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Freckle removal: 'I tried a chemical peel to remove them.'

May 10, 2023

I’ve (almost) always loved my freckles. 10-year-old me wished they weren't there. But adult me grew to love them – freckles are cute!

So it might surprise you to read that I recently used one of the strongest chemical peels in the world to remove my freckles.

More than three million people on the internet (well, TikTok) tuned into the process and debated my decision, with hundreds of people begging me not to get rid of my freckles.

Why did I do it?

Long story short, I had melasma freckles that were grouping together and causing really dark sunspots and pigmentation. Not cute. Especially when they were popping up under my eyes and making me look tired all the time, or on my upper lip making me look like I have a permanent moustache.

Watch: Leigh Campbell explains the 'diamond lip' hack on the You Beauty podcast. Post continues below.

I’d been thinking about undergoing some sort of removal treatment after someone who worked in the beauty industry recommended the chemical peel to me.

Obviously applying a super strong chemical peel to your face is not a decision that's taken lightly, so I got professional advice from my cosmetic doctor.

There are a few different options for freckle and sun damage removal, and they can be tailored to suit different skin types and needs.

I’ve previously used products like Obagi to reduce my sun damage but you can also do laser treatments like IPL or BBL if you don't have melasma, like I do. They have no downtime and can have amazing results.

I went with the chemical peel because I’ve seen how powerful the transformation is. I wasn't able to take other options like laser because I have melasma.

It costs $1,800, which also includes two follow-up treatments and the ongoing skincare that you use daily for the next three to six months.

The results vary for everyone and depend on how strict you are with sun protection. You might only need to do it once in your life, or you might opt to get it annually as a refresher.

The majority of women I know who have done it were mind blown by their results. There were a small few who didn't have the results they were hoping for.

They say Rome wasn't built in a day, and the same goes for a chemical peel. The whole process is a journey.

The first step? Some pretty intense prep.

Before undergoing the chemical peel I did about three months of prep with my cosmetic doctor. We did in-clinic treatments to make sure my skin was strong and in a good position to handle the peel.

If you don't prep properly the skin ‘shedding’ can be rough. Luckily, I followed everything they recommended, and it all went smoothly.

The first peel is applied in the clinic. It only takes 15 minutes to apply but needs to stay on your skin for 12 hours. And yes, it burns! Beauty is pain though, right?

Here's what it looks like on day one:

They told me that this first peel isn't what will bring meaningful results – what it does is burn off the top layers of skin. It's the at-home protocol that brings the real meaningful change.

After carefully washing off the peel, you spend the next two weeks shedding off your skin. You’re also following a strict at-home protocol with multiple steps to keep forcing the sun damage to the top of my skin and then burn it off. Yikes!

My general look for those two weeks was a scaly lizard shedding her skin. As I said, it's a journey.

Here was my skin on day seven, the halfway point:

I decided to document the whole process on TikTok. I wanted anyone else who's considering a chemical peel to remove their freckles to really see what the process is like.

From the actual peel and cream application through to the steps you have to take to protect yourself from the sun before, during and after the process.

Honestly, I didn't expect the freckle removal series to go viral! My original video introducing the process has had millions of views and nearly 1000 comments and questions.

Across all the videos on TikTok and Instagram were four million views. Wild.

The reaction to my journey was a mixed bag. Some followers were upset that I was removing something that they saw as a unique part of my appearance. Others were intrigued by the removal process and wanted to know more.

Overall, their reactions highlighted the importance of understanding your skin and making informed decisions about it. I loved my freckles, but I chose to undertake this process for personal reasons. And I’m so happy I did!

For the first time in my life, I have clear skin. My eyes shine brighter and I don't have the shadow of melasma on my upper lip and under my eye. I actually can't believe how transformative it's been for me.

It's now been three and a half weeks since I started the freckle removal process. I’m so (sooo) impressed with the results already and I would definitely do it again!

The majority of my freckles and sun damage have either disappeared or significantly lightened.

To give you an idea of where I'm at, here's what my skin looked like on day 14 – after two weeks of the process:

For the next three to six months, I’ll continue to use the daily protocol to keep bringing the sun damage up and burning it off.

Once you’re happy with the results, you switch from an all-over cream just to a spot treatment cream. The journey continues.

My freckle removal journey has taught me that it's not about what others think, it's about how you feel in your skin. If you decide to do a freckle removal treatment, always consult a professional first to understand the best option for you.

You can follow Doone's freckle removal journey on TikTok and Instagram.

Feature image: TikTok; @dooneroisin


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