Instructions for Using Mandelic Acid

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.

Jupiterimages/Pixland/Getty Images

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

Siri Stafford/Photodisc/Getty Images

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.

Digital Vision/Digital Vision/Getty Images

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

Jupiterimages/Goodshoot/Getty Images

Dry face gently and apply moisturizer liberally.

Comstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images

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