What is Mandelic Acid and how should you be using it?
Exfoliating with skincare acids is the grown-up option for getting your skin super-smooth, ultra-radiant and in overall excellent condition. Exfoliating with acids may sound harsh, but depending on what you use, chemical exfoliation can actually be the most gentle and effective way to achieve clearer, brighter and smoother skin. So, put down the face scrub and read on to discover everything you need to know about skincare acids, as well as one acid in particular that urgently needs a place in your bathroom cabinet – say hello to mandelic acid.
How do chemical exfoliants work?
Chemical exfoliants are skin-friendly acids or enzymes derived from fruits, nuts, sugar cane and other botanical sources. They work to dissolve the ‘glue’ that holds dead skin to the surface, letting it slough off and promote healthier skin cell turnover. Loosening the dead cells on the surface encourages them to shed, bringing the fresher, smoother skin below up to the surface.
Exfoliating acids are split into two categories: Alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) and Beta hydroxy acids (BHAs). AHAs include glycolic and mandelic acid which brighten and smooth the skin, and improve hydration, too. There’s only one type of beta-hydroxy acid – salicylic acid. As well as exfoliating the surface of the skin, BHA dissolves in oil, so it can reach into blocked pores to clear them. It also reduces inflammation and boosts hydration.
In-clinic treatments such as chemical peels combine chemical exfoliants to reach deeper into the skin, targeting issues and concerns on the surface. At-home AHAs and BHAs are equally as important and have a critical place in almost any daily skincare regime. They keep the skin’s surface clear and help balance out congestion in the skin the causes whiteheads and breakouts. Stronger acid exfoliators can also help to soften wrinkles and improve skin texture by stimulating the skin-renewal processes that produce more supportive collagen and encourage skin hydration.
What is mandelic acid?
Mandelic acid is an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) derived from bitter almonds but is gentler than some of the other AHAs like glycolic and lactic acid. AHAs work by exfoliating the layers of dead skin cells from the skin’s surface to reveal brighter, clearer skin and encourage clearer pores and an even skin tone.
What benefits does it have on the skin?
It treats acne
Mandelic acid’s antibacterial properties are extremely helpful in treating acne. It also helps to regulate sebum production by keeping pores clear of clogging oils and dead skin cells, which decreases the occurrence of breakouts.
It fades pigmentation
Acne can often leave behind pink and brown marks which can be challenging to get rid of. Mandelic acid is a queen for fading pigmentation and discolouration, which is often used in professional chemical peels. It works by dissolving the dead skin cells on the skin’s surface – gradually fading the appearance of the mark until it completely disappears and is replaced by new, unscarred skin.
It reduces fine lines and wrinkles
Mandelic acid stimulates collagen and elastin production – two essential building blocks of the skin’s support network that give it youthful bounce. Using an AHA such as mandelic acid in your skincare regime, you can expect an improvement in skin texture and a brighter, more luminous complexion.
It brightens dull skin
Over time, dead skin accumulates on the skin’s surface and clogs pores, causing the skin to look dull and lifeless. Mandelic acid helps to dissolve the glue that holds dead skin cells together. As they shed, fresh new skin cells take their place, causing the skin to appear brighter and more even in tone.
How to use mandelic acid in your skincare regime
Professional chemical peels
Professional grade peels can be given as a one-off treatment but may be recommended in a course for best results. They vary in strength and are usually formulated between 20% and 40%. The targeted blend of ingredients in a skin peel works to remove dead skin cells, target blemishes, acne, pigmentation, and visibly smooth fine lines and wrinkles.
In your daily routine
Skin products containing AHAs such as mandelic acid can be a great way to enhance and maintain a healthy, radiant complexion in between in-clinic treatment. Here are a couple of our favourites.
You bet you can reap the benefits of mandelic acid in your cleanser. This one combines it with glycerin and salicylic acid and tea tree oil for a skin-smoothing, bacteria-busting powerhouse.
Expertly formulated with Gluconolactone and 4% Mandelic Acid, this exfoliant is as mild as they come and can be used every day. Those who have tried everything to rid their blackheads may find some sweet relief in this product.
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Disclaimer: Please be aware that results and benefits may vary from patient to patient taking into consideration factors such as age, lifestyle and medical history.