Freckle tattoos are a thing. But read this before you try the viral trend.

Look in the mirror. Notice any freckles? No sweat if you don't – you can just tattoo them on.

Yes, really.

Tattoo artists are placing semi-permanent freckle tattoos on clients' faces, aiming to give them a sun-kissed, natural freckled look. The search for #freckletattoo alone has 259 million views on TikTok. Videos range from the "oh my goodness, look how read and puffy their face looks right after the procedure" to "oh wow, look at how real these look and how nicely they healed."

But tattoo and dermatology experts alike remind anyone considering this viral look to be sure they do their research first and consider any and all consequences before proceeding – most notably the risk that tattooing your face could make it harder for dermatologists to detect skin cancer in the area.

'The desire to look more natural'

Freckles pop up on people's faces for many reasons: skin tone, genetics, sun exposure.

Why might someone get a freckle tattoo? Maybe "the desire to look more natural, influenced by fashion trends, or a means of self-expression," says dermatologist Dr. Bruce Brod. "Others may use it to camouflage scars and other marks in their skin."

Savannah Kondratyev, has tattooed freckles for six years. The 33-year-old Brooklyn-based tattoo artist says they are semi-permanent cosmetic tattoos; she places the freckle in the first two layers of the skin. The freckles are designed to fade and heal with less opacity than traditional tattoo ink.

Jillian Shrike began applying permanent makeup full-time in 2017 and takes extra caution with freckles. "Freckles are really touchy because it's really easy to go too deep or use the wrong color, which causes them to look really gray or ashed-out or too dark and fake," the 33-year-old says.

Kondratyev adds, "Sometimes, if it's too saturated looking, it can come off looking not realistic and more like an actual traditional body tattoo."

The tattoos should take about four to six weeks to heal, and can last for about four years. They will lighten up (and fade) with time. If an artist went too deep, however, that might mean a traditional, tedious tattoo removal.

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Freckle tattoos and risks

Before you go and try them out, though, keep in mind that "camouflage" could hide something sinister.

"Board-certified dermatologists have the skills and training to diagnose skin cancer at an early stage. There are other types of skin lesions than can resemble freckles including skin cancer such as melanoma, pigmented basal cells carcinoma and pigmented skin cancers," Brod adds. "The distinction is made both clinically, sometimes with the aid of specialized magnification when the diagnosis is not obvious, and at times a skin biopsy read by a dermatopathologist is necessary to make the diagnosis."

Not all tattoo artists can be trusted to do the best job, but remember that the red and puffy faces you might scroll through on TikTok aren't the final, healed product. Your biggest concern should be finding a tattoo artist you trust.

"There are certain risks to this procedure as it is a procedure that breaches the skin barrier," Brod says. "It is important to go to a facility that uses proper sterile technique including sterilizing the instruments, proper storage and handling of the ink, and appropriately trained operators."

The long and short of it: Have fun with freckles, but take a beat before making that final call.

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Freckle tattoos: What tattoo artists, dermatologist think