re little brown spots that some people have and some people don’t. To those who grew up with freckles, they weren’t always perceived as beautifully as they are now. Many have attempted the ‘natural’ remedy of removing the spots with lemon juice; some have even some tried topical lightening agent creams. Technology has now advanced us to laser freckle removal treatments. But not everyone is keen to give up their spots. While Jemma Hall is happy she tried the procedure, Allie Marsh would never consider removing her freckles.
Freckles are flat spots of an uneven distribution of skin pigment, caused by an increase in melanin. They’re usually quite small, about the size of the tip of a nail and are on sun-exposed areas of the body like the face, neck, arms and shoulders. Despite the many different shades of freckles, they’re usually uniform in colour on a person’s face but tend to darken in colour in the warmer months and lighten in the cooler months. Freckles are more common on those with
lighter or fairer skin and also those with a genetic predisposition to developing the sunspots.
Eighteen-year-old Jemma has had freckles her whole life and decided last year that she would finally try the freckle laser removal treatment at Skin Solutions in Bairnsdale. She had two sessions and “got as much off that was expected of them, but I wanted more.” I ask her why she chose this method and why she wanted to remove them in the first place. “I just would have preferred not to have them and to have clear skin…you can’t really hide them, they’re annoying and it looks like you don’t have nice skin all the time.”
Jemma after her laser procedure
The Victorian Cosmetic Institute have two laser procedures to remove freckles. The lasers target the pigments and usually one to two sessions removes the majority of the spots. The Q-switched ruby laser is highly attracted to melanin, so the laser energy allows the freckles to destruct, shattering the pigment particles. This laser also works very quickly, each laser pulse lasting only a few nanoseconds. This laser is perfect for freckles on the face. The Medilite laser is another laser attracted to melanin. It isn’t as deep as the ruby laser, but is a much quicker treatment and better suited to lighter freckles on the body and not the face. These procedures can cost anywhere $185 – $400 per session.
Jemma had the laser treatment over her whole face, but the procedure only takes off the first layer of freckles each time, so the darker freckles on her forehead and nose were the first to go. She tells me a bit about the pain. “It was just like a luckaband flicking against your skin.” She also tells
me afterwards for about an hour her face felt sensitive and sunburnt. Despite this, Jemma is happy she did the treatment and could have more removed. Unfortunately her student budget won’t allow her to at the moment. “It’s not that I wouldn’t get it done again now because I wasn’t happy, it’s just the cost. I’m happy with how it’s turned out.”
Allie Marsh, 20, has lots of freckles on her face but would never laser them off. She admits it was a bit difficult growing up with them, but now as adult, they’re an integral part of who she is. “When I was younger I hated them because no one else had that many, but as I got older I accepted them and learned to love them.” Freckles are a huge part of what makes Allie who she is and she would never want to change that. “I’ve always had them, they’re a part of me. I think I’d look really weird without them, I couldn’t imagine life without them,” she tells me through a laugh.
I ask Allie what she thinks about freckle laser treatments in general. “I think it’s pointless, they’re not a hassle or anything, they’re just freckles. There’s no need to get rid of them.” She says this while looking at the freckles on her arms, reiterating to me that they don’t bother her at all.
To some, freckles are the epitome of beauty, whereas others believe they dwindle one’s attractiveness. But these pigments of our skin can’t define aesthetics. It’s just like saying someone isn’t beautiful because they have blue eyes instead of brown or green, or blonde hair isn’t as attractive as red or brown. No matter what physical changes are made to us as people, there’s one underlying thing we need to remember. Freckles are beautiful.