lady smiling with her eyes closed and freckles


Do you ever wonder why do we get freckles? Read here to discover what are freckles, why we get them and some amazing skincare tips for them.

Why do we get freckles?

What are freckles and how do they form?

Freckles are small areas of extra pigmentation on the skin made up of melanin, the hormone that determines your skin’s colour. Freckles are flat, tan or light brown and appear either as a single spot or, more usually, appear as a group. Freckles on the face are most common, but they often appear on the shoulders, arms, chest and back. They are sensitive to sunlight and will usually wane in winter. 


But, why do we get freckles, what are freckles and can you stop freckles?


Discover what causes skin to freckle easily and who is more likely to have these wonderful markings.

Why do we get freckles?

What causes freckles?

woman with her eyes closed in the sun
What causes freckles?

The Sun

Freckles are brown spots found on skin that is regularly exposed to the sun - they are smooth to touch and, unlike moles, are not raised up from the skin’s surface. The colour of freckles is caused by a pigment called melanin. The more time you spend in the sun, the more melanin is produced, which is why you might notice more skin freckles after being outside on a sunny day.
family on the beach
What causes freckles?


Genetics also play a big part in who gets freckles. If certain members of the family are prone to freckled skin, it’s likely that others will be too. Nobody is born with freckles (you won’t see a newborn baby with freckles), but they usually start to develop during childhood and sometimes vanish during adulthood as we get older. Don’t be alarmed if your freckles fade in the winter and darken in the summer – this is completely normal.

Why do we get freckles?

Anybody can have freckled skin, but the colour of the specks may be lighter or darker depending on your hair and skin colour. People with red-coloured hair and fair skin are more likely to have freckles, but this is just one of many factors that affect whether skin freckles. 

The MRCI gene that controls why some people have freckles is the same one that determines red hair. People with red hair are likely to have and develop freckles as they often also have fairer skin that is more sensitive to the sun.

People usually develop freckles in childhood, or as a teenager, but they can fade as we grow older. 
lady smiling with a hat on

How to care for freckles on the face

Your freckles are what make you so unique – learn how to make the most of gorgeous freckled skin.
How to care for freckles on the face

How to avoid freckles and how to stop freckles from getting darker

Skin that freckles easily should be embraced and well cared for. The way to do this is with a thorough skincare routine that gives the skin exactly what it needs. As freckled skin tends to be on the fairer side, it can be prone to damage from UVA and UVB rays.

Suncream should be reapplied often, even on days where it doesn't seem sunny. Don’t forget to reapply after swimming or exercise. Opt for a tinted moisturiser with added SPF on cooler days, which will provide some coverage as well as protection.

Sunburn is your skin’s response to damage and it can have long-lasting effects on your skin and health. Our Sun range offers protection for the whole family and includes sunscreen especially for use on your face, ideal for protecting freckles on face. Try our NIVEA Luminous630 Sun Fluid SPF50 to protect your face from damaging UV rays. As well as protecting the skin from damaging UV light, it also works to prevent and visibly reduce sun spots.

woman with nivea cellular luminous products
How to care for freckles on the face

6 useful tips for caring for freckles on the face

  1. Stay out of the sun during the hottest hours of the day to protect your delicate skin
  2. Wear big-brimmed hats and protective clothing on the hottest days to shade your skin from UV rays
  3. Always apply moisturiser after being out in the sun to keep freckled skin smooth and supple
  4. Don’t cover up freckles with a heavy foundation – learn to love your unique markings
  5. To even out freckled areas, use a brow pencil to dot in a few extras
  6. Products with SPF protect your face from UVA and UVB radiation – include sunscreen for face in your daily routine

Step-by-step face care routine for freckles

Step-by-step face care routine for freckles

1. Cleansing

Always remember to remove makeup and impurities by cleansing the skin at the beginning and end of every day. Use an effective and hydrating cleanser that is gentle on your beautiful freckled skin - leaving your complexion looking fresh and revealing smoother and fresher looking skin.
Step-by-step face care routine for freckles

2. Exfoliating

Exfoliating is important for removing dead skin cells and unclogging pores. Exfoliating brightens up the skin and polishes your freckles. Exfoliating also helps to even out your skin tone so reducing the appearance of lentigo or age spots.

However, don’t exfoliate too often, as this can irritate the skin - read our exfoliation guide for more tips.

Step-by-step face care routine for freckles

3. Toning

Toning removes any excess sebum and other impurities and refreshes the skin ready for moisturising. Find a toner that suits your skin’s needs to support freckles on the face and leave freckled skin feeling invigorated.
Step-by-step face care routine for freckles

4. Moisturising

Like all other skin types, skin that freckles easily also needs to be hydrated to stay radiant and beautiful. Apply night cream before going to sleep to support the skin’s regeneration process at night for smooth and fresh skin in the morning.
Step-by-step face care routine for freckles

5. Applying Eye Cream

Hydrating the delicate eye area is an essential skincare step, as this area is more fragile and prone to dryness. If you apply effective eye cream, you can minimise the appearance of puffiness and dark circles to brighten the sensitive eye contour.

How to stop freckles

A smattering of freckles on the bridge of your nose, shoulders or cheeks is cute but while beautiful, it is also worth keeping an eye on them as they can be the first sign of sun damage. While freckles are not harmful, understanding how to stop freckles goes hand-in-hand with sun protection. 

If you were wondering how to stop freckles, it’s important to remember that they are much admired by the freckle-less, but sunscreen will stop freckles from spreading and merging together, which can be a signal you’ve been out in the sun too long. 

Here are some tips on how to stop freckles and stay sun safe:

  1. Use a sunscreen with SPF (sun protection factor) 30 or above. Reapply sunscreen every 2 hours while you are out in the sun.
  2. Avoid stepping out when the sun's rays are at their peak (10 am to 4 pm)
  3. Wear sun-protective clothing and hats

While you can’t stop freckles, by staying out of the sun and using sun cream your skin will have more protection which means less melanin will be produced and your skin may produce fewer freckles. Due to this increased production of melanin caused by the sun, people who get freckles should be more careful in the sun as they have an increased likelihood of getting skin cancers. If you have freckles you should pay attention to any freckles that change shape or colour and seek medical advice if you are worried about any of them.

Heat can make freckles darker so if your face is feeling flushed, apply a cool flannel to your face or splash your skin with cold water after coming in from the sun.



What is lentigo?

Some people mistake Lentigo for freckles but unlike freckles, lentigines keep their pigmentation all year round. They don’t change colour in sunlight and are not usually found in clusters like freckles generally are. 

Lentigo can affect males and females of all ages and skin colours, although having fair skin, sun exposure or repeated sun damage can cause Lentigo, especially in mature skin.

What can cause Lentigo?:

4 main causes of lentigo are:

  1. Sun damage 
  2. UV light damage from sunbed use
  3. Sunburn
  4. Ageing 
lady with freckles and sunscreen

What does Lentigo look like?

Lentigo is classified into different types according to what they look like, where they appear on the body, what has caused them, and whether they are linked with other diseases or conditions.


Lentigo may appear as a single mark or as a group (this is more common) and can be jagged or smooth-edged. They are usually round and between 3-15 mm in diameter. It is important to keep an eye on any marks on your skin that you’re concerned about. 


The ABCD-Easy rules is a good way of tracking changes that might indicate a 'melanoma':

A - Asymmetry: Normal moles are symmetrical, draw a line through the middle. Both sides should be symmetrical. It may be something more sinister otherwise and worth seeing your doctor.

B - Border: Moles that may cause cancer often have borders that are uneven, bumpy or jagged. 

C - Color: Having freckles or moles with more than one colour can be a sign of something cancerous

D - Diameter: A growth larger than 6mm should be checked by a doctor

E - Evolving: Any changes in size, height or colour of a mole should be checked by a doctor

Why do we get freckles?

Stay out of the sun

The best way to stop freckles is to prevent them in the first place.

  • Stay out of the sun, especially during the times the sun is most powerful (11am-4pm), seek the shade and stay indoors when you can.
  • Use sun-protective clothing, there are clothes available that protect against UV rays such as long sleeve shirts, trousers and hats.
  • If you do need to head out in the sun use an SPF 50 sunscreen to protect from sun overexposure and reapply every couple of hours. Check out our NIVEA Sun range to protect your skin. 
woman holding nivea face sunscreen
The best creams for freckles

How to remove freckles on the face and body

If you're looking to know how to remove freckles from the face and body, remember they look great! But the right creams and treatments can help protect, brighten and support your skin and freckles.

NIVEA UV Face Sun Cream - This face sun cream provides immediate and effective sun protection, leaving your skin feeling light and non greasy. It also absorbs excess oil on the skin, leaving a mattefying effect.This won't remove freckles, but suncream will stop freckles from forming in great numbers. Freckles are an excellent guide to sun exposure - while a little sunlight will bring out a sprinkle of pretty freckles, too many could be a sign of UV damage.



Creams - lotions designed to treat hyperpigmentation can help to even skin tone and improve radiance which will target sun spots and redness, giving the perfect backdrop for your freckles.

lady holding nivea uv face sunscreen