❓Mandelic Acid: Is it Worth Buying?
Jun. 10, 2020
Have you heard someone talk about Mandelic acid and wondered what it actually does? It can sound strange to put acid on your skin on purpose, but this is definitely one acid you want to have as a part of your skincare routine!
When we think about dark circles, wrinkles, and acne, we often think that expensive treatments and facials are the only way to see any improvement. Fortunately, you don’t need to set up a weekly appointment at the beauty salon or invest in expensive 7-step Korean skincare routines to get brighter, more youthful skin with a more even skin tone. (Unless you really want to!)
Mandelic acid is one of the ingredients you can choose to buy for your skin online or in drugstores to help you get the skin you deserve.
But What is Mandelic Acid?
If you’re asking, “what is Mandelic acid?” and wondering if it will actually have an acidic effect on your skin, the answer is yes. At least, sort of. Mandelic acid is an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA), which is often used in professional peels, so it is used to help lift dead layers of skin.
However, you don’t need to worry. Mandelic acid is actually derived from bitter almonds and is much more gentle than some other AHAs such as glycolic acid and lactic acid (that’s what builds up in your muscles and makes them burn). AHAs are (generally) derived from natural sources, such as sugar, fruit, and milk.
Other types of AHAs found in skincare lines are glycolic acid and citric acid. Peels and scrubs containing Mandelic acid are becoming increasingly popular among a wide range of people: those with darker skin tones use it to inhibit overproduction of melanin, those looking to reduce the appearance of wrinkles use it to increase sebum production, and those with acne use it for its antibacterial properties.
The Uses and Benefits of Mandelic Acid
It’s Gentle on Your Skin
One of the most attractive elements of Mandelic acid is that it may be gentler on the skin compared to other AHAs, but still has the benefits necessary for home scrubs and peels. This makes it a great choice for people with sensitive skin – it’s less irritating because the molecules in the Mandelic acid are larger, and so penetrates the skin at a slower rate.
It’s Good for Oily Skin
Mandelic acid is attracted to oil, so it both exfoliates and dissolves the build-up of oils, bacteria, and dead skin cells in pores. It can also help to regulate the skin’s sebum production, which if overproduced, as in the case of those with acne, can result in clogged pores, angry blemishes, and pimples.
It Helps Reduce Hyperpigmentation
Hyperpigmentation comes in several forms: melasma (which is caused by hormonal changes), sunspots (caused by UV damage), and post-inflammatory (caused through injury or acne scarring).
Mandelic acid is effective for all types of skin tones but has been seen to be particularly beneficial for those with darker skin. For those with dark tones, the risk of hyperpigmentation is greater due to a higher amount of melanin in the skin. The more melanin, the more melanocytes there are to react to skin injury, infection, or irritation, which can all trigger excess pigmentation when the skin repairs itself.
For this reason, those with darker skin or uneven skin tone benefit from less aggressive treatments, which Mandelic acid offers thanks to its anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and brightening qualities.
It Reduces the Appearance of Wrinkles and Fine Lines
A 2013 study showed that peels containing Mandelic acid can significantly reduce the effects of aging, especially in the dryness that can cause more wrinkles. It does this by regulating (and in this case increasing) the sebum production in the skin, which keeps skin moisturized. It can also increase collagen production, which helps keep your skin looking full and youthful.
It Brightens Dull Skin
For some, dead skin cells accumulate on the surface on the skin if not often exfoliated, and clog pores. While this can cause acne, it can simply cause the surface of the skin to appear dull and grey. Mandelic acid dissolves the “glue” that holds dead skin cells together, which means the skin cells can be more easily cleaned away, allowing new skin to look brighter.
It’s Not Just for Peels
While Mandelic acid is a key ingredient in many peels and scrubs, which can be used once or twice a week, you’ll also find it in serums, cleansers, and toners that are suitable for daily use.
Are There Any Risks to Using Mandelic Acid?
While Mandelic acid is the most gentle of the AHAs, it is worth noting that any product or treatment that contains AHAs can cause side effects. The most common side effects include irritation, sensitivity, tender skin, redness, dry skin, cold sores (if you’re already prone to them), and peeling. If you have naturally sensitive skin, it’s a good idea to start with a product with a low percentage of Mandelic acid and increase slowly so you can monitor how your skin reacts.
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