It’s no Yanny/Laurel or black-and-blue/white-and-gold dress, but the internet has found yet another viral trend to bond (or argue) over.
On May 22, Twitter user @aarynwhitley tweeted out several photos of women with almost identical freckles on their wrists. “Ladies… u got a freckle in the middle of ur wrist or is it a myth lmao,” she wrote.
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The tweet prompted thousands of responses—many of which were from women sharing photos of their own wrist freckle.
“Low key freaking out,” one user tweeted, sharing a photo of her freckle.
So what’s the deal? Turns out, this weird phenomenon is actually a bit of a no-brainer.
“A wrist is somewhere people wouldn’t think to wear sunscreen,” Debra Jaliman, MD, a New York City–based dermatologist and author of Skin Rules, tells Health. Freckles are extra pigmentation under the skin, and while they are sometimes present at birth, they usually form (or become more pronounced) due to sun exposure over the years.
“Maybe if you’re on the beach, you’d get that area covered while applying sunscreen to your arms,” says Dr. Jaliman. “But if you’re wearing clothing, the hands and wrists aren’t somewhere people would think to apply sunscreen.”
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“We see tons of freckles on the hands and wrists,” she adds. “That’s just a very common place to find them on the body, because of the level of sun exposure they receive.” It’s also potentially concerning: Skipping easy-to-miss spots when applying sunscreen is one of the biggest SPF mistakes people make, dermatologists say.
Rachel Nazarian, MD, a New York City–based dermatologist and Fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology (FAAD), previously told Health that while freckles themselves aren’t always a cause for concern, they can be precursors to cancer. Give your skin regular checks, and if you notice a freckle changing color or shape, have it checked out by a dermatologist.
The jury’s still out on whether this phenomenon is actually more common in women than in men. But then again, we still don’t know why some people would ever think that dress was white and gold. (It was totally black and blue.)
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