What is Mandelic Acid, What Is It For & How Is It Used?

What is Mandelic Acid, What Is It For & How Is It Used?

Dark skin spots, wrinkles, dull skin, and acne are skin problems that most people want to tackle. Fortunately, many skincare products contain ingredients that address these specific concerns while improving the skin's overall appearance. Mandelic acid is one of these beneficial ingredients.

While there isn't much research on this alpha hydroxy acid (AHA), it is thought to be gentle on the skin and may help with acne, skin texture, hyperpigmentation, and aging. Read on to learn more about mandelic acid and its benefits for the skin.

What is Mandelic Acid?

Mandelic acid is not a new or secret ingredient we've never heard of before; it's just another form of an ingredient we know and love for our skin. This is an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA). AHAs are beneficial for the skin because they loosen connections between affected surface skin cells (called desmosomes), allowing cells to shed naturally, thus providing fresher, brighter skin.

Mandelic acid is derived from almonds. All AHAs work to exfoliate the skin (plus, they increase sun sensitivity, so sunscreen is an essential part of any AHA regimen). It is often found in combination with other ingredients and functions to improve skin texture through exfoliation. What makes mandelic acid so unique is its molecular structure. It can be gentler on the skin as it is more prominent in molecular weight than glycolic acid (another type of AHA) and penetrates more slowly.

What Does Mandelic Acid Do?

So what are the skin benefits of mandelic acid? Here are some of those benefits:

Exfoliates: Mandelic acid is a chemical exfoliant that reacts with the skin (rather than exfoliating with abrasive brushes), destroying layers of old skin cells.

Promotes cell turnover: Mandelic acid works to increase cell turnover by releasing skin cells attached to the skin's surface, reducing the appearance of skin damage or acne.

Lightens skin: Exfoliated skin looks brighter, and mandelic acid goes one step further, fortifying skin so it stays radiant with continued use.

Reduces hyperpigmentation: Increased cell turnover and exfoliating properties mean the acid reduces the appearance of dark spots and sun damage.

You can also expect the benefits from an average peeling from mandelic acids, such as supporting cell turnover to tighten the skin. This, in particular, is great for reducing pore size and brightening the skin. With acne-prone skin, pores can become clogged, making mandelic acid a good choice for cleansing skin debris and softening skin. If you have susceptible skin, a mandelic acid peel may be your best option.

How is Mandelic Acid Used?

So, what should people who use mandelic acid pay attention to? In other words, how is mandelic acid used? Just like any regular exfoliation, avoid using retinol at least 3-5 days beforehand. Before using mandelic acid, stop retinol and avoid contact with any acid treatment at least two weeks in advance. Also, this peeling should not be applied to tanned or sunburned skin. Otherwise, it's mostly safe to combine mandelic acid with many other products.
Given that it is softer, it can be combined with other active ingredients. After peeling, avoid any activity that will make you sweat. Protecting yourself from the sun would be best, as your skin will be more sensitive to burning under the sun's UV rays.

Is Mandelic Acid Used Every Day?

Mandelic acid should be applied as part of your nighttime skincare routine after cleansing and moisturizing the skin. Therefore, if you use a mandelic acid product, you can include it in your daily and night skin care. However, if the product you are using is peeling, follow the instructions for use on the product.

You can check out our blog post about Salicylic Acid: here

You can check out our blog post about Glycolic Acid: here.