How to Take Care of (Not Get Rid of) Your Summer Freckles

Classic American beauty standards teach us that freckles are a flaw, but I've always loved mine. The few times dermatologists have recommended peels and products to eliminate them or makeup artists have made an effort to camouflage them, I felt like they were trying to cover up the fact that I have elbows—my freckles are a part of me. They're a fact. I don't want to get rid of them; I just want to keep them in their best shape possible. 

A little background on why some people are frecklier than others: "It simply means that you have more active melanin cells in the skin. This is from genetics," explains celebrity esthetician Renée Rouleau. Freckle-prone people like me aren't born with spots (you'll never see a freckly newborn baby). "But pigment cells rise to the surface with age, so they will come out starting as early as age 2," says Rouleau. Freckling like this is due to exposure to heat and sun, but it isn't necessarily a bad thing. "I view these as localized pigmented growths that are precipitated by the sun but not dangerous," assures Craig Kraffert, board-certified dermatologist and president of Amarte Skin Care. "So whether or not sun freckles are considered sun damage is a matter of perspective and interpretation."

Thankfully, not every cosmetic skincare expert will tell you to get rid of your freckles. "A light sprinkling over the nose and onto the cheeks is very attractive, in my opinion! I would never try to erase someone's freckles," says Whitney Bowe, leading NYC dermatologist and author of The Beauty of Dirty Skin. However, to keep your freckles cute, sharp, and contained, maintenance is required. "When they start to become very crowded and contiguous (touching) or get significantly darker, it's a sign you probably overdid it in the sun," says Bowe. Not to mention, if you are freckle-prone, it means you're probably at a higher risk for sunburn and skin cancer, too. "So flaunt and enjoy your freckles, but let them serve as a warning that you need to be extra vigilant all summer long," Bowe advises.

To help you stay vigilant, we consulted Rouleau, Kraffert, Bowe, and one other top dermatologist to get their best advice on how to take care of (not nix) your freckles this summer. Keep scrolling to read their skincare tips.