Can I use glycolic acid and mandelic acid?

When it comes to combining chemical peels, I explain that it can often feel overwhelming and make you act like a mad scientist. The problem is, if you still can't figure out what these acids do and the unique benefits they provide, you might be applying them to your skin incorrectly. While some of these skin care formulas may be mild or low-concentration, you're still dealing with acids, and making sure you focus on protecting your skin from excessive sun exposure and other environmental aggressors is an important part of keeping your skin healthy.

Now let’s turn our attention to today’s blog post: Can glycolic acid and mandelic acid be used together? It's a question that's come up a lot lately, so we thought it was time to explore a little further and see if these exfoliating powerhouses are the secret combination your skin has been waiting for? Or a recipe for disaster!

This next section is for those of you who need a refresher on these ingredients. If you want to skip the sharing part, that's no problem with us. We promise you there will be no quizzes at the end.

What is glycolic acid?

Derived from sugar cane, it is found in a range of skin care formulas, including exfoliating toners, serums and moisturizers.

Belongs to the alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) family and is the most commonly used acid.

Has small molecules that allow it to penetrate into the lower layers of the skin.

Works deep into pores to remove excess sebum buildup, dirt, bacteria, debris and impurities.

It removes the top layer of dead skin cells and prevents the formation of blackheads, acne and other skin blemishes.

Helps fight the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, leaving you with a plumper, vibrant and youthful complexion.

By removing layers of dead skin cells, the skin becomes more absorbent, allowing other active ingredients to penetrate faster.

Due to its small molecular size, it may be irritating to some skin types. Therefore, always consult a dermatologist before adding this acid to your daily routine.

Suitable for people with skin types that are not too dry or prone to sensitivity.

Once you develop a tolerance to the acid, apply it to your skin twice daily.

It works effectively alone or in combination with supplementary ingredients like hyaluronic acid.

Learn more about glycolic acid in our dedicated blog post.

What is mandelic acid?

A little-known alpha hydroxy acid, but still used in professional peels and skin care formulas.

Extracted from bitter almonds and used medicinally and in over-the-counter recipes.

The molecular size of mandelic acid is very large compared to glycolic acid, making it one of the milder acids in the AHA family.

Due to its slower absorption, madeleine acid is suitable for all skin types, including those prone to sensitivity and redness.

However, it exfoliates the outer surface of the skin and ensures that other active ingredients are absorbed quickly.

Helps clear clogged pores and fight breakouts without causing too much stress on the skin.

Reduces hyperpigmentation, dark spots, post-acne scars and other areas of uneven skin tone.

Although mandelic acid is considered mild, skin tolerance is still recommended. So gradually introduce mandelic acid into your daily routine.

If you’d like to learn more about mandelic acid and its benefits for your skin, check out our The Beauty Insiders blog.

Now that we’ve got an update on these powerful acids, let’s learn about their uses and how they can benefit your complexion.

Can I use mandelic acid and glycolic acid together?

Yes, you can, but not at the same time. This is because both acids work in similar ways on the skin's surface, and the combination of these active ingredients produces the following effects.

  • itching
  • discomfort
  • redness
  • Peel off
  • swelling
  • pain when touched
  • increased sensitivity to ultraviolet radiation

To reap the benefits of using both acids, there are the following options, which many consider to be the most effective way to work on the skin.

Option 1 – Change the formula you use every day. This prevents over-irritation of the skin. Using them during your evening routine ensures they remain undisturbed and free radical-free while you sleep.

Option 2 – Make sure your skin has built up its acid tolerance and apply SPF 50 daily. You can choose to use one acid in the morning and another in the evening.

You can also combine these acids with moisturizing ingredients like hyaluronic acid and niacinamide to help your skin. Both help maintain moisture levels in the skin barrier, strengthening it and protecting it from free radical damage caused by UV rays, pollution, cigarette smoke, central heating and more. and other environmental invaders.

Is mandelic acid stronger than glycolic acid?

Both acids work in similar ways on the skin, but technically glycolic acid is considered the stronger of the two due to its smaller molecular size. This allows glycolic acid to work on every layer of the skin and the dermis, which mandelic acid cannot do. You will also find that mandelic acid is tolerated by more skin types than glycolic acid.

However, the percentage of acid also determines its strength. The easiest way to tell the strength of an active ingredient in a formula is to look at where the acid is in the ingredient list. If it appears in the top 5, you can be sure it is an active ingredient in the formula.

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