Why do some people have freckles?
Some people have freckles for the same reason some people have straight hair or blue eyes. It is because of the person’s genes!
Genes are tiny little scripts inside many of your body’s cells that tell the cell what to do or what to make. You have thousands and thousands of genes, which give you the color of your hair, eyes, and skin, as well as everything from the shape of your nose and to whether you can curl your tongue into a U or even clover shape! Among these lists of things it makes you look like is your freckles.
Although we don’t know yet what all our genes do, just one or two individual genes are thought to be the “deciders” of whether you are likely to freckle. Since your genes come from your birth parents - half from one parent and half from the other parent - you are most likely to have freckles if they do.
One more ingredient in the freckle recipe is sunlight. Sunlight can make your body produce more of a pigment called melanin. This is where people get “tans” from. There are two kinds of melanin. People who usually have more of one kind of melanin usually have dark skin and are less likely to freckle a lot than people who have mostly the other kind of melanin and have lighter skin.
Reddish and light brown freckles are a buildup of the second kind of melanin in certain spots. Although many people have them, people with lighter skin are more likely to freckle than those with darker skin.
Whether you do or you don’t freckle, make sure to wear sunscreen! Most freckles are harmless and are not caused by damage to the skin, but sunlight can cause skin damage that may result in other harmful spots. Ask your doctor or a dermatologist (a type of doctor who treats the skin) how to protect your skin, even if you have freckles or not.