What Are the Common Causes of Freckles on Breasts?

A.M. Boyle
A.M. Boyle
Freckles on breasts may occur as a result of sun exposure.
Freckles on breasts may occur as a result of sun exposure.

Although many people associate freckles with the facial area, freckles can happen almost anywhere on a person’s body, including the breasts. Many times freckles on breasts are caused by something as simple as sun exposure. Sometimes, the freckles are a matter of genetics. For the most part, they are usually nothing to be concerned about and tend to fade over time. Still, there are other physical conditions that can look like freckles but which aren't and might warrant medical attention.

Freckles on breasts may occur as a result of genetics.
Freckles on breasts may occur as a result of genetics.

There are basically two common types of freckles, known by the technical names, lentigines and ephelides. Lentigines are darker brown in color and are slightly larger than ephelides. They are usually isolated, not coming in clusters, with asymmetrical shapes. Ephelides are fairly uniform, are usually light brown or tan spots that appear in small groupings, and are about the size of corn kernels. Generally, both types of freckles are harmless and shouldn’t cause concern.

Both ephelides and lentigines occur when melanin, a dark pigment in the skin, increases in a certain area. If that area happens to be a woman’s chest, freckles on breasts will result. Melanin can be stimulated by exposure of the skin to the sun, especially if a person’s skin is fair or normally doesn’t get much sun. If ephelides on breasts are caused by sun exposure, chances are they will fade once the area is out of the sun and covered up for a time. On the other hand, if the freckles are lentigines, they are probably there to stay.

Genetics might also cause a person to have freckles, and therefore, freckles on breasts could simply be a matter of heredity. If this is the case, although a person’s freckles could become more pronounced if exposed to the sun, the opposite will probably not occur, and the freckles will likely never fade completely. There are methods available to remove or lessen the appearance of both ephelides and lentigines. Consequently, if a person absolutely hates the appearance of freckles, there are measures he or she can take to alleviate the condition.

Not all spots that appear on the skin are necessarily freckles, and individuals should take careful note of any new spots or marks that form on the skin. If what is presumed to be freckles on breasts are raised, bumpy, or blotchy and discolored, they could signify a more serious condition that should be evaluated by a health care professional. Similarly, if the spots feel hot to the touch or are oozing or irritated, they should be checked by a medical specialist.

UV Damage of the Skin

Freckles caused by sun damage alter the skin forever. To protect skin against further sun damage, using sunscreen is essential. But with so many sun protection products on the market, how do you choose? First, you must understand the differences between these protective lotions.

Chemical Sunscreen

Chemical sunscreens permeate the first few layers of the skin and absorb dangerous UV rays. Because they soak into the skin, chemical sunscreens don’t typically have a distinct white appearance.

Mineral Sunscreen

Mineral sunscreens work by creating a physical barrier between your skin and the sun’s harmful rays. Mineral sunscreens are thick and will leave a sheen of white over the skin. Many people prefer mineral sunscreen because it offers a way to minimize their exposure to chemicals.

SPF Number

Sunscreen should be applied daily, whether running errands or lying at the beach. For everyday use, look for an SPF of 30 or above. If you know you’ll be spending time outdoors, SPF 50 or above is best. Higher numbers don’t mean you can slather it on and be safe for the day. Reapplication is key. Sunscreens should be reapplied roughly every 80 minutes, depending on the formula and your activities. Check your sunscreen’s label for recommended application times.

Moles and Freckles on Breast

Sometimes it’s challenging to tell moles and freckles apart. There is one clear distinction between freckles and moles. Freckles are flat discolorations of the skin. Moles are raised, even slightly, and can be small or large. Actual freckles cannot become moles over time. However, you may have a flat mole that strongly resembled a freckle at first. If something you previously thought was a freckle has morphed, call your dermatologist. Don’t ignore any visible changes in spots, moles or freckles.

Types of Skin Cancer

The term “skin cancer” gets thrown around quite a bit in the world of sunscreen protection. Skin cancers are common and present themselves in several forms.

  • Basal Cell Carcinoma – These cancerous spots are found in areas most often exposed to the sun, like the face. They appear white or brown and are waxy or scaly.
  • Squamous Cell Carcinoma – Another common form of skin cancer, this also often appears on sun-exposed areas. They often look more like sores or scabs than moles and have a wound-like appearance.
  • Melanoma – Melanoma can spread throughout the body and turn deadly. Don’t delay if you notice an abnormal spot on your skin. It’s essential to attend to melanoma quickly. Five-year survival rates for patients with distant melanoma, meaning it’s spread far from its origin, are only 27%.

Self Examination for Freckles and Moles

Don’t rely solely on annual checkups. It’s crucial to take stock of your body and note any changes. Moles should be self-monitored frequently. Use the ABCDEs of skin cancer to assess whether or not your mole may be a cause for concern.

  • A- Asymmetry – Healthy moles are even in shape. If you divide the mole down the middle, both sides should be equal. Have your doctor check any moles with varying forms.
  • B – Border – Uneven or irregular borders in a mole may signify cancer. The mole’s border should be well defined and have an even, round shape.
  • C – Color – Moles should be one, even color. Varying, spotty shades of red, tan, brown, white, blue or black are not ordinary. Have any moles containing unusual colors checked by a doctor right away.
  • D – Diameter – Any mole bigger than the size of a pencil eraser, roughly 6mm, is cause for concern. Investigate any noticeable change in size, large or small.
  • E – Evolving – Take all changes seriously. Healthy moles will retain the same color, size, and shape. An abnormal mole will change in one or all of these areas over time.

Removing Freckles

Despite internet rumors to the contrary, you cannot erase freckles. Be wary of internet videos that claim lemon juice or bleach can remove freckles. Some freckles may fade with reduced exposure to the sun. Over-the-counter products such as Vitamin-C serums may also help make them less noticeable. If a spot is of particular cosmetic concern, talk with your dermatologist or plastic surgeon. Laser therapy may be available for troublesome areas. Accept and celebrate your freckles. They are a part of your skin’s history, and they are there to stay. Whether they appear on your face or your breasts, freckles are part of what makes you unique. Just like snowflakes, no two freckles are precisely alike.

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Discussion Comments

ysmina

Do hormones play a part in freckle formation? I know that freckles are mostly caused by genes. But I developed more freckles, especially on my breasts, during pregnancy.

donasmrs
@ankara -- That happens to me as well. My freckles usually fade over winter. If you stay away from the sun, I'm sure yours will fade over winter as well. But if you get sun exposure again, they might return or become darker.

People who are prone to freckles need to wear sunscreen all over their body. If you dread freckles, then avoid the sun and cover the areas you want to protect.

I've also heard that freckles form more easily on the beach because exposing wet skin to sunlight triggers them. But I don't know if there is any truth to this.

bluedolphin

I rarely go to the beach and I went last month for a vacation. I have freckles on my face and they usually get darker from sun exposure so I made sure to wear a lot of sunscreen on my face. But I was not expecting to get freckles on my shoulders, chest and breasts from the sun.

How long does it usually last for freckles on the breasts to fade? Am I stuck with these forever?

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      Freckles on breasts may occur as a result of sun exposure.
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