Mandelic acid is an aromatic alpha hydroxy acid belonging to the second generation of hydroxy acids: the peeling power without the disadvantages. Derived from amygdalin, an extract from bitter almonds. The mandelic acid molecule is larger than the glycolic acid molecule so does not penetrate deeply. Despite its pKa of 3.41, stronger than glycolic acid, it is generally not irritating and well tolerated even by sensitive skin. Mandelic acid has been used in medicine as an antiseptic: it‘s a nontoxic substance after being ingested orally.
• Skin texture improvement (fine wrinkles and lines) without any irritation or erythema compared to results based on glycolic acid preparations
• Lightening action improves quickly (even dermal and epidermal melasma) with no adverse effects. Does not cause an inflammatory response or hyperpigmentation: suitable for dark and sensitive skin
• Produces less prickling sensation during application: suitable for sensitive skin
• Antibacterial effects: ideal treatment for acne or occasional breakout
Because of its larger molecular structure relative to other AHAs like glycolic acid, mandelic acid is known to have slower penetration into the skin, which in part moderates its irritation potential to the skin. By implication, the speed of action from a mandelic acid application may be slower or more gradual than some other AHA acids, and its use may be more appropriate for sensitive skin applications. Mandelic acid has been found useful to improve various skin conditions including UV-driven lentigenes, darkening of skin seen with melasma, treating inflammatory non cystic acne, wrinkles, and fine lines.
Indications for mandelic acid peels:
1. Acne and rosacea;
3. Post acne and oily seborrhoea;
4. Comedones (blackheads);
5. Minor expression wrinkles;
6. Skin cover imperfections;
7. Low skin tonus and tightness;
8. Pigment spots, freckles, uneven complexion;
9. Insufficient microcirculation in skin covering;
10. Enlarged pores.
This type of peel is also widely used to prepare skin for laser resurfacing and medium chemical peel since it has a bacteriostatic and anti-inflammatory effect.
Properties of mandelic acid peels:
1. Has a keratolytic (superficial exfoliating) effect. It loosens the upper layers of epidermis and sloughs off unneeded skin cells.
2. Lifting effect is achieved due to synthesis of collagen and elastin which activate cell regeneration and smoothing of minor wrinkles.
3. Has a bacteriostatic and anti-inflammatory effect, i.e. suppresses generation of bacteria due to structural similarity to antibiotic macrolides. Thus, the acid reduces the risk of skin cover contamination and inflammation.
4. Skin-whitening effect is achieved through removal of the horned layer; skin becomes smoother and lighter.
5. Cytoprotective (antioxidant) effect is achieved due to the blocking of free radicals and the ability to fix heavy metal ions. This means protection of skin cells from the negative influence of the environment.
6. Comedolytic effect is achieved by means of unblocking the openings of hair follicles and reducing the secretion and the sizes of sebaceous gland excretory ducts. Mandelic acid reduce pores, treats sore acne with comedones, papule and pustules, as well as gram-negative folliculitis and blackheads.