Freckle Spectacle

So this fun little post is inspired by the fact that my BFF ““ a freckled lass herself ““ forwarded me a slideshow of freckle-faced beauties. (The last image, #32, on the slideshow could be considered NSFW) Sure, it’s not exactly groundbreaking; besides the freckles they’re all conventionally attractive models, but I’ll take it!

I have a lot of freckles. If I were to compare my freckle saturation to one of the women in the slideshow, it would probably be #19. I’ve had them my whole life, they don’t fade much in the summer, and they’re not just a cute, neat little cluster by my nose; they’re everywhere. Since I’ve had them forever, it’s sometimes as if I forget I have them, and I’ll find myself staring, wondering how they got there.

Anyway, just like anyone who’s got an unusual physical trait, I’ve gone through some phases of acceptance of my freckles.

Childhood ““ When you’re a kid, your brain hasn’t fully developed yet, and you think everyone else’s life is exactly like yours. That’s why my childhood was spent regarding my freckles with a mixture of confusion and denial. For example, I’d look at my tan-skinned friends and not understand why they didn’t have any freckles. I’d think that maybe all I had to do was stay out in the sun a long time, and then I’d get so many freckles that they’d just blend together and I’d be really tan! (Note: it doesn’t work that way.) My family did their best to make me feel good; my Grandma told me freckles were kisses from God. After a day outside, my dad would ask me how many new freckles I thought I’d gotten, and I’d stretch out my tiny arms, excitedly pointing to new little brown dots.

Adolescence ““ Just like everything else about my appearance, the freckles went under the Low Self-Esteem Microscope once I hit puberty. I did learn that having a freckly face at least partly disguises the acne that goes along with this magical time in life ““ let’s hear it for hidden perks! But I still was very unhappy with my skin. In my town, when your family went on a trip, you were supposed to come back with a tan, like it was some kind of trophy of a vacation well spent. I lost count of the number of times I’d show up at school after spring break, all proud of the tiny little hint of color I’d gotten in Florida, only to have people say, “I thought you went to Florida. Why aren’t you tan?” Oh, and then there was the middle-school health teacher who told me that freckles were a birth defect.

Still, once the initial self-scrutiny faded, and I moved into my late-teenage years, I stopped worrying about them so much. I started wearing the appropriate SPF for someone with my complexion, sitting under umbrellas or trees, and deploying the one-two punch of hat and sunglasses to keep my particularly sensitive face out of the sun.

Adulthood ““ Nowadays I’ve pretty much come to embrace my little “kisses from God.” Not because I like them tremendously of their own merit, but because they’re there. They’re a part of me and I can’t really imagine myself without them. One of my few Bridezilla moments surrounding my wedding was when I barked at my makeup person, who was airbrushing the fifth layer of foundation on my face, that she better not be covering up my freckles.

It is disheartening, though, to do a Google search of “freckles” and find so much information about bleaching and/or removal. And there are even some entries on freckles that read like they’re a medical condition; you know “Causes, Treatment and Prevention.” I hate to think that some of my freckly brethren out there are so concerned about their spots that they’d try to bleach them. They’re not so bad! You can always play connect the dots with them, and once in a while your faraway friends will see something having to do with freckles and they’ll think of you.

Photo: Getty

10 replies on “Freckle Spectacle”

I am pale with reddish hair. My parents and both siblings have freckles, but I didn’t. Now I get freckles on my arms and shoulders and a weird patch on my forehead where I supposedly had some cyst thing when I was a baby. I recently started getting them on my cheeks, but they are so faint that I just look dirty.

Another pale-skinned, freckly redhead checking in! I love my freckles and have never been teased about them. I don’t know if that’s a UK thing or I was just lucky? My husband also adores my freckles and loves it when they come out in force in the summer. I constantly have a spattering and lots of my arm and shoulders but they go crazy on my face in the sun.

I also have a lot of moles, particularly on my legs which bothers me more both aesthetically and health-wise. I actually have a dermatology appointment next week at the hospital to check out a weird one on my stomach and a new one on my chest which I’m a bit worried about. And just being vain, I don’t like what they look like all over my legs as they’re all different shapes and sizes and colours and not cute like my freckles!

I am a pasty redhead with freckles, but I also have the uncommon ability to tan if I do it very gradually. However, I have always refused to tan my face for two main reasons- My mom, grandma and brother have all had skin cancer cut out of their faces, and the fact that if my face does tan, all my freckles connect and I look like I have big brown dirt splotches on my face. I spent a month in Italy as a nanny when I was younger and the Italians kept making fun of me because my body was tan and my face was pale. I cowed to the pressure and lightened up on the sunscreen (I know, stupid, STUPID) and when they saw the results a few days later, they made fun of the splotches. Sucked.

Being Irish, freckles are really normal for me. I don’t ever remember being teased about them (my dad used to say the same thing as your dad, actually!). After a holiday or sunny day, I do get regular enquiries about why I don’t have “a colour” (read: tan or sunburn) but then I flash my new freckles to distract them…

Leave a Reply