Norwood Clinic:

The benefits of Mandelic Acid

We are taking more time to understand the nutritional value of our food and drink, and in exactly the same way – we should be analysing the ingredient labels of our skin care products.

An ingredient to look out for is mandelic acid for its medical and pharmacolgical uses. Mandelic acid is an alpha hydroxy acid derived from bitter almonds.  It is more gentle on the skin and targets three key concerns:

•Wrinkles and fine lines

Mandelic acid is a go-to anti-ageing ingredient in the world of skin care. It works to accelerate cell turnover by dissolving the tiny bonds that hold skin cells together, helping to remove dead skin on the surface of the skin that can lead to dull complexions as well as fine lines. It also strengthens collagen, one of the building blocks of the skin’s support network that gives it youthful firmness. This increased rate of sloughing thins the outermost layer of the skin called the stratum corneum. A thinner stratum corneum reflects light better and makes skin look smoother and more youthful. Mandelic acid and other alpha hydroxy acids generally soften the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and improve skin texture.

•Hyperpigmentation and discolouration

Malesma is a common skin condition in which light to dark brown or greyish pigmentation develops on the face. Mandelic acid has been shown to reduce melasma by as much as 50% in four weeks, resulting in a more evenly coloured complexion and an example of its excellence in correcting skin tones. Those with deeply pigmented skin often have problems using alpha hydroxy acids because of the irritation they cause.  Mandelic acid in these cases is better tolerated than other alpha hydroxy acids.

It’s common in acid peels and because of its gentle properties, is also safe for those with rosacea.


Mandelic acid’s antibacterial properties are extremely helpful in treating acne. It also helps to regulate sebum production and in turn decrease the occurrence of breakouts. Mandelic acid has even been shown to benefit those who suffer from cystic acne. Some dermatologists combine salicylic acid with mandelic acid to use as a superficial skin peel to treat acne with good results. Acne sufferers can also get results at home using products that contain salicylic acid and mandelic acid at lower concentrations.

If you suffer from oily, acne-prone skin, I recommend the ZO Oilacleanse, a targeted solution developed by the top dermatologist in the USA. You can pair this with the ZO Medical Cebatrol Pads, which combines the powers of glycolic, salicylic and mandelic acids to unclog pores.