Instructions for Using Mandelic Acid

by Elizabeth Tehrani ; Updated September 28, 2017

Mandelic acid is derived from bitter almonds.

Thomas Northcut/Photodisc/Getty Images

Mandelic acid is a type of AHA, or alpha-hydroxy acid. It is derived from bitter almonds, and is in many respects similar to glycolic acid, a more commonly known AHA. AHAs work by loosening or dissolving dead and damaged skin cells to reveal fresher skin. Mandelic acid -- which also has antibiotic properties and has been used medically as a urinary antiseptic -- has recently gained favor, not only for its anti-aging effects, but also for the improvement of acneic and hyper-pigmented conditions. Used as a chemical peel, it can kill bacteria, purify pores, decrease hyper-pigmentation, and soften fine lines.

Items you will need

  • Facial cleanser
  • Facial moisturizer
Step 1

Cleanse your face thoroughly. Gently pat it dry. Do not rub, as this can increase irritation from the peel.

Step 2

Saturate a piece of gauze or large cotton swab with the mandelic acid solution. Apply evenly over your face. Leave the solution on your face for about five minutes.

Step 3

Rinse the mandelic acid solution from your face using plenty of water and, if necessary, facial cleanser.

Step 4

Dry face gently and apply moisturizer liberally.

Step 5

Repeat at least once and up to three times a week.


  • A rich moisturizer is best after a peel. Avoid creams that contain AHAs, as this will increase skin irritation. Vitamin E oil, argan oil, or shea butter are all gentle but rich moisturizers which may promote healing.


  • Before performing a chemical peel at home, always do a spot check twenty four hours beforehand. Following the peel instructions, apply the product to a hidden area, such as under your ear. If you have an adverse reaction, do not perform the peel.

    Those who are allergic to almonds should check with their doctor before using products with mandelic acid.

Photo Credits

  • Thomas Northcut/Photodisc/Getty Images