Can I use glycolic and mandelic acids?

Can I use glycolic and mandelic acids?

When it comes to incorporating chemical peels, I explain that it can often feel overwhelming, like a mad scientist. The problem is, if you're still trying to figure out what each acid does and the unique benefits they provide,

there's a good chance you're applying them to your skin by mistake. No matter how gentle or low-concentration some of these skin care formulas are, you're still dealing with acids, and making sure you focus on protecting your

skin from excessive sun exposure and other environmental aggressors is an important part of keeping your skin healthy and happy.

Now let's turn our attention to today's blog post: Can Glycolic Acid and Mandelic Acid Be Used Together? It's a question that comes up a lot lately, so we thought it was time to dig a little further and find out if these

exfoliating powerhouse combos are the secret combo your skin has been waiting for? Or a source of disaster!

The next section is for those who need to review the ingredients. If you want to skip the sharing part, that's fine with us. We promise there will be no quizzes at the end.

What is glycolic acid?

Derived from sugar cane, it's found in a range of skincare formulations, including exfoliating toners, serums and moisturizers.

Belongs to the Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA) family and is the most commonly used acid in this family.

Has small molecules that allow it to penetrate into the lower layers of the skin.

Works deep into pores to remove excess sebum buildup, dirt, bacteria, debris and impurities.

It removes the top layer of dead skin cells, preventing the formation of blackheads, acne and other skin imperfections.

May help fight the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles for a plumped, revitalized and youthful complexion.

By removing the layer of dead skin cells, the skin becomes more absorbent, allowing other active ingredients to penetrate more quickly.

Due to its small molecular size, it may irritate certain skin types. So, be sure to consult a dermatologist before incorporating this acid into your routine.

Suitable for those with skin types that are not too dry or prone to sensitivity.

Once you have developed a tolerance to the acid, it can be applied to the skin twice a day.

Works effectively alone or in combination with supplementing ingredients like Hyaluronic Acid.

Learn more about glycolic acid in our dedicated blog post.

What is Mandelic Acid?

A lesser known alpha hydroxy acid, but still used in professional exfoliation and skin care formulations.

It is derived from bitter almonds and is used in medicinal and over-the-counter preparations.

Compared to glycolic acid, mandelic acid has a very large molecular size, making it one of the milder acids in the AHA family.

Due to its slow absorption rate, madeleine is suitable for all skin types, including those prone to sensitivity and redness.

However, it exfoliates the outer surface of the skin and ensures that other active ingredients can be absorbed quickly.

Helps unclog pores and fight breakouts without weighing down skin too much.

Reduces hyperpigmentation, dark spots, post-acne scars and other areas of uneven skin tone.

While mandelic acid is considered mild, skin tolerance is still recommended. So gradually introduce mandelic acid into your daily routine.

If you want to learn more about mandelic acid and its benefits for your skin, check out our blog on The Beauty Insiders.

Now that we've got the latest on these powerful acids, let's take a closer look at how to use them together and how they can benefit your complexion.

Can I take mandelic acid and glycolic acid at the same time?

Yes, you can, but not both. This is because the two acids work in similar ways on the surface of the skin, and the combination of these active ingredients produces the following effects.


slight pain


peeling off


pain when touched

increased sensitivity to ultraviolet radiation
To reap the benefits of using these two acids, there are the following options, which many believe are the most effective ways to work on the skin. Option 1 - Change the formula you use every day. This avoids over-irritating the skin. Using them in your evening routine ensures that they remain undisturbed and free from free radicals during sleep. Option 2 - Make sure you've developed your skin's tolerance to acids and apply SPF 50 daily. You can choose to use one acid in the morning and another acid in the evening. You can also combine these acids with moisturizing ingredients like hyaluronic acid and niacinamide to help your skin. Both help maintain moisture levels in the skin barrier, strengthening and protecting it from free radical damage such as UV rays, pollution, cigarette smoke, central heating and other environmental aggressors. Is Mandelic Acid Stronger Than Glycolic Acid? Both acids work in similar ways on the skin, but technically, glycolic acid is considered the more potent of the two due to its smaller molecular size. This causes glycolic acid to work on every layer of the skin and the dermis in a way that mandelic acid cannot. You'll also find that mandelic acid is tolerated by more skin types than glycolic acid. However, the percentage of acid also determines its strength. The easiest way to judge the strength of an active ingredient in a formula is to look at where the acid is on the ingredients list. Make it into the top 5 and make sure it's an active part of the recipe. There, you'll learn more about using both mandelic and glycolic acids. If you have any other questions, please reach out to us on Instagram.

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