The curse of fair-skinned people everywhere, freckles can really annoy you and interfere with that beautifully milky complexion. They have a habit of appearing in the least convenient places and making you wonder how you even got exposed to the sun in that area! Luckily, you can treat freckles and sometimes even lighten your skin to get rid of freckles entirely.

Of course, the easiest way to make sure you don’t have to get rid of freckles is to avoid getting them in the first place. Whenever you might be exposed to the sun, wear sunscreen that has a high SPF to protect your skin from the sun and prevent melanin from darkening into freckles. If you’re perspiring or swimming (exercising or going to the beach, for instance), make sure you reapply sunscreen every couple of hours. If possible, avoid sun exposure, particularly during the hours of 10 AM to 4 PM. These hours are typically the sunniest and when you’re most at risk for getting freckles. If you do go outside, in addition to using sunscreen, wear a hat with a wide brim to help shield the delicate skin of your face from the sun. Also, if you have enough vitamin C in your diet, it will ensure you’re less at risk for getting freckles.

There are several natural methods of lightening freckles once you have them. You may need to regularly repeat them in order to see results, and if one method doesn’t work, you can always try another. First, the tried-and-true method that nearly everyone has heard of is lemon juice. Apply lemon juice to your freckles twice a day for a week and see if this helps to lighten them. If not, it’s likely this method won’t work for you, so move on and try another.

Sour milk can also help lighten the skin pigmentation of your freckles, and some people find that sour cream masks help. After applying the sour cream mask, don’t rinse it off – just wipe it off with a tissue. Cucumber, strawberry, and honey masks are also options if none of the above solutions have worked for you. Remember, any additional exposure to the sun will cause freckles again, so be sure to protect yourself if you’re using these methods.

Some products that can lighten your freckles include hydroquinone (a product that is banned in Europe but allowed in the USA), kojic acid, and alpha hydroxy acids. Obviously, you don’t want to enter lightly into using these products; all can have dramatic side effects if used improperly, so consult your doctor before using any of these methods to try and get rid of freckles. Finally, if no methods work, take heart: freckles will vanish with age.

You may be surprised to learn that many people find freckles cute, so try not to worry if you can’t get rid of freckles permanently. If you think yours are just an annoyance, try out a few of these methods, however… you may be able to prevent and get rid of freckles.