What is Mandelic Acid?
Mandelic acid is a gentler type of AHA because its molecules are almost twice the size of its alternatives, which means that it takes more time to penetrate the pores. However, it’s still a good exfoliator because this acid promotes cellular regeneration when it breaks the adhesive that clumps cells together.
Mandelic acid is extracted from bitter almonds, and is usually used for its acne-treating properties. What sets it apart from other AHAs is its oil-solubility which enables it to dissolve oil buildup and bacteria in pores. For this same reason, it works best with other BHAs such as salicylic acid, which is an oil-loving acid.
What does it do for the skin?
Aside from effectively exfoliating skin and promoting cell turnover as mentioned above, it’s able to brighten the skin when used continuously. Many dermatologists use mandelic acids for chemical peels because it’s able to clear pores when it dissolves oil buildup that can cause acne. Ultimately, when used in right amounts, mandelic acid can combat acne, signs of aging, dark spots, and acne scars. According to Dr. Wei Chen, Associate Director of Research & Development at The Estee Lauder Companies, mandelic acid strengthens collagen, which is what gives the skin its bounce and youthful glow.
What skin type is mandelic acid best suited for?
Because this is the least irritating acid, mandelic acid is ideal for people with sensitive, acne-prone skin. It’s also great for people with hyperpigmentation because the increased cell turnover that it promotes reduces dark spots and sun damage. If you’re wary of getting into the world of cosmetic-grade acids, mandelic acids can be a good start for you—it’ll leave your skin feeling soft and smooth, and it works on almost every skin type.