Skincare Stacy

Skincare Stacy
Can you use mandelic acid with retinol?

Can you use mandelic acid with retinol?

Yes, you can use mandelic acid with retinol, but you should apply them on alternating nights.

If you layer mandelic acid and retinol on top of eachother, you run the risk of developing signs of irritation like:

  • Dryness

  • Redness

  • Flaking skin

  • Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation

However, by applying them on opposite nights, you can effectively treat dark spots and signs of aging.

This article will explain everything you need to know about mandelic acid, retinol, and how to use them in your daily skincare routine.

Mandelic Acid

Allies of Skin Mandelic Pigmentation Corrector Night Serum

Derived from bitter almonds, mandelic acid is a chemical exfoliant also known as an alpha hydroxy acid.

Mandelic acid benefits include:

  • Brightening dull skin

  • Reducing dark spots

  • Fighting acne prone skin

Because it has a relatively large molecular size, mandelic is considered to be more suitable than other alpha hydroxy acids for people with sensitive skin.

For example, while glycolic and lactic acid can also be used to turn over dead skin cells, they are also far more likely to cause irritation than mandelic acid.

Mandelic is safe to use with hyaluronic acid and other hydrating ingredients.


Naturium Retinol Complex Serum

Retinol, found in many anti-aging skincare products, is a vitamin A derivative used to fight signs of aging.

When retinol is applied to your skin, it speeds up skin cell turnover and boosts collagen production.

Retinol is safe to use with hyaluronic acid and other hydrating ingredients, but is not as well tolerated when combined with salicylic acid or mandelic.

Generally, you can safely use retinol after a salicylic acid cleanser or other wash-off product.

Mandelic Acid vs Retinol

Youth to the People Mandelic Acid Superfood Unity Exfoliant

Both mandelic acid and retinol are great ingredients to include in your skincare regimen for:

  • Removing dead skin cells

  • Reducing uneven skin tone

  • Fighting dark spots and signs of sun damage

That being said, these products work differently and have unique considerations.

For example, mandelic acid is not as effective as retinol at treating hyperpigmentation and signs of aging, but it is less likely to cause irritation.

On the other hand, retinol is the best treatment for mature skin types, but it can cause dryness and flaking skin.

Can I use The Ordinary Mandelic Acid with retinol?

The Ordinary Mandelic Acid 10% Serum

You can use The Ordinary Mandelic Acid Serum on alternating nights with retinol.

Even if you have super oily skin, you should avoid combining these ingredients in the same routine as it can cause irritation.

Using mandelic acid and retinol on opposite nights to still help you remove dead skin cells without any risk of dryness or flaking skin.

Can I use retinol with lactic acid or glycolic acid?

Just like mandelic acid, you should avoid layering lactic and glycolic acids with retinol.

These combinations can also cause irritation which is the last thing you want!

Summary: can I use mandelic acid with retinol?

CeraVe Resurfacing Retinol Serum and Skin Renewing Retinol Serum Boxes

Yes, but it’s best to avoid layering exfoliating acids and retinol together as the combination can cause irritation.

Instead, consider alternating nights between using your favorite mandelic acid products and your retinol.

Using both ingredients will help fight dark spots and signs of irritation.

Trust me, give it just 1-3 months, and you’ll be delighted looking in the mirror at your gorgeous, radiant skin.

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