Will My Baby Have Freckles?
Fact-checked by HeHe Stewart, Doula and birthing expert. HeHe is the founder of a Maternity Concierge, Doula and Birthing Service in the Boston area.
What is a freckle and how do you get them?
Ephelides, also known as freckles, are clusters of skin cells that have browned due to high exposure to sun and results in overproduction of melanin. They are appear most commonly on humans with lighter skin tones who don’t protect their skin from sun exposure. Another key factor in developing freckles is not wearing sunscreen. Your genetic coding will also play a role as it determines how easily your skin will burn when in the sun. Continuous sunburns will increase your risk for developing freckles as well as the presence of a gene known as MC1R.
More: How Tall Will My Baby Be? A Genetic Explanation
Are you born with freckles?
Short answer, no. Long answer, freckles can pop up with any amount of sun exposure and it all depends on how your skin absorbs and reacts to the sun. According to Stanford Children's Health, freckles aren’t necessarily a result of damage, but they are certainly a telltale sign that you’ve been out in the sun without sunscreen. Freckles can also get darker if they are repeatedly exposed to the sun without protection.
So.. will my child develop freckles?
Maybe, but they definitely won’t be born with freckles. Children usually begin to develop freckles after age two—not because their skin is “ready,” but because they are mobile and are naturally exposed to more sunlight because of their mobility.
When to be concerned?
For the most part, freckles are harmless variations in our skin that act almost like a fingerprint. However, every now and then, you may notice something concerning or changes to your skin and wonder if you should consult your doctor. The answer is yes. If you are ever concerned with something on our body, always consult a doctor, at the very least for your mental health. There are a few skin variations that you should be aware of (freckles, moles, and sunspots). According to The Skin Cancer Foundation, you should follow the ABCDEs and contact a doctor if you notice any of the following changes or signs:
A- Asymmetry- if it’s not symmetrical, check with your doctor
B- Borders- if the border is not smooth, check with your doctor
C- Color- a variety in color in one mole or freckle can be worrisome, check with your doctor
D- Diameter- if it’s bigger than ¼ inch, check with your doctor
E- Evolving- if your mole or freckle changes, check with your doctor
Moles have an increased risk of melanoma, but are generally considered harmless. Freckles and sunspots are almost always carry very low risk.
Freckles as a Fad?!
Yep! It’s true! Freckles have become a hot commodity among the fashion bloggers and make-up artist community. That’s right, folks are fawning over freckles! People are using makeup to create fake freckles. Isn’t it funny how things we loathe about ourselves as kids, we are airbrushing and painting on ourselves as adults? Humans are funny.
*It is considered dangerous to use methods like tanning with extremely low SPF protection or with no protection at all to acquire freckles.
Sun safety is extremely important. Here are the 5 Sunscreen Mistakes You're Probably Making and how to fix them.
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HeHe is an experienced Doula, Childbirth consultant and Infant Feeding Specialist. She is the founder of a Maternity Concierge, Doula and Birthing Service in Boston, MA.