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Do you know anyone with freckles? Maybe you have freckles yourself! Jessi has them, and she's been wondering what they are, where they come from, and why some people have them and some people don't!
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SOURCES:
http://kidshealth.org/AllegroPediatrics/en/parents/freckle-facts.html
http://kidshealth.org/en/kids/freckles.html
https://www.kidsdiscover.com/quick-reads/what-causes-fabulous-freckles/
http://genetics.thetech.org/ask/ask195
One of my favorite things to learn about is my own body!

And the other day, I was looking in the mirror while I was washing my hands, and I started thinking about the freckles that I have on my face. You might have freckles, too — little tan or light brown spots on your skin.

They might be on your face, like mine are, or they might be on your shoulders, arms, or other places! Sometimes the spots kind of run together and make larger patches of color. I like my freckles.

They’re part of what makes me, well … me! But I’ve noticed that some of my friends have no freckles at all! [Squeaks squeaks] No, you don’t have any, Squeaks! So why do I have them—and others don’t?

The freckles on my skin are made of something called melanin, which gives our hair, eyes, and skin their color. If you have lighter skin, then your skin makes less melanin. And if you have darker skin, then your skin makes more melanin.

But melanin does more than just give our skin its color! It has another important job to do. The melanin in our skin catches and soaks up some of the light that comes from the sun.

That’s a good thing, because if we get too much of the sun on our skin, it can damage, or hurt our skin, making it red and sore. [Squeaks squeaks] Right, Squeaks! Melanin helps to keep our skin from getting a sunburn. When you’re out in the sun for a while, your skin starts to make more melanin to try and keep you from getting a sunburn.

Since melanin is kind of brown or tan in color, you get tanned after you spend time in the sun. And it’s that same brownish melanin that causes some of us to get freckles. When you’re out in the sun, the sunlight causes your skin to make melanin.

But in some people, small spots on their skin make more melanin than other parts of their skin. The parts that make more melanin turn darker than other parts. And each darker part is what we call a freckle.

So I have freckles because some parts of my skin make more melanin. And it takes sunlight to really make freckles show up! That’s why babies usually aren’t born with freckles — they get more of them as they spend time in the sun growing up.

Now, not all of the kinds of spots you can get on your skin are freckles. If a spot doesn’t change much after you’ve spent a lot of time in the sun, it’s probably not a freckle. But why doesn’t everybody have freckles?

Well, if you have lighter skin and eyes, like I do, then you’re more likely to get freckles than someone who has darker skin and eyes. And if one or both of your parents have freckles, then you’re more likely to get freckles than someone whose parents don’t have freckles. But people with darker skin and eyes can still get freckles, and so can people whose parents don’t have freckles!

Some animals can get freckles, too, like dogs and cats. But most animals don’t, even ones that have other kinds of spots all over their skin. One of the coolest things about freckles is that they can change.

For example, in the winter, or other times when we’re not spending lots of time in sun, freckles can fade, or get lighter. Eventually, they can totally disappear! And freckles can change as we get older.

Kids, teenagers, and younger adults tend to have more freckles than older adults. But if you do have freckles, now you know a little bit more about one of the things that makes you … you! Thanks for joining us!

If you want to keep learning and having fun with Squeaks and me, hit the subscribe button, and we’ll see you next time here at the Fort!