If you are a new parent, you have probably asked the question, “Are babies born with freckles?” Moreover, you might even get confused about whether the markings that you are seeing are either birthmarks or freckles. Let’s find out about the facts of freckles in babies in this article.
1. What are Freckles?
Freckles are tiny brown spots that you might see on your skin. It is due to the overproduction of melanin on your skin due to exposure to ultraviolet rays that usually comes from the sun. They are usually harmless and are not a serious health concern. Moreover, they usually appear in toddlers aged 2-3 years old.
2. What Causes Freckles?
Freckles are caused by melanin in the skin that is produced by cells called melanocytes. The amount of melanin that your skin has depends on your genetics. Generally, Caucasians and other light-skinned people have less melanin in their bodies. On the other hand, people with dark skin produce more melanin.
Melanin is important in protecting our bodies from harmful sun rays. Moreover, melanin production is increased by sun exposure. Furthermore, Freckles are caused by the production of melanin that occurs in specific areas of the body only.
The causes of freckles are a combination of genetic predisposition and sun exposure. Freckles would not form without the other. That is why in babies, even though they may be predisposed to freckles, they would not have it right after birth. However, once babies are exposed to the sun, it is only then that freckles would form.
3. Are Babies Born With Freckles?
No, babies are not born with freckles. However, some birthmarks might get mistaken for freckles due to their sometimes similar appearance. Freckles are directly caused by sun exposure as this is the trigger for melanin production. Moreover, newborn babies have not yet spent enough time under the sun to have freckles at birth. Besides, they are not yet exposed to sunlight while in the womb.
When babies are born, the markings or pigment that you may find on their skin immediately after birth might be birthmarks. Moreover, some birthmarks resemble freckles at some point, so you might find this confusing. Nevertheless, if your baby has not yet been exposed to sunlight, you may safely assume that what you are looking at is a birthmark rather than freckles.
In twins and multiples, one or more babies may have a unique marking that the others may not have. In this case, it is probably a birthmark instead of freckles, especially if your babies are just right out of the delivery room in the hospital. However, some birthmarks don’t last the entire lifetime of your baby. Some birthmarks are destined to fade over time as your baby grows.
4. Are Freckles Due to Genetics?
Technically, yes, freckles are somehow due to genetics. But, the mechanism of the formation of freckles is slightly more complicated than just that. However, it has clearly been established that lighter-skinned individuals are most susceptible to having freckles. On the other hand, darker-skinned individuals are less likely to have freckles.
Race and genetics play a huge role in determining whether your baby is predisposed to having freckles or not. Besides, if one or both parents have freckles, it is likely that the baby may have freckles after long sun exposure as well. The formation of freckles is due to the race, genetics, nutrition, and amount of sun exposure that your baby has gotten.
5. Are Freckles Dangerous?
No, freckles aren’t generally harmful and whether or not your baby gets it, it is not a cause of health concern. There have been no health complications that are directly linked to the formation of freckles, so if you notice that your baby is developing freckles, it is just fine and it means that your baby is susceptible to it.
The formation of melanin in the skin is normal and necessary to protect your baby from harmful sun rays. Without melanin, your baby would be very susceptible to a type of skin cancer called melanoma. Moreover, excessive sun exposure may not be beneficial for your baby’s health especially during the very hot sunny days.
Even though freckles aren’t dangerous on its own, excessive sun exposure may be detrimental to the health of your baby. Moreover, harmful sun rays may also cause other skin problems apart from sunburn alone. Excessive sun exposure is what causes the greatest dangers in babies and not the formation of freckles. However, babies need some sun exposure for vitamin D. Morning sun is the best for babies and it is less harsh. Besides, the morning sun provides vitamin D and promotes calcium absorption. The exposure to morning sun may also minimize the formation of freckles.
6. How Can my Baby Avoid Having Freckles?
Genetics may predispose a baby to have freckles. But, if you don’t want your baby to have too many freckles later in life, you may try to prevent it with simple measures. Besides, freckles don’t go away on its own once it appears. You can help your baby avoid the development of freckles by following these steps to prevent or limit the production of melanin in your baby’s body:
- Use sunblock on your baby when outdoors
- Use a stroller with an umbrella or top cover
- Lessen sun exposure especially during the hottest times of the day
- Provide adequate nutrition for your baby
Are babies born with freckles? The answer is clearly, no. Babies only acquire freckles from sun exposure. However, some races and colors are predisposed to having freckles. On the contrary, darker-skinned babies are less likely to have freckles throughout their lives. You may also minimize the formation of freckles with some preventive measures.