It’s easy to understand why the thought of using acids on your skin can feel intimidating. This is somewhat amplified when the acid in question, is not as well-known as others, such as glycolic acid and salicylic acid. Mandelic acid is not necessarily a new ingredient, but it is still niche enough to be under the radar, with only truly obsessed skincare fans knowing its benefits and introducing it into their skincare routine.
Not to worry, because, if you have found yourself wondering what mandelic acid is and the benefits it can deliver to the skin, this next part is for you.
What is mandelic acid and what are its skin benefits?
- Mandelic acid is a member of the AHA family, also known as alpha hydroxy acids, it derives to others as it is thought to be one of the most mild.
- Derived from bitter almonds and formulated into a variety of skincare product formulas.
- Exfoliates the top layer of the skin, ridding it of any build-up in dead skin cells, bacteria, dirt, debris, and other impurities.
- Is also able to work further into the pores unclogging them of excess sebum, dirt, and bacteria which will lead to breakouts, such as whiteheads, blackheads, and other blemishes.
- Accelerates the cell turnover helping to dissolve the bonds that holds the skin cells together. By ridding the skin of dead skin cells, the complexion will appear brighter and vibrant, with a healthy glow.
- Helps to combat sign of ageing, with fine lines and wrinkles visibly reduced and skin feeling firmer thanks to the additional boost in collagen production.
- Reduces the amount of melasma on the skin this leads to areas of hyperpigmentation becoming lighter and a more even skin tone.
- Contains antibacterial properties and the ability to regulate the sebum production in the skin, making it a highly beneficial ingredient for acne-prone skin.
- If you wanted to learn more about mandelic acids benefits, check out our dedicated blog post.
When should you not use mandelic acid?
Although mandelic acid is thought to be the mildest of acids, it can still cause irritation and increased risk of sensitive. To avoid this, I would suggest avoiding using mandelic acid with retinol, especially if you are new to using both ingredients. If you have a chemical peel with mandelic acid planned, avoid using retinol completely from your routine for the two weeks prior to your treatment, and one week after.
You should also not apply mandelic acid onto skin that is sunburnt or tanned. This is because the acid will be too potent and cause increased irritation, dryness, redness, and itching. As gentle as mandelic acid is, it is still best to team it with a hydrating ingredient, such as hyaluronic acid or niacinamide to help lock moisture into the skin and keep it healthy, happy, and hydrated.
If you ever have any concerns about using mandelic acid, or any other acid for that matter, seek the help from a dermatologist or other medical professional to avoid unwanted side effects.
Can I use mandelic acid twice a day?
Yes absolutely, in fact, using mandelic acid twice a day is recommended by most skincare experts. This doesn’t mean you should start using it twice daily instantly, instead it is advised to use it once in the evening. Once the skin has built its tolerance you can use it twice a day.
Thanks to the antioxidant properties of the skin acid, when you apply it to the skin during the morning, the skin will be protected from exposure to free radical damage, such as pollution, UV rays, and other environmental aggressors. Once you have reapplied mandelic acid in the evening these same antioxidant properties will set to work on any existing damage caused. They’ll repair and rejuvenate whilst targeting areas of concern, such as signs of ageing, loss of firmness, sun damage, dull and lack lustre complexion.
Bearing in mind that everyone’s skin is different, not to mention how much our skincare routines differ also, it’s important to remember that something that works for one person, won’t necessarily work for you. So, if you try using mandelic acid twice a day and find it’s too much for your skin, there’s nothing stopping you from dropping to one application a day.
Does mandelic acid cause breakouts?
Yes, it can during the initial stages of introducing it to your routine. These breakouts are also known as purging, which is a common result of using a chemical exfoliant, especially if you’ve not used it on the skin previously. The reason for this skin purging is the accelerated skin cell turnover caused from the exfoliation which then draws out all the “gunk” that sits in the pores and lower layers of the skin. Once this collection of impurities reaches the surface they appear as blemishes, such as blackheads, whiteheads, and active spots.
Skin purging may feel disheartening, but it is only a short-term problem with many experiencing these results to then have skin clarity after the maximum of two weeks. If you have any further problems with breakouts, this may be an allergic reaction, and I would suggest you stop using your mandelic acid product and seek some further advice from your doctor.
How is mandelic acid used in routine?
This is very much dependant the product the mandelic acid is formulated in to. This is because there is a basic skincare rule of applying your products in the correct order, starting with the thinnest consistency, and working your way up to the thickest formula. For example, starting off with a cleanser or face wash, toner, serum, face oil, moisturiser, and finally an SPF for daytime only. Ensuring you apply these products in the right order will prevent the active ingredients having to compete with any physical barriers created on the skin surface caused from a thicker consistency product.
There you have a little more detail about using mandelic acid every day. If you had any further questions, you can come and find me over on our Instagram, look forward to seeing you the