As a skincare enthusiast, acids and "trendy and buzzing ingredients" have always fascinated and intrigued me. It's as if you turn to the beauty sphere and there is some new ingredient or formulation waiting to blow your mind. Beauty labels hold immense passion when it comes to putting innovation to new ingredients every now and then, give us more reason to hop on to the buzziest ingredient! When we experience congested skin or dull texture, we often turn to peels which helps in exfoliating the skin by removing the superficial layer and to promote new skin cells. In this case, we have mandelic acid on our radar which has been making the rounds recently. We have been wary of dipping our toes into the world of chemical exfoliants or perhaps we may not have had the best experience with them. With mandelic acid entering the scene, we might want to consider using peels. To get a better understanding about the same, we got in touch with experts Dr. Nishita Ranka, Internationally acclaimed dermatologist and Founder of Dr. Nishita's Clinic for Skin, Hair and Aesthetics as well as Prachi Bhandari, Cosmetologist and Co-founder, AMINU for their expert inputs.
What Is Mandelic Acid?
"Mandelic acid is an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) derived from bitter almonds. The most common AHAs are sugarcane-derived glycolic acid and lactic acid sourced from milk. These AHAs can even be synthetically produced," states Dr. Nishita Ranka.
With its reputation as a less irritating AHA, mandelic acid has become a buzzy ingredient in the beauty sphere, making its usage feasible for people with sensitive skin and rosacea as well. "Among AHA counterparts, mandelic acid has a larger molecular structure. For example, its molecules are twice the size compared to glycolic acid. These larger molecules penetrate the skin much slower than AHAs with smaller molecule sizes. Therefore, mandelic acid is the mildest and less likely to cause redness or irritation," adds Dr Nishita Ranka.
Does Mandelic Acid Actually Work?
With trendy skincare ingredients ruling the market every other day, sometimes skincare can be hard to keep up with. Mandelic acid has been working its way across the globe for its "not so irritating" formulation but the question lies is if we are ready enough to try out chemical exfoliants? Do they actually work? As a skincare enthusiast, I love trying out new formulations and ingredients but have been quite cautious in the case of chemical exfoliants.
"Mandelic acid is a powerful ingredient that has a multitude of benefits. Though it's relatively new to the skincare world, mandelic acid has been used for nearly two centuries as a medicinal compound because of its anti-microbial and wound-healing properties. This skin-loving AHA helps to accelerate cell turnover and increases the production of collagen and can help prevent breakouts in acne-prone skin," tells us Prachi Bhandari.
Using Mandelic Acid In Summers
Scrubs can be sometimes abrasive on the skin, even some AHA's and BHA's come with disclaimers but at the same time proper use of chemical exfoliants is needed for cell regeneration and clear skin. "With heat and humidity shooting up in summer, sebaceous glands literally double up the sebum production. This excess sebum leads to clogged pores and acne breakouts. Plus, regular sunscreen application causes dirt buildup, which worsens the condition. That's where gentle exfoliation with mandelic acid comes in. It helps unclog pores and control breakouts," explains Dr Nishita Ranka
Seconding the notion, Prachi Bhandari elaborates, "It's gentler compared to glycolic acid because its molecule size is twice as big, so it takes longer to penetrate the skin and is therefore less likely to cause irritation."
Inculcating Mandelic Acid In Your Skincare Routine
There are enormous benefits of mandelic acid. However, if you're introducing AHAs into your routine for the first time, it's best to start off cautiously with low strength and do a patch test before directly applying it onto the skin.
"Use twice or thrice weekly and work up to daily use. After a few applications, the skin usually builds up a tolerance for everyday use. Apply mandelic acid-containing products as part of your night time skincare routine, after cleansing and before moisturizing," states Dr Nishita.
Mandelic acid has been a buzzing ingredient for being a suitable exfoliator for almost all skin types and hence is rising to fame for its comparatively gentler formulation. "Mandelic acid can be used by nearly all skin types, including sensitive skin. Always follow the brand guidelines, some mandelic acid products will be gentle enough and formulated in a way that you can use them every day. Always avoid the skin around your eyes," explains Prachi Bhandari.Comments
Layering your skincare right has always been a concern, especially when it comes to ingredients and same goes for Mandelic acid. "It works really well when paired with hydrators and antioxidants. However, you shouldn't use mandelic acid with other acids or retinol or prescription drugs as this can increase the risk of irritation," she further adds.