When you have combination skin, it can be difficult to find the perfect balance in your routine. You want to use products that can help manage oil production without drying out the rest of your face, which is a tall order indeed. According Marisa Garshick, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in New York, Mandelic Acid, an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA), is the perfect ingredient for treating combination skin.
AHAs are sugar-derived acids that break down the glue that holds dead skin cells to the surface of your skin. They provide chemical exfoliation, which tends to be gentler than the physical exfoliation you’d get from a scrub, and helps unclog pores and brighten your complexion. All skin types can benefit from using AHAs – on oily skin they can help you avoid breakouts, and on dry skin they make it easier for your moisturizers to penetrate deeper – but those who have dry skin may not be able to handle the same strong acids as someone with oily skin. So if you have combination skin, a mild AHA like mandelic acid is perfect to use all over.
“The nice thing about mandelic acid is that because it’s a larger molecule, it’s generally a bit easier to tolerate and less irritating than other alpha hydroxy acids, like glycolic acid. “, says Dr. Garshick. “It’s a great option for combination skin because it’s going to have benefits to help get rid of dead skin cells, help reduce breakouts, acne, hyperpigmentation and things like that, but without causing significant irritation.”
Mandelic acid is available in cleansers, serums, exfoliating pads, and more. While cleansers offer a way to rinse off the acid without too much contact (and therefore less irritation), serums and exfoliating pads offer a more intensive rinsing option. Shop nine Mandelic Acid skincare products below.
9 Mandelic Acid Skincare Products Perfect for Combination Skin
Glow Recipe Strawberry Smooth BHA+ AHA Salicylic Acid Serum – $40.00
This smoothing serum contains both mandelic acid and salicylic acid, a beta-hydroxy acid known for its pore-unclogging abilities. “It’s going to be great overall for blemishes, dark spots, fine lines, wrinkles,” says Dr. Garshick. “It will give you little of everything, but overall it will help smooth out the overall texture of the skin.”
Dr Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Ultra Gentle Daily Peel — $88.00
Dr. Dennis Gross’ Alpha Beta Peel Pads are known to be some of the best exfoliators on the market, but the original formula may admittedly be too intense for mild skin. With that in mind, he created a gentler version of the peel that uses mandelic acid as well as lactic acid, hyaluronic acid and witch hazel to help refine the tone and texture of your skin tone. .
Allies of Skin Multi-Hyaluronic Antioxidant Hydrating Serum — $95.00
Mandelic acid is the star of this night serum which also uses lactic acid, salicylic acid, peptides and bakuchiol. This powerful combination of actives reduces hyperpigmentation, breakouts, inflammation, fine lines and wrinkles while stimulating collagen production, strengthening the skin barrier and replenishing lost moisture.
PCA SKIN Pore Refining Treatment — $64.00
This “after-cleanse” treatment from PCA Skin, another of Dr. Garshick’s favorites, is designed to be applied and washed off right after washing your face. It blends mandelic acid with physically exfoliating rice powder and pumice stone, oil-loving clay and brightening papaya enzymes, plus a calming component of chamomile that will help you stave off breakouts. irritation of sensitive skin.
Elemis Pro-Collagen Tri-Acid Peel — $115.00
This leave-in peel blends actobionic, asiatic and mandelic acids to exfoliate the skin while promoting hydration. It combines these actives with fan-favorite Elemis seaweed (the hero ingredient in all of the brand’s products) to revitalize, firm and hydrate the skin.
Want to be the first to hear about the latest (and best) SHOP product releases, custom collections, discounts and more? Sign up to receive the news straight to your inbox.
Our editors independently select these products. Making a purchase through our links may earn Well+Good a commission.