The Ordinary Mandelic Acid – review


My adventure with mandelic acid began a few months ago when I set out to improve the appearance of melasma.

What is mandelic acid?

Mandelic acid is an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) extracted from bitter almonds, especially from the amygdala gathered from the kernels – so those with almond allergies, be careful!

It is similar to glycolic acid and lactic acid. It is a substance widely used as a precursor of various cosmetics, but also pharmaceuticals use it as an antibacterial agent for treating infections.

What does mandelic acid help with?

Mandelic acid dissolves the connection between the upper layer of skin cells to encourage the appearance of the newer layers of skin to be revealed. It has a high molecular weight (large size) and, therefore, cannot penetrate very easily or deeply into the skin, making it potentially the mildest AHA of all.

Mandelic acid can reduce acne and pigmentation, and it can reverse the process of losing elasticity and firmness associated with aging skin.

Who is mandelic acid suitable for?

I was talking about the high molecular weight of mandelic acid over glycolic and lactic acid.

The rule is: the higher the molecular weight of AHA acids, the softer their action.

According to this rule, mandelic acid is the mildest AHA acid, which makes it suitable for people with sensitive skin, people with rosacea, and to beginners in the secrets of exfoliating acids.

The benefits of using mandelic acid

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The Ordinary Mandelic Acid mainly acts by accelerating the rate of cell rotation and eliminating dead skin cells.
It has an antibacterial effect, which makes it adequate also for people with acne skin or those prone to acne. It reduces the traces of acne and pigmentation, which makes it the perfect exfoliating acid in the fight against melasma.

How to apply the mandelic acid?

Mandelic acid has advantages over other skin products, such as glycolic acid and lactic acid, for example, which are much more irritating and aggressive.

I apply it as the first step of the evening routine, 20 minutes after I have cleaned and rinsed on the completely dry face. Because it is an exfoliating product and my skin is sensitive, I use a tiny amount, 4 – 5 drops, which I slowly spread all over my face. Bypass the eye area, eyebrows (micro-blading tattoo), lips.

Can I use it every day?

The Ordinary Mandelic Acid is a gentle exfoliator, but you shouldn’t use it every night.

In my routine against melasma, I also use retinol. That is why on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, I apply mandelic acid, and on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday retinol. Sunday is hydration day.

During the day, SPF is a must. I apply SPF 50+ as the last step of the morning routine, then reapply periodically during the day until sunset.

How long do I leave mandelic acid on my skin?

I usually let it work for 10 – 20 minutes. Texture-wise The Ordinary Mandelic acid feels like water, it stretches very quickly, and you get the 3 – 4 drops for the whole face. In the first few minutes, it may seem a bit oily, but as time passes, this sensation disappears.

When do you see results after applying mandelic acid?

Because it is a mild exfoliating acid, the results are not as quick and visible as in the case of other AHA acids, more potent, but more irritating to the skin.

After 6 – 8 weeks, you start to see noticeable differences. The Deciem monkeys say that the maximum effect of this acid is seen after 12 weeks of use, so we must be patient!

Impressions after use


After 10 weeks of use, I noticed the following changes on my skin:

  • my skin is much brighter, lighter;
  • no acne, except one or two “dragons” during the menstrual cycle;
  • the appearance of the melasma is improved, but I think the whole routine is to blame, not just mandelic acid;
  • I have smoother skin. In the morning immediately following the application of mandelic acid I can say I have baby skin, that’s the feeling when touching it;
  • I did not have problems with dry or irritated skin due to the slightly moisturizing formula of this acid, which has in its composition hyaluronic acid.


I have no opinions against this product, only a few warnings.

  • Do not use during pregnancy and lactation!
  • Use SPF daily, regardless of the season!
  • Pay close attention to the amount of mandelic acid you use!

One evening, I accidentally applied more mandelic acid. In a few minutes, my face started stinging in the cheeks area. I looked in the mirror, and my skin was red, irritated. The next day the appearance of the cheeks improved, but I was afraid to apply the routine for melasma. I paused it for ten days and applied only hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, and moisturizer, plus SPF during the day.

So you better start with fewer drops, apply them, and if you still feel the need to supplement, do it carefully.

The use of each product is made progressively to be able to track skin reactions. Pay attention, especially to acids, because many people go through the purging period. In short, it irritates your skin, and it may seem like an acne rash.

You have two options. Either “power through” or take a break and focus only 2 – 3 weeks on the hydration. Then try to re-enter the product.

General impressions

I am satisfied with the effects of The Ordinary Mandelic Acid. I will keep it in my routine for the cold seasons. In the hot months (May – October), I do not apply acids on my skin.

Where can you buy The Ordinary mandelic acid online?

You can purchase The Ordinary range of products from Amazon, Beautybay, Asos, Ulta, LookFantastic, Sephora, Skinstore, and Deciem.

These were my thoughts after using The Ordinary mandelic acid.

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