Mandelic Acid Before and After

What is Mandelic Acid? 

If you’re curious about mandelic acid and the positive effects it can have on your skin, then you’ve come to the right place. This alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) is derived from bitter almonds and contains a plethora of beneficial properties. Mandelic acid is a chemical exfoliant that contains gentle acids which remove dead skin cells from the surface of the skin to make way for new, healthy, plump skin cells. Plus, it’s strongly antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory, meaning it can fight off the growth of bacteria AND fungi, all while calming red, swollen skin.

Mandelic acid helps to improve a variety of skin concerns, such as acne, folliculitis (fungal acne), ingrown hairs, hyperpigmentation, dull skin, aging skin and keratosis pilaris. It’s also a lot gentler on the skin than any other AHA so you won’t experience any irritation, redness or excessive drying of the skin.

Let’s take a look at how mandelic acid works to treat each of these skin concerns:

Benefits of Mandelic Acid

mandelic acid before and after for acne

Mandelic acid works its magic on stubborn acne by gently exfoliating congested material like dead skin cells and oil from the surface of the skin. The acid in MA dissolves the congested material responsible for plugging the pore so that it can loosen up and exit the pore. Using mandelic acid can also help to regulate sebum production (skin’s natural oil) and can reduce inflammation that’s responsible for making the blemish appear red and swollen.

How long until I see results?

Some people see results in the first two weeks, but for most people it will take about a month to start seeing noticeable improvements. This is because acne treatments need time to clear out all of the congested material inside your pores and prevent new clogs from forming.


mandelic acid before and after for folliculitis

If you don’t know, folliculitis (or fungal acne) is a fungal or bacterial infection of the hair follicles and can be incredibly tricky to treat. Because Mandelic acid is both antibacterial and antifungal, it clears up the microbes that cause folliculitis. MA works by exfoliating dead skin cells and oil to unclog blocked hair follicles, plus redness and inflammation are reduced by MA’s anti-inflammatory properties.

How long until I see results?

Most people will start to see a visible improvement within two to three weeks of consistent mandelic acid application. People typically start to see results a little faster than with regular acne because mandelic acid is strongly antimicrobial, and microbes (bacteria + fungus) are the main drivers of folliculitis.

Ingrown Hairs

If you’ve ever dealt with infected ingrown hairs before, you know how uncomfortable and stubborn they can be. Mandelic acid helps alleviate ingrown hairs by gently exfoliating the top of the skin to remove dead skin cells, oil and other clogged material from the hair follicle. By doing this, MA clears the way for the hair follicle to come to the surface of the skin where it can be removed with sterilized tweezers. MA also helps calm any swelling and redness of razor bumps and angry-looking boils, due to its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.

How long until I see results?

Mandelic acid can help reduce the swelling of red, inflamed ingrowns within a day or two, and if applied consistently, many ingrown hairs are brought to the surface within a week to ten days. If you consistently apply mandelic acid to your ingrown-prone area, that layer of dead skin cells will get sloughed off and ingrown hairs will be less likely to get trapped under the skin.


mandelic acid before and after for hyperpigmentation

Mandelic acid has the ability to reduce hyperpigmentation (like irregular skin color, freckles, scaring, and melasma) by doing a couple of things: First, it sheds dead skin cells from the surface of the skin, bringing to the surface new cells that replace the discolored layers. Second, MA inhibits the production of melanocytes (melanin-forming cells) so the hyperpigmentation process is interrupted. Additionally, mandelic acid improves the tone and texture of the skin, imparting a bright, smooth, and glowing appearance.

How long until I see results?

Hyperpigmentation is a little more tricky to get rid of because it fades very gradually over time. Mandelic acid works great at expediting the process but it can still take anywhere from two to four months to see dramatic improvements. This is because fading hyperpigmentation requires exfoliating many layers of discolored skin, and this has to happen slowly, layer-by-layer. 

Aging Skin

Mandelic acid can decrease the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles by stimulating the skin to produce collagen and elastin; two naturally occurring proteins found in the skin that are responsible for keeping it taught and plump. With the increased collagen and elastin levels that MA stimulates, the skin appears smoother and fine lines are less obvious. Additionally, mandelic acid exfoliates the skin to slough off old, dead skin cells that can appear dull and heavy on the surface of the skin, and generates new, healthy, plump skin cells that give the skin a youthful, fresh glow.

How long until I see results?

Typically, people will notice smoother, more glowing skin within just a week of consistent MA application. This is because mandelic acid exfoliates that top layer of skin, and once that’s gone, you’re left with new, bright, fresh skin cells. Firmer, more plump skin will be achieved over the course of several months as the production of collagen and elastin are stimulated.

Brightening the Skin

mandelic acid before and after for brightening the skin

Dull skin happens as a result of excess dead skin cells that build up on the surface of the skin that can make your face feel rough or bumpy, and can also give the skin a dull, lackluster appearance. Mandelic acid works by exfoliating dull skin so that the lipid bonds that hold dead skin cells together dissolve, allowing buildup of dead skin cells to be removed from the surface of the skin. With the outer, dead layer of skin removed, plump new cells can rise to the surface, imparting radiant, healthy skin that’s smooth to the touch.

How long until I see results?

When it comes to brightening up dull skin, most people tend to notice the effects of mandelic acid within the first couple of weeks or so. This happens because MA exfoliates the dead, dull skin cells from the top of the skin, bringing forth bright, new skin cells, and that process happens fairly quickly.

Keratosis Pilaris

Keratosis Pilaris (KP) is a condition that develops when the skin produces too much of a protein called keratin. Keratin can block hair follicles and cause dry bumps to develop that are usually located on the arms, thighs, cheeks, and buttocks and are generally white and sometimes red in color. Mandelic acid helps clear KP by exfoliating the skin to unclog the blocked hair follicle. The only trick with treating KP is that it gets worse when dry, so make sure you’re applying an equal amount of mandelic acid and non-comedogenic moisturizer so that the skin stays hydrated.

How long until I see results?

Most people see smoother skin within a couple of weeks from consistent mandelic acid application. This is because MA gently exfoliates the skin to remove dead skin cells that are causing KP plugs to form which generally gets smoothed out after 1-2 weeks of applications.

How to use Mandelic Acid

When using mandelic acid, make sure to apply it to clean, dry skin. Apply a couple drops of MA and gently pat into the skin. Let it dry for 60 to 90 seconds before moving on to the next step in your skincare routine. 

It’s important to note that mandelic acid is a strong, exfoliating skincare acid, which means it may take your skin a couple of weeks to get used to. Because of this, it’s best to start using mandelic acid every other day for a week or two so your skin can get adjusted to it. If your skin feels good after applying every other day for a week or so, you can start using it every day, and then gradually work towards twice a day applications if necessary.

Final Thoughts: 

As you can see, mandelic acid contains properties that have incredible benefits for many different skin concerns. We truly believe it's one of the most well rounded skincare products out there. If you're struggling with any of the skin concerns mentioned above, our mandelic acid serums are excellent for treating the face and/or the body. You can check them out here: Almond Clear 


Like what you read? Want to chat about skincare with people who have the same skin concerns as you? Join our Facebook Group- Almond Clear Skincare Support.

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