Instructions for Using Mandelic Acid

Written by elizabeth tehrani
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Instructions for Using Mandelic Acid
Mandelic acid is derived from bitter almonds. (Thomas Northcut/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Mandelic acid is a type of AHA, or alpha-hydroxy acid. It is derived from bitter almonds, and is in many respects similar to glycolic acid, a more commonly known AHA. AHAs work by loosening or dissolving dead and damaged skin cells to reveal fresher skin. Mandelic acid -- which also has antibiotic properties and has been used medically as a urinary antiseptic -- has recently gained favour, not only for its anti-ageing effects, but also for the improvement of acneic and hyper-pigmented conditions. Used as a chemical peel, it can kill bacteria, purify pores, decrease hyperpigmentation, and soften fine lines.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Facial cleanser
  • Facial moisturiser

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  1. 1

    Cleanse your face thoroughly. Gently pat it dry. Do not rub, as this can increase irritation from the peel.

    Instructions for Using Mandelic Acid
    Thorough cleansing allows the acid to work more effectively. (Jupiterimages/Pixland/Getty Images)
  2. 2

    Saturate a piece of gauze or large cotton swab with the mandelic acid solution. Apply evenly over your face. Leave the solution on your face for about five minutes.

    Instructions for Using Mandelic Acid
    Application with gauze is preferable, since it won't absorb and waste too much product. (Siri Stafford/Photodisc/Getty Images)
  3. 3

    Rinse the mandelic acid solution from your face using plenty of water and, if necessary, facial cleanser.

    Instructions for Using Mandelic Acid
    It is important to make sure you remove all of the acid solution from your face. (Digital Vision/Digital Vision/Getty Images)
  4. 4

    Dry face gently and apply moisturiser liberally.

    Instructions for Using Mandelic Acid
    Moisturising after the peel helps prevent redness, irritation, and dryness. (Jupiterimages/Goodshoot/Getty Images)
  5. 5

    Repeat at least once and up to three times a week.

    Instructions for Using Mandelic Acid
    Repeating the peel over time should promote fresh, younger-looking skin. (Comstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images)

Tips and warnings

  • A rich moisturiser is best after a peel. Avoid creams that contain AHAs, as this will increase skin irritation. Vitamin E oil, argan oil, or shea butter are all gentle but rich moisturisers which may promote healing.
  • Before performing a chemical peel at home, always do a spot check twenty four hours beforehand. Following the peel instructions, apply the product to a hidden area, such as under your ear. If you have an adverse reaction, do not perform the peel.
  • Those who are allergic to almonds should check with their doctor before using products with mandelic acid.

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