It sounds counterintuitive to have acids in our beauty regime – aren’t those more appropriate in a chemistry lab? Nevertheless, several different acids have slowly grown to become staples in many of our beauty products. Most famous is perhaps salicylic acid, which is known to combat acne, enlarged pores and excessive sebum production.
Then, there is also hyaluronic acid, which has the reputation of being able to help create plump, dewy and moisturised skin. As a naturally-occurring acid that can be found in our bodies, the production of hyaluronic acid slows down with age – hence, this ingredient is suited for more mature women and can be found in many anti-aging products.
As you can see, different acids serve different purposes and it is important to figure out exactly which acid(s) is/are best for our own skin type. With that, there’s a new acid that we would like to introduce – mandelic acid. It might not be as famous or prominent as its other acid counterparts, but it will surely become a household name in no time.
So what exactly is mandelic acid? It is considered an alpha hydroxy acid, aka AHA, which is a label for acids that are commonly derived from food products. While mandelic acid has its origins from bitter almonds, other popular acids in beauty products such as glycolic acid and lactic acid come from sugar cane and sour milk respectively.
Mandelic acid serves three main purposes: it targets wrinkles and fine lines, hyperpigmentation and discolouration and is also good at treating acne.
#1: For wrinkles and fine lines
Mandelic acid is a good ingredient to look out for in anti-aging beauty products. Just like other AHAs, it helps to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, as the acid is able to dissolve the tiny bonds that hold skin cells together. This speeds up cell turnover and removes dead skin cells, which is usually the main reason for a dull complexion.
Also, mandelic acid can help your skin appear firmer, as it supports increased collagen production, which is essential for fuller and more youthful-looking skin. Since it helps to remove dead skin cells, this thins out the outermost layer of the skin, which translates to smoother skin that reflects light better, and an improved skin texture.
In addition, unlike other AHAs, mandelic acid has larger molecules, so it’s generally gentler and less irritating on the skin.
#2: For hyperpigmentation and discolouration
Hyperpigmentation and discolouration are essentially due to the excessive pigmentation of the skin, caused by the overproduction of melanin in certain spots of the skin. This results in dark spots appearing not just on your face, but also possibly on other parts of your body that are usually exposed to the sun, such as your hands.
This common skin condition which causes an uneven skin tone is a giant headache for some, and here is where mandelic acid comes in. It has been shown that mandelic acid can reduce such pigmentation by as much as 50% in four weeks, which means an evener complexion and skin tone.
Compared to other AHAs, mandelic acid is superior when treating the specific problem of hyperpigmentation and discolouration. This is because unlike mandelic acid, other AHAs are known for causing irritation problems, which can sometimes encourage pigment-producing cells to produce more melanin, especially amongst darker complexions. Due to its gentle properties, mandelic acid is also ideal for those with rosacea.
#3: For acne
Mandelic acid also has anti-bacterial properties, which allows it to serve as a powerful acne treatment. It also helps to regulate sebum production, which can greatly reduce the chances of pesky pimples and unexpected breakouts. Those who suffer from cystic acne, take note – mandelic acid has also been shown to be effective and beneficial for you.
In fact, some dermatologists actually combine mandelic acid and salicylic acid to create a potent peel to treat acne. To replicate this at home, simply combine products that contain salicylic acid and mandelic acid at lower concentrations.
As mentioned, due to its larger molecules, mandelic acid is perfect for those with sensitive skin as it is gentler and penetrates the skin slower. Hence, if you’ve suffered from side effects with other AHAs, consider giving mandelic acid a go. Its prolonged use will help rejuvenate your skin and is completely safe.
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