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Effets de l'acide mandélique sur les signes de l'âge.

Mandelic Acid Benefits for Skin Aging.

There are many skincare products that claim to fight the signs of aging. Those that contain mandelic acid are among them. While the idea may sound a little scary, chemical peels can actually improve the appearance of wrinkles and sagging skin. But what exactly does a mandelic acid treatment do? 

Mandelic Acid Benefits for the Signs of Skin Aging.

It promotes the production of new collagen and elastin.

It stimulates sebum secretion.

It reduces the appearance of wrinkles.

It improves the elasticity of the skin.

Facial Skin Aging: The Different Signs and Clinical Symptoms.

Inevitably, aging affects the entire body and the skin is the most exposed to the effects of time. Overall, skin aging results in a deterioration of all the components of the skin. The mature epidermis presents many characteristics, which can be amplified by age and environmental factors.

  • Loss of radiance: Mature skin gives the impression of a blurred complexion, which is explained by an accumulation of old cells on the skin's surface. As it ages, cell turnover becomes slower. In addition, with age, the epidermis receives fewer nutrients and oxygen, due to a slowing of blood flow.

  • Loss of elasticity, skin sagging: With age, the skin loses its ability to regain its initial shape when pinched or stretched, and becomes “flaccid” with visible sagging. This property is made possible by elastin, a protein present in the dermis, which contributes to the skin's suppleness. However, with time, the quantity of elastin progressively decreases to the point where mature skin contains five times less elastin than “young” skin.

  • Loss of volume: Cheekbones, eye contour… certain areas of the face are subject to a loss of density, seeing the skin sag. The loss of dermal water with a decrease in the natural content of hyaluronic acid, muscle atrophy, melting of subcutaneous fatty tissue and loss of bone density are at the origin of this loss of rebound. It is aggravated by an alteration in the structure of the dermis, which is essentially composed of collagen and elastin.

  • Wrinkles: Especially around the eyes and the corners of the lips, furrows appear and settle on the face. Some of these wrinkles are static, others are dynamic. Various mechanisms underlie their appearance: weakening and oxidation of collagen structures, excessive contraction of facial muscles, repeated exposure to the sun, etc.

  • Age spots: More visible and more numerous, this frequent form of hyperpigmentation occurs most often in people over 40. They are caused by the frequent oxidation of skin cells, which aggravates skin aging. Excessive and repeated exposure to oxidants such as the sun can induce an excess of melanin.

To improve the quality of the skin so that it is denser and more elastic, several solutions exist including chemical (mandelic acid) peels. Their purpose? They help to delay the effects of skin aging, since they can promote the proliferation and metabolic activity of cells, thus restarting the production of collagen and elastin fibers, thanks to the exfoliating action they cause. As a bonus, wrinkles are smoothed out, sun spots are faded and the complexion is brightened.

What Is Mandelic Acid?

Mandelic acid does everything that other alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) do, and more. What sets it apart from other fruit acids? It's antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and gentle to boot. In fact, most publications report mandelic acid benefits in treating acne and hyperpigmentation, without the risk of redness or irritation. In its natural state, mandelic acid is derived from the bitter almond, the non-edible fruit of the wild almond tree.

Mandelic acid has a larger molecular structure than other popular AHAs: nearly twice that of glycolic acid. This heavier weight means that it is absorbed into the skin more slowly and does not penetrate as deeply into the epidermis when applied. This makes it gentler and people with sensitive or acne-prone skin have fewer problems with mandelic acid than with other AHAs.

This active ingredient has been shown to exfoliate the skin. The effects observed depend on the concentration of mandelic acid in the treatment. It is generally used in skincare products at a concentration of 10% or less. On the other hand, doctors can prescribe or apply, within the framework of a chemical mandelic acid peel under dermatological control for example, products with a higher concentration (> 10%), giving more “spectacular” effects.

Can Mandelic Acid Increase Skin Elasticity?

In a study, CULBERTSON E. & Al. evaluated the effects of a mandelic acid treatment on the improvement of the quality of mature skin, characterized by its extensibility property. This four-week single-center clinical study was conducted on 24 patients aged 42 to 68 years with sagging skin and fine lines on the eyelids. They were instructed to apply on one side of the face a mandelic acid treatment twice a day, i.e., a serum with 6% mandelic acid during the day and a night cream with 4% mandelic acid in the evening. The viscoelastic properties of the skin of the lower eyelids were evaluated using a Cutometer, a tool designed to evaluate the effectiveness of a treatment by measuring the biomechanical properties (viscoelasticity) of the upper layers of the epidermis.

The researchers found that the viscoelasticity of the skin under the eyes can be significantly improved by using mandelic acid twice a day for 4 weeks of application. Similarly, an increase in skin firmness is also observed. Subjectively, an improvement in the appearance of fine lines at the outer corner of the eyes was also demonstrated after four weeks of topical application. Although not directly tested with the Cutometer, improvements on other treated areas of the face and neck were reportedly seen. The result? Firmer, more elastic and less wrinkled skin in the orbital area. The researchers suggest that this is due to the ability of mandelic acid to stimulate dermal fibroblasts to produce more collagen, elastin, and glycosaminoglycans in the papillary dermis by an indirect and as yet unknown mechanism.

What downsides are there to the conducted study?

Although the effects on skin elasticity were proven, firmness did not show such a significant difference. The small number of volunteers is also a point we should pay attention to. The testing should also be considered on other parts of the face prone to skin laxity. Finally, it would also be necessary to evaluate how long the effect is maintained over time.

Can Mandelic Acid Erase Wrinkles?

Mandelic acid benefits the reduction of wrinkles and fine lines. By accelerating the natural desquamation of the damaged outer layers of the epidermis, it also accelerates skin regeneration. This thinning of the stratum corneum not only improves the skin's texture and radiance, but also reduces the appearance of fine lines in a progressive, continuous and repeated manner. In addition, mandelic acid's ability to stimulate the production of elastin and collagen according to one study. It also stimulates or balances sebum production, which helps to keep the skin hydrated when it is dry or damaged. This improvement in fine lines and wrinkles can be seen in patients with Fitzpatrick I to VI skin typologies, without the risk of post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, erythema and any of the other epidermal side effects that accompany glycolic acid skin treatments.


  • TAYLOR M. B. Summary of mandelic acid for the improvement of skin conditions. Cosmetic Dermatology (1999).

  • ROTSZTEJN H. & al. Influence of azelaic and mandelic acid peels on sebum secretion in ageing women. Advances in Dermatology and Allergology (2013).

  • CULBERTSON E. J. & al. Effects of topical mandelic acid treatment on facial skin viscoelasticity. Rapid Communication (2018).


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