Here’s to our favourite sum­mer ac­ces­sory: the freckle. by jill dunn

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We heart freck­les.

By Jill Dunn

Fash­ion loves freck­les this sea­son. At Paul Smith’s spring/sum­mer 2014 show, makeup artists mapped a con­stel­la­tion of faux dots across mod­els’ cheeks and noses. “The in­spi­ra­tion was a por­trait of a very fresh, nat­u­ral and tanned young Jane Birkin,” ex­plains Pet­ros Petro­hi­los, a Lon­don-based makeup artist who de­signed the look us­ing a M.A.C brow pen­cil in Lin­ger­ing for “a sheer freckle” and an­other in Cof­fee for “a more pre­cise dot.” Mean­while, H&M’s sis­ter brand, & Other Sto­ries, launched a freckle makeup pen­cil for those who would like to cus­tom cre­ate some of their own.

A fond­ness for freck­les has been a bit of an in­sider ob­ses­sion for some time. Nearly 50 years ago, leg­endary edi­tor Diana Vree­land wrote a mis­sive to her Vogue team af­ter see­ing the sum­mer-is­sue lay­out: “I am ex­tremely dis­ap­pointed that no one has taken the slight­est in­ter­est in freck­les on the mod­els. I heartily sug­gest that we get go­ing as soon as pos­si­ble on this de­li­cious co­quetry.” She made a good point. While age spots sig­nify, well, h

age, freck­les speak to youth and play­ful­ness. Dots on dots on dots evoke a care­free nos­tal­gia. Freck­les say “I’m fun! I have en­vi­able leisure time! I’m the friend who brings mar­gar­i­tas!”

Sil­ver-screen stars like Ann-Mar­gret, Molly Ring­wald and Ju­lianne Moore wouldn’t be nearly as mem­o­rable sans speck­les. Try to hide them and it rings in­au­then­tic or fake. Just ask Lind­say Lo­han, who al­legedly caked on con­cealer (while ex­pos­ing ev­ery­thing else) on the steamy set of The Canyons to try to dis­tance her­self from her freckly Par­ent Trap be­gin­nings. (It was a #fail.) And then there are the stars of the mu­sic and modelling worlds—like Sade, Twiggy, Gisele and Kate Moss—whose sig­na­ture freck­les helped put them on the map.

Also known as an ephelis, a freckle is a collection of melanin in the top layer of the skin. Un­like moles, which can be present at birth, freck­les de­velop over time as a re­sult of sun ex­po­sure and ge­netic pre­dis­po­si­tion. “They are more prom­i­nent in sum­mer be­cause the melanocytes in freck­les pro­duce more pig­ment in re­sponse to sun ex­po­sure,” says Dr. Ja­son Rivers, a Van­cou­ver­based der­ma­tol­o­gist. If you want to make sure that all your freck­les are of the co­quet­tish va­ri­ety rather than some­thing to be con­cerned about, start by look­ing at whether they match. “Freck­les that look very sim­i­lar to their neigh­bours are harm­less,” says Rivers. “In fact, true freck­les are not known to de­velop into skin cancer.” Dr. Ju­lia Car­roll, a Toronto-based der­ma­tol­o­gist, agrees. If one spot looks out of step with the oth­ers, get it checked. “It’s all about as­sess­ing with the A, B, C, D, E method,” she says. “If it’s Asym­met­ri­cal, if the Bor­der is ir­reg­u­lar, if the Colour changes, if the Di­am­e­ter is larger than a pen­cil Eraser—these are all red flags that shouldn’t be ig­nored.” n

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