Acids for skincare - Mandelic Acid vs Azelaic Acid

Skincare and beauty products are an instant way to refresh your skin if it's feeling dull and weighed down. They work by gently disposing of the topmost layer of your skin to reveal a clear, even-toned complexion underneath it. And what makes this magic happen? The fruit or chemical-based acids that are used in the skincare products.

In the previous article, we explained to you the differences between two commonly used acids in skincare namely Glycolic Acid and Hyaluronic Acid. Seems like acids are the best ingredient that you find in beauty products these days.

So today again, we are here to bring into light the differences between two acids, namely mandelic acid and azelaic acid. Keep reading to learn more about these acids, and how you can use them to benefit hour skin.

What is Mandelic acid?

Mandelic acid is derived from bitter almonds. It's an AHA that's been mostly studied for use with acne. AHAs (alpha-hydroxy acids) are natural and synthetic ingredients that provide skincare benefits ranging from exfoliation to increasing hydration and firmness.
It is gentler and milder as compared to some of the other AHAs like glycolic acid and lactic acid.

It's a powerful ingredient that can help to supercharge your skincare routine when it needs a boost. Like other AHAs, it works by exfoliating the layers of dead skin away by breaking the bonds between cells to reveal brighter, clearer skin as well as help to clear pores and create a more even tone.

Benefits of Mandelic Acid

There has been a lot of research on Mandelic acid. It is one of those beneficial ingredients that are gentle on the skin and may help with acne, hyperpigmentation, skin texture, etc. Some of its primary characteristics and benefits are discussed below.

Gentle on the skin

As told earlier, this acid is gentler on the skin as compared to other AHAs. This makes it an ideal choice for those with sensitive skin.
Mandelic acid is one of the largest AHAs. As a result, it penetrates the skin at a slower rate, which makes it less irritating.

Treats Hyperpigmentation

It treats hyperpigmentation: Combining the rejuvenation and brightening properties, the acid works to fade pigmentation marks, sunspots, and other kinds of discoloration on the skin.

Promotes collagen production

Mandelic acid produces collagen which helps to improves skin appearance. It is the main protein found in skin and connective tissue.

Results from using mandelic acid vary from person to person, but some people anecdotally notice a difference in their complexion and appearance after a couple of weeks.

Wrinkles and fine lines

Mandelic acid helps in stimulating collagen production, which tends to decrease with age. This minimizes the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines, resulting in a more vibrant, youthful appearance.

Using skincare products containing mandelic acid help regulates sebum production, unclog pores, and reduce inflammation. This can result in fewer acne breakouts.

Side effects of Mandelic Acid

Whenever you are using any skincare product, there is always a risk of side effects. Generally, there isn't any problem while using mandelic acid. But every skin type is different and you never know which product may harm you. So, you should stop using this AHA if you experience any type of irritation, including:
redness,swelling, and itching.

In case, skin irritation develops after a few days of using mandelic acid, this might be due to overuse. In this case, you should reduce the usage and then see how it works.

What is Azelaic Acid?

Azelaic acid is an organic acid that can be derived from wheat, rye, and barley. Although the type of azelaic acid that is used in skincare products tends to be lab-engineered.
It works on the skin as a gentle leave-on exfoliant which helps unclog pores and refine the skin's surface. Azelaic acid also significantly lessens factors in the skin that lead to sensitivity. It delivers antioxidant benefits.

Benefits of Azelaic Acid


Azelaic acid is an extremely effective acne treatment and can be used to treat mild, hormonal, and cystic acne. Azelaic acid products help to reduce the swelling and inflammation of the skin due to acne and also work in a preventative manner by unblocking pores & glands and killing bacteria.


Just like mandelic acid, this is also used to treat hyperpigmentation
This is because azelaic acid inhibits the enzyme tyrosinase, which is needed for the production of melanin. By affecting melanin production, azelaic acid can lighten the skin and reduce the appearance of hyperpigmentation.


Although not a primary use, azelaic acid may help smooth out wrinkles, particularly if they are due to rosacea even though there is currently no evidence to suggest that azelaic acid products have anti-wrinkle properties.

Side effects of Azelaic Acid

Normally, Azelaic acid is useful to treat skin conditions without any harsh side effects. However, here are some possible side effects that may occur if you use this treatment:
Numbness, tingling, burning, or stinging sensations on the skin, Itching, dry skin, redness, rash or contact dermatitis.

Most side effects are mild and harmless, and will occur upon application if they occur at all; these should subside as your body adjusts to the medication throughout your treatment.

If any minor side effects persist, you should contact your dermatologist for guidance.

Final Thoughts

Even though both mandelic acid and Azelaic acid are considered gentle on sensitive skin, you should talk to a dermatologist before starting any new face treatment.

A dermatologist can guide you — based on your individual needs — on how to properly incorporate mandelic acid into your skincare regimen, and what products to use.

As it is said that,
"If there's one sure way to revitalize your complexion, it's via applying a dermatologist-approved acid as part of your beauty regime".

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