7 Gentle Mandelic Acid Serums That’ll Leave Your Skin Brighter

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Best Mandelic Acid Serums

Removing dead skin cells, encouraging skin turnover, stimulating collagen production, and smoothing out the skin texture run in the family. The family of alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs), that is. And mandelic acid is on the rise for taking on the family business and bringing something to the table that others can’t. The best mandelic acid serums work slowly, but gently, to help you with acne, signs of aging, and uneven skin tone.

And there are certain benefits of mandelic acid serums that make them more appealing. Firstly, because of its molecular makeup, mandelic acid can’t be as fast-acting or deeply penetrating as the other chemical exfoliants.

So it has a very specific target audience: people with sensitive skin, or people who are new to exfoliating acids or AHAs. You can safely start exfoliating with a mandelic acid serum and collect the benefits without worrying about skin irritation, redness, or purging.

And secondly, because of the same reason, there’s not much room for surprises. For example, you can push your limits with a glycolic acid serum and try different concentrations -lower or higher. And it’ll directly affect how effective, or irritating it’ll be.

But with mandelic acid serums, there’s not much to experiment with. It’s gentle by nature. And the available concentration is usually between 5% and 10%.

So while you may get lost very easily while hunting down the right glycolic acid serum, a hunt for mandelic acid serum is much, much easier. No room for decision fatigue!

And lastly, a mandelic acid serum is like a gateway peel. You start with it, be done with it, and then you move on to stronger acids.

Before diving in though, I want to bring something up for fellow friends with sensitive skin. Now, I don’t usually mind fragrance in skincare. Most of the time, I get by without irritation. And to be honest, I like good-smelling skincare.

But I know fragrance is a whole thing for people with very sensitive skin. And I’m disappointed with some of these mandelic acid serums out there.

Why would you take something people with sensitive skin can especially benefit from and formulate it with the one thing they can’t tolerate? It just defeats the purpose. I think brands should do better and formulate with intention rather than blindly following a trend.

Anyways, remember that mandelic acid is still a chemical exfoliant. And you might want to start slow with it -just to be safe. Find below the best mandelic acid serums for gentle exfoliation.

Wishtrend Mandelic Acid 5% Skin Prep Water

Wishtrend Mandelic Acid 5% Skin Prep Water -  Best Mandelic Acid Serums

This Korean mandelic acid serum/toner/liquid -they seem to avoid labeling it- has a concentration of 5% for superficial exfoliation. The gentle formulation resurfaces the skin without disrupting the skin barrier or irritating the skin. Because it contains Centella Asiatica, a potent antioxidant with incredible soothing benefits.

And it has panthenol, vitamin B5, to hydrate and soothe the skin. Plus, it has licorice extract, which is super brightening for the skin. The multi-functional mandelic acid improves your skin’s texture, reduces fine lines and hyperpigmentation while keeping it calm, and hydrated.

The Ordinary Mandelic Acid 10% + HA

The Ordinary Mandelic Acid 10% + HA - Best Affordable Mandelic Acid Serums

This is one of the cheapest mandelic acid serums you can try. It’s minimal, potent, and effective. The concentration makes it more suitable for people with oily and acne-prone skin who could tolerate something stronger but still less irritating.

Plus, the oil-free formula makes it even better for congested skin with clogged pores and blackheads. The added hyaluronic acid minimizes potential dryness too.

Elemis Pro-Collagen Tri-Acid Peel

Elemis Pro-Collagen Tri-Acid Peel -  Best Mandelic Acid Serums

This is a rinse of mandelic acid treatment. So the application is in line with traditional peels: you apply it, wait a little bit, and then neutralize it with water. The serum contains mandelic acid as alpha-hydroxy acid. But it also contains a polyhydroxy acid (PHA), namely lactobionic acid. It also is a gentle exfoliant with major hydrating benefits.

The two acids slowly resurface the skin and reveal a smoother, brighter complexion. The third acid is Asiatic acid, a component of Centella Asiatica. So you have a nice antioxidant and anti-inflammatory action too, which is great for people with sensitive skin. The serum packs algae extracts to hydrate the skin too and it’s a great option if you’re not into leave-on peels.

Exuviance Radiance Serum

Exuviance Radiance Serum - Best Mandelic Acid Serums

This offers a similar AHA & PHA combo. But this one is easier on the AHA and heavier on the PHA. Besides mandelic acid, it contains lactobionic acid and gluconolactone. So the serum exfoliates but has a major focus on plumping the skin all thanks to PHAs’ humectant properties.

It reduces the look of fines lines as an immediate action. But the best thing about it is that it contains vitamins C, E, and A as an antioxidant blend to ward off free radicals, brighten the skin, and combat sun damage. This mandelic acid serum is a great anti-aging serum if you have mature, sensitive skin.

Neostrata Mandelic Mattifying Serum

Neostrata Mandelic Mattifying Serum - Best Mandelic Acid Serums For Acne

If you’re dealing with acne and acne scars but your skin is prone to irritation and dehydration too, this one is excellent. You can clear up your skin, gently exfoliate it, and fade the look of discolorations. Because the mandelic acid serum is formulated with gluconolactone.

While exfoliating is a must when you have congested skin, harsh exfoliators can easily make things worse. But this one doesn’t allow that. Plus, it’s fragrance-free to eliminate breakouts from irritation. And also, the formulation has a mattifying effect on the skin and it basically absorbs oil to reduce shine too.

Allies of Skin Mandelic Pigmentation Corrector Night Serum

Allies of Skin Mandelic Pigmentation Corrector Night Serum

This rich mandelic acid serum contains a potent blend of hydroxy acids to multi-task. It has lactic acid as well as salicylic acid to target the oily layers of the skin too. So it exfoliates to increase skin turnover but also targets acne. In addition, it has vegan retinol, bakuchiol, for major anti-aging benefits without irritation. And it has resveratrol, a potent antioxidant, to guard the skin against free radicals while improving the skin tone.

And to amplify the brightening effects, it also packs niacinamide. The night serum also contains soothing green tea, hydrating hyaluronic acid and panthenol, and signal peptides to aid with collagen production. Overall, it’s a great product with a focus on hyperpigmentation and dark spots if mainstream options are too irritating for you.

Vivant 8% Mandelic Acid 3-In-1 Serum

Vivant 8% Mandelic Acid 3-In-1 Serum

This is another multi-tasking mandelic acid serum for the skin that’s not ready for mainstream options. The serum combines mandelic acid with lactic acid to ensure gentle exfoliation. The latter is exceptionally helpful in increasing the skin’s moisture levels as lactic acid is also a humectant.

And to maximize that, the serum has sodium PCA, which is another humectant that plumps the skin. As sensitive skin is usually intolerant towards mainstream brighteners, the serum has niacinamide in it too. So you can exfoliate the skin without irritation and improve your skin texture and tone without having to deal with sensitivity.

Read Next: The Best Skincare Products For Hyperpigmentation

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