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Most people associate smooth and plump skin with proper face cleansing and appropriate moisturization, but they forget about one important step – exfoliation.
Exfoliation is a must in any skin care regimen, and mandelic acid is one such important ingredient that has amazing exfoliating properties. What makes mandelic acid a great exfoliator is its ability to be effective while also being gentle on your skin. (1)
In fact, according to dermatologists, mandelic acid is very well tolerated by most skin types and does not induce excessive skin peeling or irritation like other exfoliating acids, such as glycolic acid. (2) In short, the chances of mandelic acid causing skin peeling are slim to none.
However, dermatologists claim that, rarely, mandelic acid can result in mild flaking or peeling during the initial period of its usage or if used in very high concentrations.
If you wish to learn more about skin peeling with mandelic acid and how/when it occurs, read on.
What Makes Mandelic Acid Better Than Other Acids in Terms of Skin Peeling?
When using mandelic acid, it’s important to understand what it does to the skin.
1. It does not penetrate the skin too deeply like other acids
Mandelic acid is a type of superficial chemical peel that aims to remove damaged skin safely and uniformly.
Compared to other chemical peels, mandelic acid peels penetrate the skin less deeply, resulting in fewer side effects and reduced recovery time.
The larger molecular structure of mandelic acid allows for slower skin penetration, which minimizes the risk of irritation or peeling often associated with other exfoliators such as glycolic acid. (3)
2. It offers very gentle exfoliation
Exfoliation is the process of removing dead skin cells from the surface of the skin, and mandelic acid works by reducing the attraction between these cells, leading to gentle yet effective exfoliation. (1)(2)
The gentle action of mandelic acid lowers the possibility of adverse events such as skin irritation and peeling.
In a study involving 12 volunteers with acne, the application of a gel containing 5% mandelic acid resulted in visible improvement in reducing acne and acne scars over 6 weeks without any notable side effects. (3)
3. It is safe for most skin types when used in the recommended manner
Mandelic acid, typically, is safe for most skin types and does not cause skin peeling when used properly in the right concentrations as advised by a professional.
Although it does have the potential to induce mild flaking or peeling, it is mostly during the initial use when your skin is adjusting to this new ingredient or when you use it in a concentration higher than what was recommended to you.
Mandelic acid is a naturally found ingredient in bitter almonds. It is from a group of acids collectively known as alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) and has various advantages such as acne reduction and skin aging prevention when used as a part of a skin care regimen.
Mandelic acid has a much larger size compared to other AHAs and thus does not penetrate too deeply into the skin, making it much gentler and safer on the skin. It positively exfoliates the skin, making it smooth while evening out your skin tone.
Here are some useful effects of using mandelic acid on your skin.
1. Fights acne problems
Mandelic acid is famous for its action against acne. It is successful in treating acne due to its exfoliating nature and anti-inflammatory activity.
In a study, 45% mandelic acid peel was found to be as effective as 30% salicylic acid peel, which is the standard treatment for mild-to-moderate acne. Moreover, mandelic acid peels were associated with much fewer side effects, making it a better option. (4)
2. Helps manage skin redness and inflammation
Mandelic acid has anti-inflammatory properties that make it helpful for treating any kind of skin inflammation.
3. Prevents and reduces signs of skin aging
Another notable action of mandelic acid is its role in preventing and reducing signs of aging.
In a study, 2% mandelic acid, when used topically on the skin, was found to reduce the oiliness and greasiness in aged skin while reducing the presence of fine lines and wrinkles. The participants of the study enjoyed a more youthful appearance after only 8 weeks of use. (7)
You can use mandelic acid-containing products on your skin just as you would use any other skin care product.
If you’re using mandelic acid cream, you only have to apply it to your skin by rubbing it in circular motions on the face. However, make sure you cleanse your face well before applying the cream.
Also, if you use serums or toners, they should be applied before the cream. Lastly, adding a layer of sunblock to the face after mandelic acid is a must.
Note: Remember to begin with a low concentration and slowly increase it based on expert advice or how your skin reacts to it.
Experts also add that skin peeling with mandelic acid is not commonly observed, and even in the cases where skin peeling is seen, it is very mild and not too severe.
However, they suggest that you follow the following points when using mandelic acid:
- Patch-test the product on a small portion of skin before using it on your face.
- Always start with a very low concentration and do not straight away jump to products with higher concentrations.
- Make sure you use a sunblock after applying mandelic acid.
Can I use mandelic acid every day?
Yes, mandelic acid can be used every day if your skin tolerates it well.
Can I use mandelic acid to treat acne?
Yes, you can use mandelic acid to combat acne problems.
Can mandelic acid be used on sensitive skin?
Yes, mandelic acid is often well tolerated by sensitive skin.
Mandelic acid is a much better option than other alpha hydroxy acids because it is much gentler on the skin and does not cause a lot of side effects such as irritation and skin peeling.
However, this does not mean that there is a guarantee that it will not cause skin peeling. There are cases in which it may be observed, but it is very mild in comparison to what other acids cause.