Skincare Stacy

Skincare Stacy
What is mandelic acid?

What is mandelic acid?

Mandelic acid is one of the most gentle alpha hydroxy acids used in skincare.

It has benefits like improving skin texture and evening out skin tone. Additionally, it is more suitable for people with acne prone skin thanks to its structural similarity to salicylic acid.

You can typically find mandelic acid in skincare products ranging from 5-15% concentration to target discoloration and signs of aging.

This article will explain everything you need to know about mandelic acid in skincare.

What is mandelic acid derived from?

Mandelic acid is derived from bitter almonds. As such, it has great exfoliation properties like any alpha hydroxy acid.

Mandelic Acid Benefits

Naturium Mandelic Topical Acid 10%

From fighting dark spots to anti-aging, there are tons of benefits of mandelic acid in your skincare routine.

Suitable for Darker Skin Tones

Stronger acids like glycolic acid and lactic acid are more likely to cause irritation and potentially hyperpigmentation for individuals with dark skin tones.

On the other hand, mandelic acid is gentle and unlikely to cause irritation or hyperpigmentation.

Promotes Chemical Exfoliation

Mandelic acid is a chemical exfoliant that promotes cell turnover and helps slough off the top layer of your skin.

Additionally, mandelic acid is somewhat lipophilic like salicylic acid. Therefore, it can help flush out the oil and dead skin cells stuck in your pores before they become pimples.

Thanks to this process, mandelic acid can be especially useful for people with acne prone skin.

Improves Skin Texture and Tone

Mandelic acid is great to fight stubborn skin texture and even out your skin tone through chemical exfoliation.

Anti-Fungal Properties

Perhaps surprisingly, mandelic acid exhibits anti-fungal properties and can be useful to treat Malassezia and fungal acne.

Suitable for Sensitive Skin

One of the best advantages of mandelic acid is that it is gentle enough for people with sensitive skin.

If you’re new to using exfoliating acids, mandelic acid is definitely the better option over glycolic acid peels or even lactic acid.

Mandelic Acid Side Effects

Stratia Soft Touch AHA with BowTiedFawn branding

While mandelic acid is the most gentle alpha hydroxy acid and suitable for most people, you should also be aware of any potential side effects.

That being said, side effects will vary depending on a few factors like:

  • Your individual skin sensitivty

  • The concentration of mandelic acid in your product

  • The frequency with which you use mandelic acid

Regardless, mandelic acid products have the potential to cause side effects like dryness and photosensitivity.

Dryness and Peeling

Mandelic acid is quite gentle and unlikely to cause skin irritation for most people.

You are more likely to experience this side effect with a high concentration mandelic acid peel than something over the counter like The Ordinary Mandelic Acid.

To reduce your chances of irritation, don’t use mandelic acid products too often and always follow up with a moisturizer afterwards.

Increased Sun Sensitivity

Alpha hydroxy acids are typically associated with increased photo sensitivity, but the evidence is mixed on whether mandelic acid peels and serums also cause this.

To be safe, you should consider wearing a broad-spectrum sunscreen when using anything products with mandelic acid.

How to Use Mandelic Acid

The Ordinary Mandelic Acid 10% Serum

To use mandelic acid, follow these steps:

  1. Wash your face with a gentle cleanser

  2. Apply about a dime sized amount of mandelic acid to your face

  3. Gently rub in until absorbed

  4. Foll0w up with your favorite moisturizer

That’s it!

Bear in mind that you will want to avoid layering mandelic acid with retinol or other strong active ingredients.

When to Use Mandelic Acid

Mandelic acid is safe for use in both your morning and evening skincare routines, though most people prefer to keep exfoliating acids for night use.

How Often to use Mandelic Acid

Given that mandelic acid is far more gentle than other alpha hydroxy acids, you can use it more frequently.

Start with 3 days per week and slowly work your way up to 5 or 6 depending on your skin’s tolerance.

Can you use mandelic acid everyday?

If you can tolerate it, you can use mandelic acid everyday.

That being said, many people will benefit from taking at least one day’s break from all active ingredients per week.

How long does it take for mandelic acid to work?

You can expect to see results from mandelic acid within 2-8 weeks depending on the severity of your specific skin conditions.

Summary: Mandelic Acid In Skincare

Youth to the People Mandelic Acid Superfood Unity Exfoliant

Mandelic acid is an effective alpha hydroxy acid used in skincare for benefits like:

  • Gentle exfoliation

  • Improving skin texture

  • Evening out skin tone

Plus, thanks to its gentle nature, mandelic acid is one of the best skincare ingredients for people with sensitive skin types.

Overall, mandelic acid can be a great and affordable addition to your skincare routine.

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