Okay so puberty’s over and you’ve had your fair share of acne breakouts, great! But wait – you look in the mirror and the aftermath that is the acne scars on your face stares right back at you. Whether they’re dark spots, uneven texture or hyperpigmentation, none of them are marks that you would proudly want to tell a curious friend how you acquired them (“yes I tried to pick a pimple and no it did not go well”)…What you’d be more than happy to share with everyone around you though, is how you got rid of them, and trust me you can!

This is where mandelic acid comes in – and if you’ve been battling acne problems for years like myself, I’m sure you are no stranger to the many chemicals that target the different issues on the wide spectrum of skin concerns. While there are many acid-based skin products out there, for acne-prone skin you must steer clear of the harsher ones, as they will at best further irritate your skin and at worst cause damage to your skin cell barriers. Never trust anyone who tells you that the harsher the acid, the more effective the product!

Well then, what can I use? This is where your search ends! Highly overlooked due to its mildness, mandelic acid is in fact a very effective yet gentle chemical exfoliator to increase skin cell turnover while keeping sebum production at bay. A kind of AHA (alpha-hydroxy acid), mandelic acid is derived from bitter almonds and has larger molecular weight, meaning that it penetrates the skin slower than other AHAs. Enough of the science talk – all that translates to is the simple fact that mandelic acid is your best option if you want to clear your pores and reduce hyperpigmentation without irritating your sensitive skin.

Having gone through a breakout (or more), the last thing you’d want is to go through it all over again. I feel you! To keep your skin clean and clear of zits, mandelic acid is going to be your new holy grail. Start with a low concentration like this 5% + HA serum and let the results speak for itself – you’ll be surprised how much our gentle little friend can do (the HA is there to prevent drying your skin out). Just remember that mandelic acid has photosensitive properties and UV rays are youthful skin’s worst enemy, so don’t forget to apply sunscreen before you head out – your future self will thank you!

By Rachel Or