People use various over-the-counter skin care products to treat and combat dark spots, acne, wrinkles, dullness, and other skin care problems. While OTC products can include many ingredients, manufacturers use several core ingredients, including mandelic acid.
While experts agree that mandelic acid is beneficial, there is not much research supporting the specific advantages of this particular alpha hydroxy acid. Still, researchers tend to agree that the compound is gentle on the skin and is promising in treating skin texture, acne, hyperpigmentation, and premature aging.
Understanding the Origins of Mandelic Acid
Derived from almonds, specifically bitter almonds, mandelic acid is an AHA used primarily in treating acne. It differentiates itself from other AHAs by being gentle on the skin, limiting occurrences of irritation. As a gentler AHA, mandelic acid is an ideal ingredient for people with sensitive skin.
The acid is so gentle on the skin because it is among the most extensive AHA compounds. The size means mandelic acid has a slower penetration rate, resulting in less irritation.
Benefits of Mandelic Acid
Like other AHAs, mandelic acid is good for accelerated cellular turnover. The compound effectively exfoliates the skin, removing dead skin cells. By removing dead cells and exfoliating the skin, the compound helps speed up the body's natural turnover processes, meaning users end up with younger skin cells and a more youthful appearance.
Additionally, the helpful acid promotes collagen production. Collagen is the primary protein found in connective tissue and skin. The increase in collagen can help balance complexion and appearance; however, evidence of such changes is anecdotal.
Potential Uses of Mandelic Acid
While there are many potential uses for mandelic acid, it is primarily used for acne treatment. The AHA helps regulate sebum production, reduce inflammation, and unclog pores, all contributing factors to breakouts. In one study, researchers found that a chemical peel containing 45% mandelic acid was as effective as one using 30% salicylic acid. The study also found that mandelic acid had fewer side effects and was more effective in treating inflammatory acne.
For some, mandelic acid may also play a role in improving skin texture, reducing hyperpigmentation, and lessening fine lines and wrinkles. However, more conclusive research is needed in these particular areas.
Mandelic Acid Side Effects
Despite being gentle on the skin, mandelic acid can affect people in different ways. Many consumers using products containing mandelic acid will have no problems, but others might experience adverse side effects, such as:
Sometimes, the appearance of symptoms, especially after several days or weeks of use, results from overuse. Most side effects subside when you limit your use of the product. However, you should stop using the product and talk to your dermatologist if problems persist.
Mandelic acid is a promising and popular skincare ingredient. It is among the largest AHAs molecularly, slowing penetration and making it gentler on the skin. It is known to be effective in treating inflammatory acne and shows promise in treating hyperpigmentation, sun spots, and aging. While used in several OTC skincare treatments, consumers should consult their dermatologists before starting any new therapy.