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What are the Benefits of Mandelic Acid?

Your body is a temple, and in the same way we study the nutritional value of food and drink, so we should be analysing the ingredient labels of cosmeceuticals.

An ingredient to look out for is mandelic acid for its medical and pharmacolgical uses. Mandelic acid is an alpha hydroxy acid derived from bitter almonds. We’ve discussed the benefits of glycolic acid, also an AHA, but it’s worth noting that mandelic acid is more gentle (although it penetrates the skin less). It targets three key concerns:

•Wrinkles and fine lines

Mandelic acid is a go-to anti-ageing ingredient in the world of skin care. It works to accelerate cell turnover by dissolving the tiny bonds that hold skin cells together, helping to remove dead skin on the surface of the skin that can lead to dull complexions as well as fine lines. It also strengthens collagen, one of the building blocks of the skin’s support network that gives it youthful firmness. This increased rate of sloughing thins the outermost layer of the skin called the stratum corneum. A thinner stratum corneum reflects light better and makes skin look smoother and more youthful. Mandelic acid and other alpha hydroxy acids generally soften the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and improve skin texture.

I recommend the Phace Bioactive Regenerating Night Cream to smooth and tighten your skin, and refine pore size as you sleep. This product is also packed with anti-inflammatory botanicals that will keep your skin youthful and glowing.

The Hydropeptide Anti-Wrinkle Polish and Plump Peel will deliver the benefits of microdermabrasian with vitamin C crystals. These brighten the skin, protect against free radical damage and, together with lactic acid, work to promote surface cell turnover which eases the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines.

•Hyperpigmentation and discoloration

Malesma is a common skin condition in which light to dark brown or greyish pigmentation develops on the face. Mandelic acid has been shown to reduce melasma by as much as 50% in four weeks, resulting in a more evenly colored complexion and an example of its excellence in correcting skin tones. Those with deeply pigmented skin often have problems using alpha hydroxy acids because of the irritation they cause. This irritation can stimulate pigment-producing cells to produce more melanin, especially amongst darker complexions. This seems to be less of a problem with mandelic acid than with other alpha hydroxy acids.

It’s common in acid peels and because of its gentle properties, is also safe for those with rosacea.

If you are concerned about pigmentation I suggest trying the DCL Multi-action Penta Peel which has been developed with a blend of five naturally derived acids. Phytic acid brightens and even skin tones while salicylic acid unclogs pores and hyaluronic acid deeply hydrates. For added anti-ageing benefits, choose the Dr Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Peel Extra Strength Formula.


Mandelic acid’s antibacterial properties are extremely helpful in treating acne. It also helps to regulate sebum production and in turn decrease the occurrence of breakouts. Mandelic acid has even been shown to benefit those who suffer from cystic acne. Some dermatologists combine salicylic acid with mandelic acid to use as a superficial skin peel to treat acne with good results. Acne sufferers can also get results at home using products that contain salicylic acid and mandelic acid at lower concentrations.

If you suffer from oily, acne-prone skin, I recommend the Exuviance Blemish Treatment Gel, a targeted solution developed by dermatologists. You can pair this with the SkinCeuticals Clarifying Cleanser, which combines the powers of glycolic, salicylic and mandelic acids to unclog pores.

Prolonged use of mandelic acid is safe for your skin, and will have rejuvenating benefits. If you have experienced irritation with other acid treatments, mandelic acid is the best option for you as the side effects are much lower.

If you have any other skincare concerns, tweet or Facebook us and I will do my best to help.

Hira Malik

Hira Malik

Resident Pharmacist

With a Masters in Pharmacy, I am here to explain the science behind the beauty. I offer expert advice on ingredients, the latest Skincare trends, lifestyle choices and any skin concerns you may have. I enjoy travelling and taking part in running events like Tough Mudder and the Color Run.