What Does Mandelic Acid Do For The Skin?

Mandelic acid is the new hyaluronic acid. It has seemingly popped up out of nowhere and yet has been here the whole time. So, why exactly has mandelic acid rose in prominence and is it suitable for your skin? Well, first lets look at what mandelic acid is.

What is mandelic acid?

Firstly, it’s derived from bitter almonds, so it’s vegan! It’s also an AHA that’s been mostly studied for use with acne-prone skin.

I like to think of mandelic acid as the dark horse in the acid world because it’s useful in treating all kinds of skin problems like; acne, improving skin texture, hyperpigmentation, and as an anti-aging tool but it’s also very gentle. Infact, even more gentle than lactic acid.

How does mandelic acid benefit the skin?

  • It’s gentle on the skin meaning people with very sensitive skin can use it and treat things like acne and hyperpigmentation without concern of irritation. 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.

  • It has antimicrobrial properties. This means it’s useful in treating acne which is usually triggered by an excess of skin oils, bacteria and dead skin cells. Using skin care products containing mandelic acid help regulate sebum production, unclog pores, and reduce inflammation. This can result in fewer acne breakouts.

  • It can improve skin texture as the exfoliating action of mandelic acid removes dead skin cells, which can leave your skin firmer and smoother.

  • It can treat melasma and postinflammatory hyperpigmentation. This study from 2013 concluded that a protocol of strict sun avoidance in combination with a mandelic/malic acid in a skincare regimen is a good long-term solution in treating melasma and postinflammatory hyperpigmentation.

  • According to this 2013 study, chemical peels with mandelic acid may help stimulate collagen production, which tends to decrease with age. This can help soften the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines, resulting in a more vibrant, youthful appearance.

Product recommendations

For hyperpigmentation:

Allies of Skin – Mandelic Pigmentation Corrector Night Serum

If you want to try mandelic acid:

The Ordinary Mandelic Acid 10% + HA

To minimize pores:

Medik8 Pore Minimising Tonic

To improve skin texture:

Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 25% AHA + 2% BHA Exfoliant Peel