Mandelic acid: formula and use

Mandelic acid: formula and use

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There are not many true allies in the care of our skin and in the fight against premature aging,mandelic acid it is one of them together with other acids such as malic, glycolic and lactic acid. Mandelic belongs to the category of alpha-hydroxy acids and is used in the field of cosmetics. We can find it among the ingredients of products such as exfoliating, lightening and antioxidant creams. It has not been used for centuries, about half a century, when researchers began to identify its powers, powers that still make it a very useful acid both for lightening and exfoliating the skin.

Mandelic acid: formula

The molecular formula of mandelic acid is C6H5CH (OH) CO2H. Anyone who knows a bit of chemistry knows that it is a crystalline solid soluble in water, ether and isopropyl alcohol. In nature this acid can be found in the form of large transparent rhomboid crystals but we can also find it in the form of a powder, a crystalline and white powder. If you use prolonged solar or artificial UV irradiation, the powdered acid becomes gradually darker and decomposes easily.

The taste of this acid resembles salt, it is very pungent, while its smell is not particularly strong, on the contrary, it can even be absent.

The discovery of this acid occurred in a particular way, that is in a random way. This substance was isolated during heating of a bitter almond extract diluted in hydrochloric acid. The extract contained amygdalin and that is why this acid can also be called "Amygdalic acid". The name “mandelico” derives from the word “mandel” which in German means almond.

Mandelic acid: use

We know it because of its precious effects in the cosmetic field but it is not the only sector in which we find it used. Also in the past it was used for example for the treatment of urinary tract infections, thanks to its antibacterial properties. It has also been attributed with antibiotic properties and that is why in some countries mandelic acid was used for the treatment of some specific diseases.

The use of this acid in cosmetics it then arrives later, towards the seventies, and only that point has we begun to include it in the composition of products such as depigmenting and exfoliating creams or cosmetics. It is still a highly requested ingredient in cosmetics, for the preparation of creams, gels or masks to be applied on the skin but also to create chemical peels with an exfoliating and depigmenting action.

If we consider some derivatives ofmandelic acid, we may find that some drugs can also be obtained from it. The active ingredient of "homatropin" and that of "ciclandelate" are mandelic acid esters, the former is a anticholinergic medicine used for the treatment of uveitis, the second is one spasmolytic used for the treatment of peripheral vasculopathies.

Mandelic acid in cosmetics

Let's go back to cosmetic and dermatological field, because it is in this sector that we find the most practical and frequent applications, especially as an exfoliant.

This alpha-hydroxy acid it is used for example in pre- and post-laser therapy treatment, because it soothes skin irritation, or in the treatment of acne vulgaris, in the form of peeling and also useful for its antibacterial properties, capable of reducing proliferation of Propionibacterium acnes.

We find this acid also used for the treatment of comedones (blackheads), skin dyschromias (eg spots on the skin) related to photo-aging, of melasma, chloasma, freckles. It is a skin compacting agent and helps us to improve the signs and symptoms related to pustular / papular acne, has a detoxifying and anti-wrinkle effect on the skin, and can also be alternative treatment for rosacea.

In association with other substances, such as hyaluronic acid or allantoin, we find the mandelic also in cosmetics to hydrate the skin in depth.

Mandelic acid: benefits

The most popular properties are those of exfoliating, another very interesting aspect is that there are no side effects to take into account and not even the particular contraindications on the types of skin on which to apply it

Many creams based on glycolic acid and some products prepared with other alpha-hydroxy acids with exfoliating properties, may be photosensitizing while those withmandelic acid not only are they. In practice this means that we can safely use them even before going to sunbathe.

Compared toglycolic acid, the mandelic does not create erythema when applied to the skin and, if it is healthy, neither burning nor tingling nor pain is felt.

This should not lead us to be imprudent, however, because if we do a chemical peel, then it is always better to apply a cream with an emollient and nourishing action or with plant extracts with a soothing action, such as calendula.

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Video: The Ordinary Mandelic Acid 10% + HA What You Can and Cannot Mix + Order of Application (July 2022).


  1. Sar

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  2. Weorth

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  3. Mordred

    What a funny answer

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