Ok, let’s air this out right now. This post may seem a little defensive to you. I don’t intend it that way. I really don’t, but you may feel I protest too much. Frankly, I don’t care. This post has been brewing for a lifetime. So here we go.
I have freckles. Tons of them. I always have.
As a youngster, I was that little freckle-faced kid that adults proclaimed “so cute” and other kids might have teased. And when I say the freckles were everywhere, I mean everywhere.
They covered my face, my torso, my arms, and legs. I had freckles on my lips. I even found freckles between my toes.
I never really gave much thought to them. They were just part of me. They showed up when I was just a kid of five or six and they’ve been part of “my look” ever since. I have never spent time hating them because really, what’s the point in that? I have also never tried to get rid of them, even though I have had creams and voodoo “cures” shoved my way. And for the record, if you are a truly freckled person, they can fade, but they never truly go away.
In fact, while growing up bespeckled, my sweet mommy told me that freckles were angel kisses. This is the same mom who told me that thunder was just the angels bowling. So here I am today, comfy in my spots, in love with thunderstorms, and extremely fond of angels. Score one for good parenting.
As I have “matured,” however, some people have tried to suggest that my beloved freckles are not just my skin type, but rather caused by sun damage and age. You know, the dreaded age spots.
Um, well, if they are caused by sun damage, then my sainted mother, whom I just so thoroughly praised just 1.1 paragraphs above, was apparently terribly negligent. I was at my most gloriously freckled as a pony-tailed elementary school kid. Did my mom set me outside to bake as some bizarre form of punishment for failing to eat my vegetables? (And for the record, I HATED vegetables as a kid, but fortunately, Skippy, the family dog, loved them and sat discreetly under the table with her head by my knee…)
Admittedly, we did not do much in the way of sunblock in those days. A smear of gooey, white zinc-oxide on the old nose and maybe some Coppertone tanning lotion on the bod–you were good to go. And sure, my freckles intensified in the summer sun and faded with winter pallor. But damage? Premature liver spots at such a tender age?
Nope. It’s blaspheme. And I have proof.
In an article in Women’s Health Magazine (7-2016) written by my new best-friend-who-doesn’t-know-me, Jessica Chia, the myth about freckles is smashed. Freckled friends, take heart! Here is the REAL story about those precious brown dots:
If you have ephelides, as they’re known medically, you’ve got Mom and Dad to thank. Freckling is a recessive trait, so both parents have to be carriers and pass the tendency on for it to show up, says Amit Sharma, M.D., a dermatologist at the Mayo Clinic, who researches dermatologic genetics. The so-called gene for freckling is actually a benign mutation of the MC1R gene, which regulates pigment.
Take that freckle-haters…age-spotist proponents! Or is it that you are just a tad jealous of my leopard-esque complexion? Because, you know, according to Ms. Chia’s article, freckles are in. (If you’re freckled and you’d like to read the whole article, it’s right here.)
Yup, freckled faces are being hidden no more. They’re on prominent display in high fashion venues, make-up artists no longer get asked to make them disappear. It’s somewhat of a freckled revolution and I’m proud to be a part of it.
I have freckles that are longtime friends. There’s right thigh freckle that was used to measure the length of my mini-skirts in the 70s. No skirt could be shorter than that one perfectly positioned mid-thigh freckle. Still there today, though my skirt hem modestly hides it these days.
Then there was lip freckle that family and friends were constantly trying to wipe away as if it were a stubborn little spot of chocolate. I squirmed in protest as many an adult licked a finger (ew!) and tried to scrub lip freckle into oblivion.
Cut. It. Out.
Of course now my freckles on my face have faded. I am diligent about using sunblock and though freckles are NOT sun damage, they do require sunlight to emerge. Think of it as tanning in tiny baby steps…though they never really do connect to give you that fantastic golden tan your friends achieve each summer.
But my arms and legs? Still a challenging game of connect the dots (and yeah, as a freckled kid, you are subjected to that particular torture by your older siblings at some point). And if you look really closely you’ll still see the spots that decorate every bit of my face.
Here’s a fun freckle fact: You won’t see a freckled baby…freckles emerge later much like a Dalmatian puppy is born all white and the black or liver-colored spots emerge over the course of the first few weeks of life. Well come on, you KNEW I had to work dogs into this post somehow, right? And I do have an Appaloosa horse…so there’s a definite theme going on in my world.
So here’s the sum-it-up-and-tie-it-in-a-speckled-bow truth: I turned into an adorable freckle-face when I was about five, I’ll still have my freckles when I’m 85, and I love me just the way I am. Talk about the perfect way to keep a youthful appearance. You’re cute when you’re five, you’re cute again when you’re 85. Works for me!
So let’s cast the freckles-are-sun-damage stigma aside and celebrate my little spotted self and all of my ephelide-covered brothers and sisters. You freckle-challenged people out there just might have to turn to teeny little tattoos spattered all across your cheeks and the bridge of your nose if you want to keep up with the fashion trend. But please don’t hate those of us who are naturally freckled or try to make us feel bad about them.
The angels are watching…