Also called a chemexfollation or derma-peel, a chemical peel is an outpatient or office procedure in which the doctor places a chemical solution on the face that causes the top layer of skin to redden, blister and shed. What's exposed is a new layer of fresh skin, which is not only smoother but is without blemish -- at least without as many blemishes as it had before. Freckles fall into that "blemish" category.
The chemicals used in a chemical peel include glycolic acid (an alpha hydroxy acid peel), salicylic acid (used in consumer-level astringents) and lactic acid (found in sour milk). The doctor will put the chemicals on one small patch of face at a time, every one to four weeks. Treated skin feels hot for a few minutes after treatment and then stings for hours afterward. The area then looks and acts like a bad sunburn. Over the course of three to seven days, it reddens, peels, scales and flakes off. But when all that's over, you have fresh, freckle-free skin.