‘I got my face peeled to treat my hormonal acne, and I’m impressed’

“You have amazing skin.”

Not to brag, but I cannot tell you how many times people have told me this… but little do they know what a good concealer and foundation can do.

My struggle with hormonal acne began from the very day I turned 12. I clearly remember getting my first major breakout in sixth grade where my once clear forehead became covered in pimples.

I became so self-conscious and embarrassed of my skin that I would sneakily use some of my mum’s concealer to try and cover the mass of red dots on my forehead – now I look back at photos and realise no one taught me what blending meant. Major facepalm.

Eventually, with the help of a load of Proactiv, retinoids, prescribed medication and a lot of TLC, my horrible bouts of teenage acne subsided.

Luckily my skin definitely went through its worst days back in high school, but my hormones definitely still continue to affect my skin. I’m not talking about crazy cystic acne or anything extreme, but I do get extremely congested in specific areas (especially under the nose and on the chin), shallow tiny spots arise around my jawline and forehead, and blind pimples definitely love to make an appearance in the most inconvenient places.

It doesn’t sound like a biggie compared to what other people go through, but these small changes definitely don’t go unnoticed.

I ensure I eat extremely clean (no alcohol, fried foods, starchy carbs and very small amounts of chocolate), avoid using oil-based products and heavy sunscreen on my skin, amp up the sweat sessions and prioritise my eight hours of sleep, but they all do very little.

And by the time my skin does clear up, I have approximately one week of smooth skin before the cycle starts again. Safe to say, it’s a very frustrating process.

Looking for the perfect treatment

Firstly, I have to note that my skin is extremely sensitive. My skin seems to react to one too many ingredients found in common products, and I’m definitely one to develop a side effect from invasive treatments.

I tried microdermabrasion earlier this year, but the results were less than underwhelming. In fact, it left me with extremely dry, flaky skin (which was not a good look, peeps) for a week.

I also wasn’t going to risk getting a vampire facial, or opt for the less-invasive procedure, microneedling. I just needed an effective treatment with zero downtime, which tbh, sounded a little unrealistic… until I visited White Hill Medispa.

White Hill is a new and luxurious medispa located in in the Inner West of Sydney that offers advanced cosmetic treatments performed by industry experts. Their aim is simple: to help you feel younger by enhancing your natural beauty using treatments tailored to suit your skin and desires.

The Pyruvic acid peel

After a skin consultation with Dermal Therapist and Skin Consultant Olivia Bradburn, she says the answer to my skin woes is their Salicylic Acid Peel.

“It basically reduces sensitivity and reactivity,” Olivia explains to a very confused me.

“The way it does this is by recalibrating your skin’s pH level to a healthy cellular function. When you have the acne causing bacteria in your oil pores or hair follicles, this aggravates the reaction to create acne.”

She adds that because Pyruvic acid is made from fermented glucose – which is naturally found in honey, apples, fermented fruit and vinegar – it’s able to restore your skin back to a healthy (acne-free) pH level.

“A pyruvic acid stops your skin from reacting to the bacteria and makes sure it can’t survive by altering your skin’s pH level. All our peels have been studied scientifically for efficacy.”

Olivia then explains that there are different strengths of the peel that can be applied – ranging from 2 per cent to 60 per cent – depending on the severity of the acne. Although I thought I would need a stronger dosage, she ensures me the 2 per cent treatment would be sufficient enough.

I smile and nod, and lay myself on the comfy bed ready for her to give my skin the help it so desperately needs.

She cleanses my skin completely, steams it to open up the pores, and then applies the pyruvic acid. The odor is strong and once applied, it feels extremely tingly (which is a sign the acid is actually soaking its way into my skin) but subsides a minute later – and then I get the most relaxing head and arm massage as we wait for the peel to completely absorb. After a few minutes of pure bliss, the active ingredients are wiped off and a moisturiser suited to my skin type is applied.

I’m handed a mirror to assess my skin. It’s a little red – especially around the nose, forehead and cheeks – and very shiny.

I’m told to avoid my regular active skincare products (retinol, Vitamin C and Glycolic) for the next two days. Olivia also points out that I might notice a bit of dryness and peeling over the next few days, but nothing too extreme.

The results

All redness subsided within an hour of the treatment.

As I applied my 12-step Korean skincare routine that night (I know, so bouje), I definitely felt a difference already in skin texture; the surface of my skin felt so smooth that I would even say that my cheeks felt a bit like a baby’s bottom. I made sure I applied a generous amount of moisturiser to avoid my skin flaking as much as microdermabrasion caused.

The pimples and congested pores were still visible, however I definitely wasn’t expecting to see any changes that quickly.

The next few days passed and I was surprised: no dry skin, no sensitivity, and my skin was visibly smoother, clearer, glowing and plumper. The redness in my congested areas had also disappeared and no new spots appeared. It was exactly the result I was hoping for.

Olivia was right – the Pyruvic peel was the perfect treatment for my skin, and opting for 2 per cent strength was just enough to mend my sensitive skin.

It’s suggested that regular treatments every two weeks for three months is needed for a full remission of acne, and those who have the 50 per cent Pyruvic peel actually see “a complete clearing effect.”

Bottom line

The Pyruvic acid peel is quick, effective and there’s literally zero downtime (depending on the strength of the peel) compared to other more invasive acne treatments.

Not only did it help calm my hormonal acne and prevent more pimples from arising, but it improved the overall health of my skin.

I mean, it’s the dream treatment I’ve been waiting for my whole life.


What is it: Pyruvic acid peel. It comes in five different strengths: 2%, 6%, 12% 24% & 50%.

Who needs it: Those who have acne with oily skin, acne scars, seborrhea, melasma and photoageing (e.g. pigmentation and wrinkles).

Why it is effective: As opposed to other acids, the Pyruvic acid exfoliates the skin while creating a protective film, thus preventing the skin from dehydration. There is also zero downtime.

Where to go: Whitehill Medispa.

Cost: $80-$140, depending on strength.