Mandelic Acid For Skin – The Complete Guide.

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Probably you’ve heard about the likes of glycolic acid, lactic acid, tartaric acid, citric acid etc as being the types of alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs), but do you know that mandelic acid is also an AHA? Surprised?, Yea, sounds surprising. 


So, if you’re just knowing about mandelic acid and surprised to know it is an AHA, then take a sit and read this article till the end as we’re going to detail out everything you need to know about mandelic acid for skin.

What Is Mandelic Acid For Skin?

Mandelic acid is an AHA, a derivative of bitter almonds. It has a larger molecular weight. The molecular weight of mandelic acid is 152.1 daltons, which is larger than other alpha hydroxy acids (glycolic acid is 76.0 daltons, for example).
Mandelic acid is considered an AHA for senstive skin (just like lactic acid), as it’s more gentle on the skin as compared to other AHAs. This is so because of its large molecular structure which makes it not to penetrate the skin as deeply as glycolic acid does.

Mandelic acid offers skin-superficial mild exfoliation and also fades some forms of hyperpigmentation, treats inflammatory acne and minimize skin aging-signs, thereby improving skin texture and complexion.

Benefits Of Mandelic Acid For Skin.

Treats Acne.

Acne occurs due to congested pores which may have been blocked with dead skin cells, sebum, dirts and bacteria. Due to mandelic acid’s skin-exfoliating and anti-inflammatory potentials, it regulates sebum production, exfoliates the skin pores, thereby decongesting the pores of grime and gunk which leads to fewer acne breakouts.

One recent study found that a chemical peel with 45 percent mandelic acid was equally effective as a chemical peel with 30 percent salicylic acid in mild to moderate acne. The study also found that mandelic acid may have an edge over salicylic acid when treating inflammatory acne (papules and pustules), and mandelic acid may also have fewer adverse effects.

Exfoliates The Skin.

Mandelic acid for skin helps accelerates skin turnover rate, by exfoliating the skin, thereby bringing the new skin cells to the surface and quickly encouraging the departure of dead skin cells with melanin in them, thereby improving skin’s luminosity, minimizing wrinkles and fine lines. This is why mandelic acid is found in some chemical peels.

Boosts Collagen Production.

As we age, the production rate of collagen in the skin depletes. Collagen is the main protein found in skin and connective tissue, it helps give skin it’s firms structure and when the skin lacks enough of it, it leads to saggy-looking skin. Mandelic acid helps promote skin collagen there by minimizing the appearance of skin aging-signs such as wrinkles, fine lines and saggy skin.

According to a 2013 study, chemical peels with mandelic acid may help stimulate collagen production, which tends to decrease with age.

Fades Hyperpigmentation.

Mandelic acid also extends its potentials to addressing hyperpigmentation and uneven skin as it offers superficial dermal peeling which quickens the departure of accumulated dead cells on the skin layer for a brighter skin underneath thereby reducing the appearance of skin-discoloration and improving skin complexion.

In a comparative study of 35% glycolic acid, 20% salicylic, 10% mandelic acid, and phytic acid combination peels helped reduced the appearance of post-acne hyperpigmentation. See the best skincare routine for hyperpigmentation

Tackles Texture Irregularities.

Due to mandelic acid’s dermal peeling potentials, it also targets textural irregularities, and fine lines. Those battling with enlarged-pores, rough-bumpy and wrinkled skin will definitely benefits from mandelic acid.

Gentle On The Skin.

Everyone, regardless your skin type can enjoy the skin benefits of mandelic acid (including individuals with sensitive skin). Mandelic acid is gentler and milder on the skin than other AHAs. This gentleness seems to be due to mandelic acid being one of the largest AHAs, and as a result, it penetrates the skin at a slower rate. This makes it less irritating on the skin.

How To Use Mandelic Acid For Skin.

You can find mandelic acid in so many over-the-counter products such as serums, lotions, creams, peels and facial cleansers. If you find yourself using a mandelic acid serum, cream, lotion or toner, use it three-on/three-off schedule, example; you should apply the acid for three nights in a row, then take a break for three nights to treat your skin with hydrating ingredients that nourish the new cells.
As for mandelic acid peels, use them once a week.

Which ever product you chose to enjoy the benefits of mandelic acid, endeavour not to use with other AHAs, peels, retinol and retinoids to avoid inflammatory-irritation. According to Angela Caglia, a celebrity facialist, “while using mandelic acid, you should definitely stop using Retin-A and avoid contact with any acid treatment at least two weeks in advance” she further advised mandelic acid shouldn’t be applied to tanned or sunburned skin.

Side Effects Of Mandelic Acid.

Irrespective of how gentle and mild mandelic acid can be to the skin, it can still irritate the skin. But unlike almost any other AHA, the potential is extremely low.

We advice to do a patch test (to test for allergy) prior to commencing treatment and also apply mandelic acid treatment (and any other AHA and BHA treatment) at night-time only as they increases the skin’s sensitivity to the sun which can potentially lead to sunburn if skin protection approach isn’t observed. Therefore endeavour to apply sunscreen during the day to protect your skin from UVA and UVB exposure.

Best Products With Mandelic Acid.

If you’ve not had success with other alpha hydroxy acids, then why don’t you give mandelic acid a try? Below are the best products with mandelic acid.

The Ordinary Mandelic Acid 10% + HA.

Mandelic acid for skin

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This mandelic acid formula couples 10% mandelic acid with hyaluronic acid for surface hydration, and tasmannia lanceolata fruit/leaf extract, to calm and soothe irritation associated with acid-use. Irrespective of how mild mandelic acid can be to the skin, The Ordinary brand took no chances, as they made their formula extra gentle by incorporating tasmannia lanceolata fruit/leaf extract to soothe irritation. This is to say, if you have an extra sensitive skin, you don’t have to bother using this pick. Read full review here

Naturium Mandelic Topical Acid 12%.

Mandelic acid for skin

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A leave-on gentle exfoliant, formulated with 12% mandelic acid for skin-surface and mild exfoliation for an improved skin texture and complexion. It also contains niacinamide (a water-soluble and non-acidic active) to help potentiate mandelic acid by calming redness, blotchiness, shrinking enlarged-pores and reducing excess oiliness.

Allies of Skin Mandelic Pigmentation Corrector Night Serum.

Mandelic acid for skin

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A blend of skin de-pigmenting and anti-aging formula. Hyperpigmentation and wrinkles won’t stand a chance. This formula amalgamates 11% mandelic + lactic and salicylic acid to tackle superficial irregularities, deeply and mildly exfoliate the skin, decongest the pores of grime, treat acne and fade away pigmentations, while bakuchiol (a retinol alternative) reduces multiple signs of aging leading to improved skin texture with a natural-looking glow.

Wishtrend Mandelic Acid 5% Skin Prep.

Mandelic acid for skin

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Take your choice to a mandelic acid toner, that’s if you want to enjoy mandelic acid’s skin benefits in a toner. This non-irritating 5% mandelic acid facial toner helps with mild exfoliation and de-pigmentation of hyperpigmentation, improve skin texture and complexion for a smoother and even skin tone. This formula also contains centella asiatica (which calms inflammation and reduces redness) and panthenol (a water-attracting ingredient) that helps increase skin surface hydration.

Possible Questions & Answers.

Q: Is mandelic acid suitable for all skin types?

A: Yes. Due to its large molecular weight, mandelic acid is suitable for all skin types (including those that are sensitive).

Q: I have nut allergies, should I use mandelic acid?

A: If you have nut allergies, or allergic to bitter almond, we advice you should not use mandelic acid-based products.

Q: Can individuals with super sensitive skin use mandelic acid?

A: Mandelic acid is considered much milder and gentler on the skin (just like lactic acid), due to its large molecular structure which makes it not to penetrate deeply into the skin (like glycolic and salicylic acid does), which makes it suitable for sensitive skin.

But if you happen to have a very sensitive skin that is intolerant to acid, we advice you should start-off with a much lower concentration of mandelic acid (probably 5%), you can as well dilute mandelic acid in hydrating serums and cream prior to application until your skin builds tolerance to it, also do a patch test prior to commencing treatment and also discuss your intention with a board certified dermatologist.

But nevertheless, mandelic acid is a very gentle acid and goes well with individuals with sensitive skin. Many individuals (with sensitive skin) uses it without problems, but you should stop using this AHA if you experience any type of irritation, including: redness, swelling, itching.

Q: Between mandelic and lactic acid which is more gentle?

A: Mandelic acid is more gentle and mild on the skin than lactic acid. Lactic acid is larger than glycolic and generally causes less side effects, the less molecules penetrating the skin the less damage it will do. Mandelic acid on the other hand is much larger than all AHAs. They theory with acids is, the larger the molecular weight/structure, the more gentle it is on the skin. Therefore, mandelic acid is even more gentle than lactic acid.

Q: How should I make a choice between mandelic and lactic acid.

A: Both are AHAs and offer same skin benefits, but when it comes to making a choice between the two, your skin type should be put into consideration. If you have a sensitive skin, go for lactic acid, but if you have a very or super sensitive skin, then give mandelic acid a try.

As advised above, irrespective of how mild mandelic acid can be to the skin, irritations “may” likely occur as skin types differs. However, some people can use mandelic acid with no problems, but you should stop using this AHA if you experience any type of irritation, including: redness, swelling, itching.

UP NEXT: Salicylic Acid For Skin – All You Need To Know.
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