Mandelic Acid vs. Lactic Acid: What To Know

Mandelic Acid vs. Lactic Acid: What To Know

If you’re weighing your options for the best skincare acids, the choices can be overwhelming. Not only are there tons of skincare acids commonly available in popular skincare products, but many popular ingredients belong to the same category. For instance, Mandelic Acid and Lactic Acid are both Alpha Hydroxy Acids. 

Let’s break down what these individual ingredients are and how you can use them separately or together in your ideal skincare regimen.

What Is Mandelic Acid?

Skincare acids mainly fall into two categories: Beta Hydroxy Acids (BHAs) and Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs). They’re both chemical exfoliants, but they work in slightly different ways. 

A key difference is that BHAs are oil-soluble chemical exfoliants, whereas AHAs are water-soluble. This means that Beta Hydroxy Acids can penetrate the skin a bit more powerfully and are better suited to oily skin.

Mandelic Acid is an AHA derived from almond extracts. It has larger molecules, so it permeates your skin more slowly — making it much milder than most AHAs. 

If your skin has a high tolerance for skincare acids, you may need to combine Mandelic Acid with other acids to increase its effectiveness. But if you have sensitive skin and have struggled to use AHAs in the past, Mandelic Acid might be a good option for your reactive skin.

Mandelic Acid is helpful for a wide range of skin concerns. Because it works by gently polishing dead surface skin cells on your skin, it can help prevent breakouts and unclog pores. It can also help support a proper balance of sebum production and soothe the appearance of irritation and redness.

If you struggle with breakouts, you’ve probably heard of Salicylic Acid, a BHA commonly used to improve breakouts. It’s known to be much harsher on your skin than Mandelic Acid, so you may want to consider switching. In fact, studies have shown that Mandelic Acid can be just as effective.

In addition to helping with breakouts, Mandelic Acid can help smooth your skin and address pigmentation concerns such as dark spots.

Your body’s decreased ability to produce and store collagen as you age is one of the leading contributors to things like sagging skin, fine lines, and wrinkles. Basically, without the skin elasticity and firmness that collagen provides, your skin is more prone to premature aging. Mandelic Acid can support elastic, youthful-looking skin, making it crucial to an anti-aging skincare lineup.

Although Mandelic Acid is one of the more gentle skincare acids out there, it’s still a good idea to start slowly, and patch test your Mandelic Acid product before jumping into daily use. 

If your skin is sensitive to Mandelic Acid, a good moisturizing routine with Renew Pure Radiance Oil is a great alternative. It’s packed with Passion Fruit Oil and Papaya Seed Oils which help to dissolve excess impurities on the skin’s surface to provide a youthful-looking goal.Our Renew Pure Radiance Oil is a luxurious, cult-favorite face oil that addresses signs of aging while also imparting an off-the-charts youthful glow.

Renew Pure Radiance Oil is formulated with 14 seed oils, including Kiwi and Chia Seed Oils, which are more biocompatible than the nut oils commonly used in other face oil products. They’re also rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids, which help keep your skin hydrated, plump-looking, and youthful-looking. 

These ingredients — combined with the intoxicating scent of Vetiver, Rose, and Jasmine — are ideal for delivering the antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals you need to help support your skin barrier. All of this perfectly hydrates your skin and staves off potential dryness when you start working Alpha Hydroxy Acids into your routine.

If your skin needs a little extra love, we recommend layering this moisturizing oil on top of our Chebula Extreme Cream.

Our new Chebula Extreme Cream is an anti-aging moisturizer that 100% of subjects agreed made their skin look and feel smoother, softer, more glowy and deeply hydrated.

That’s because we make use of Chebula, one of the most potent cascading antioxidants that single-handedly fights five signs of aging.

Our formula also features an exclusive Hydra-Cocktail of protein rejuvenators, humectants, emollients, and breathable occlusives that locks moisture in and helps strengthen the skin barrier. And the best part? We use zero pore-clogging waxes, which is a top ingredient in practically every other moisturizer on the face of the planet.

If you’re sensitive to Mandelic Acid but are still looking for similar benefits, our Clear Repair Night Treatment features Black WIllow Bark — also known as nature’s Salicylic Acid without the drying effects.

What Is Lactic Acid?

Like Mandelic Acid, Lactic Acid is an AHA. In the grand scheme of Alpha Hydroxy Acids, it has a large molecular weight, but its molecules are smaller than that of Mandelic Acid — so it’s still very gentle on your skin!

Lactic Acid is useful in addressing complexion concerns like dark spots and breakouts and in fighting dullness as a whole. This makes Lactic Acid a great ingredient to work into your routine if you’re trying to reduce visible signs of aging.

What’s the best way to get Lactic Acid into your daily routine? Our Ginger Turmeric Cleansing Balm.

Ginger Turmeric Cleansing Balm is formulated with Lactic Acid and brightening Azelaic Acid to help gently exfoliate your skin. Meanwhile, makeup-melting Yucca Extract removes every last trace of makeup, sunscreen, and other impurities. Although it’s tough on even your most waterproof makeup, it’s still gentle on your skin.

That’s because, rather than being formulated with harsh surfactants like sulfates, potential irritants like fragrances, and synthetic ingredients like silicones, our Ginger Turmeric Cleansing Balm is chock full of ingredients that are natural-biocompatible, and there for a reason.

Turmeric and Ginger Root Oil help nourish and calm sensitive skin, while Cucumber Seed Oil helps defend and support your skin barrier with key nutrients. Oat and Argan Oils will help restore moisture so your skin can glow, while Mango and Avocado Butters help lock in moisture with their occlusive properties. 

The result? Skin that feels pillow-soft instead of dry and stripped of moisture.

Ginger Turmeric Cleansing Balm is a great way to use Lactic Acid because, unlike with AHA-enriched serums or solutions, it doesn’t sit on your skin. This way, you’re less likely to experience irritation.

Our Ginger Turmeric Cleansing Balm is a simple, skin barrier-friendly way to get brighter, clearer skin with the exfoliating power of Lactic Acid.

Which Is Right for Your Skin?

There are two main considerations when it comes to deciding which acid is best for your skin. The first is your individual skin type. Both Mandelic Acid and Lactic Acid are on the gentle end of the spectrum as far as AHAs go, so neither runs a huge risk when it comes to side effects.

However, if your skin is super sensitive, Mandelic Acid is slightly gentler, so it may be a better option. Lactic Acid is better for people who struggle with dry skin because it has hydrating benefits.

You can also start with Mandelic Acid if your skin is sensitive and transition into using Lactic Acid as tolerated if you’d prefer.

If you’re looking for a product that brings all of the benefits of AHAs to your skin quickly, easily, and effectively, our Resurfacing Moisture Mask is the way to go. In order to keep your skin looking youthful, smooth, and soft, it’s recommended to exfoliate dead surface skin cells at least 1-2 times per week.

While many other exfoliators have ingredients that can interfere with your skin barrier, our Resurfacing Moisture Mask is carefully formulated with consideration for your skin’s delicate ecosystem. In 5 minutes, you can slough away buildup so that your next skincare products can absorb more easily.

Our Resurfacing Moisture Mask uses Lactic Acid to gently exfoliate and resurface your skin instead of potentially abrasive physical scrubs that can disrupt your skin barrier. In addition to Lactic Acid’s hydrating benefits, this mask uses Avocado Butter to leave your skin hydrated and nourished with vitamins A, B1, B2, D, and E, and essential fatty acids to leave your skin looking vibrant, fresh, and smooth.

If your skin starts displaying signs of irritation like redness or dryness, we recommend soothing your skin with our Calm Pure Radiance Oil. 

Our Calm Pure Radiance Oil helps soothe irritated skin with the very finest of Calendula Oils sourced from a nutrient-dense regenerative farm. Calm Pure Radiance Oil also offers intense moisturization and helps skin fight signs of aging with nourishing ingredients like Jojoba Seed Oil. 

Other ingredients like cold-pressed Cucumber Seed Oil and fresh Ginger Root Oil flood the skin with the nutrients that a resilient skin barrier needs. Formulated with 27 plant actives, our Calm Pure Radiance Oil formula is specifically curated from the highest quality sources.

In Conclusion

Alpha Hydroxy Acids like Mandelic and Lactic Acid can help your skin in a wide variety of ways. But as helpful as they are, they can also be harsh on your skin.

As long as you use them in the right ways, you can avoid damaging your skin barrier and get the exfoliating boost your complexion needs to truly glow.


Comparative Study of Efficacy and Safety of 45% Mandelic Acid Versus 30% Salicylic Acid Peels in Mild-to-Moderate Acne Vulgaris | National Library of Medicine

Influence of Azelaic and Mandelic Acid Peels on Sebum Secretion in Aging Women | National Library of Medicine

Decreased Collagen Production in Chronologically Aged Skin | National Library of Medicine

Hydroxy Acids, the Most Widely Used Anti-aging Agents | PMC

Mandelic acid | C8H8O3 | PubChem

Epidermal and dermal effects of topical lactic acid | NCBI