Derived from bitter almonds, mandelic acid is a naturally occurring acid that has been making waves in the skincare industry because it offers the same benefits as other AHAs while being gentle enough for sensitive skin. 

Its larger molecular size sets it apart, letting it penetrate the skin slower than its AHA counterparts, leading to less irritation while delivering potent skin-rejuvenating benefits.

The Science Behind Mandelic Acid

Mandelic acid belongs to the AHA family, a group of plant and animal-derived acids used in various skincare products. These acids are known for their exfoliating properties, helping to peel away the surface of your skin so that new, more evenly pigmented skin cells may generate and take their place.

The name ‘mandelic’ is derived from the German word ‘Mandel,’ meaning almond. Today, it’s usually derived synthetically in laboratories for use in skincare products.

Benefits of Mandelic Acid for the Skin

  1. Exfoliation and Skin Rejuvenation: Mandelic acid accelerates cell turnover, removes dead skin cells on the skin’s surface, and leads to a brighter, more vibrant complexion.
  2. Hyperpigmentation: Thanks to its ability to accelerate cell turnover, mandelic acid can also reduce the appearance of sun damage, freckles, and other forms of hyperpigmentation, resulting in a more even skin tone.
  3. Anti-Aging: It boosts collagen production, thereby reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, giving the skin a smoother, more youthful appearance.
  4. Gentle Acne Treatment: Unlike other harsh acne treatments, mandelic acid is gentle on the skin and works to unclog pores and reduce inflammation, making it an excellent option for those battling acne.

Incorporating Mandelic Acid Into Your Skincare Routine

Like all active ingredients, mandelic acid should gradually be introduced into your skincare routine. It is available in concentrations ranging from 5% to 25%. However, it’s best to start with a lower concentration and observe how your skin reacts before moving to a higher one.

Mandelic acid comes in various forms, such as serums, peels, and creams. A serum or cream is usually the best option for beginners as it’s typically gentler than a peel. For those with more resistant skin or severe skin concerns, a peel with a higher concentration of mandelic acid may be beneficial.

Remember to apply sunscreen during the day, as AHAs, including mandelic acid, increase your skin’s sensitivity to the sun.

Frequently Asked Questions About Mandelic Acid

Can I Use Mandelic Acid Daily?

While mandelic acid is typically gentle enough for daily use, it’s best to start slow. Begin by using it a few times a week, then gradually increase frequency based on your skin’s tolerance.

Can I Use Mandelic Acid with Other Active Ingredients?

You can use mandelic acid with ingredients like hyaluronic acid and niacinamide. However, combining it with other AHAs or BHAs could increase the risk of skin irritation. As always, when in doubt, consult a dermatologist.

Does Mandelic Acid Help with Acne Scars?

Yes, mandelic acid can help fade acne scars by increasing cell turnover, thereby promoting new skin cells’ growth and reducing scars’ appearance over time.

 Can Pregnant or Breastfeeding Women Use Mandelic Acid?

While mandelic acid is generally considered safe, it’s always best to consult a healthcare provider if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding before starting any new skincare product.

How Long Does It Take to See Results with Mandelic Acid?

Skin rejuvenation takes time. Generally, with consistent use, you’ll start noticing results from mandelic acid after four to six weeks. However, everyone’s skin is different, so results may vary.

Final Thoughts

Like all skincare ingredients, mandelic acid may not be suitable for everyone. Although it is generally less irritating than other AHAs, some people might still experience mild irritation, redness, or peeling. 

Whether mandelic acid is right depends on your skin type, concerns, and goals, so consult a dermatologist if you are unsure or have particularly sensitive skin.