Walking through the grocery store, I pass the magazine aisle. Glancing at the super-shiny covers, I’m reminded that summer is here and in full swing. Headlines tell me that within the pages I’d find tips to get that radiant summer glow and how to find the maxi dress that’s perfect for my body shape. The women on the covers have both—the ideal summer dress and the glow. The thing is, they look perfect, flawless. Especially their complexion. My summer glow is nothing of the sort, honestly. It’s marked by the imperfection of freckles. And honestly, I am alright with that.

I remember a time in middle school being insecure about my freckles. I’m sure some guy or girl friend of mine had said something about how freckles make you look younger and how no one wants to look younger at that age. They had started to buy into the idea that the beautiful ones are the flawless, grown-up, freckle-less ones. If that were true, then I had to do something about my freckles, I thought. So, I searched for how to get rid of them. The easiest thing I found was to put lemon juice on my face a few times a day. The results were supposed to come in about two weeks, the article said. So, I started. It only took two days before my mom intervened and put a stop to my ridiculous attempt. I remember her giving me a speech about how my friends were going to have terrible skin when they were in their thirties if they kept on tanning the way they were and how I should just be thankful I didn’t look like leather. That was the end of me trying to get rid of my freckles.

Fast forward the years and I’ve remained freckled. I notice everywhere, in magazines, film, and TV that freckled women (and men too) are the minority when it comes to definitions of beauty. Freckles are seen as a physical imperfection, distracting and youthful. All too often I compare what I look like to what I see around me. I accept, without fully realizing it, our culture’s standard of beauty. I can buy the clothes, the shoes, and the jewelry. I can get the look, but I can’t get rid of my look. 

As the summer rolls along, I’m tempted to focus on the if only I were tan and not freckled mindset. But I am freckled, and I’ve looked that way for years. Comparing myself to the touched-up complexions on the magazine covers and the actors on TV can damage my psyche if I’m not careful. It’s almost too easy to buy into the culture’s slanted view of beauty, believing that freckles somehow lessen a person’s beauty.

This is my challenge. This is the challenge for all of us, freckled or not. Will we believe that impossibly perfect image portrayed as the ideal of beauty? Will we seek to get it, to conform to it, to adhere to its standards? 

There will be times when my heart will be tugged to the perfect impossible. To pick up the concealer and try to hide who I am by hiding what I look like. And that’s when I need to remember what my mom taught me and trust that there is more to me than what can be seen on the outside. This summer, and as years go by, I want to honor the way God has designed my complexion—freckles and all.


  1. What a beautiful post! I did the lemon juice thing also, as a teen, but now I enjoy my “sun-kisses” as my mom called them.

  2. I think freckles are charming. And I’m sure I’m not the only
    one. Don’t change a spot for us.

  3. And now, freckles are becoming stylish for young adults and teens. Just when you get used to it, freckles will be “overdone” and “a tired trend”. Whenever the world starts to accept one part of you (freckles), watch out because it’s about to give you whiplash on some other part that until now has been beneath notice or totally neutral. Remember when crooked teeth were cool because of Lauren Hutton (you don’t, you’re too young, google it)? Now veneers are so widely available and allegedly cheap, crooked teeth are out. They are so ugly they’re a sign of a lack of self-love and self-esteem and feminine empowerment. To some crooked teeth = misogyny. And there are commercials out right now about how “stress sweat” is the worst sweat, maybe even the worst thing ever and a violation of the Geneva Convention. Don’t let people smell you when you’re stressed!! You could go to jail.

    Acceptance of self, when suggested to you by the world (and Christians who don’t yet realize how much they’ve internalized the lies of the sinful world), is only a hook for future self hate predicated on the previously acceptable part of you or some newly discovered fault.

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