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Posted by Vivant Skin Care

AHAs can help keep your skin looking young and beautiful.


Glycolic and mandelic acids are two members of the alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA) family. They work similarly but have slightly different benefits, strengths, and possible side effects. Knowing how each one works can help you advise your clients about which products might work best for their particular needs.

What AHAs Do For Skin

AHAs are a group of compounds found naturally in foods. When used on the skin, they remove the top layer of dead epidermal cells to reveal newer skin below. Exfoliating skin improves its appearance by removing material that clogs pores, and by making wrinkles appear less deep. Many AHAs also make underlying skin firmer and less fragile by developing more collagen. Some AHAs also have moisturizing effects. Glycolic acid comes from sugar cane, while mandelic acid is extracted from bitter almonds.

All About Glycolic Acid

When used on skin at the appropriate strength, glycolic acid can remove dead skin, giving the skin underneath a smoother, more polished look. Glycolic acid is used in commercial and at-home chemical peels to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and to treat acne. It can also lighten dark spots.

Glycolic acid can have some harsh effects on skin, especially at first. It's best to initiate use slowly, beginning with every other day and increasing over time. Redness and peeling may occur initially but should fade with regular use. For users with darker skin pigmentation, glycolic acid sometimes causes hyperpigmentation. Because of its greater harshness and intensity, glycolic acid is best for oily skin types. The use of a sunscreen is necessary when using AHA products.

Vivant Skin Care's Exfol-A contains glycolic acid and vitamin A to treat blemishes, wrinkles and dark spots.


Mandelic acid is safe for dark skin and can help reverse hyperpigmentation.


All About Mandelic Acid

Like glycolic acid, mandelic acid also exfoliates the top layer of dead skin, but can penetrate directly into pores to clear blackheads and other pore blockages. Mandelic acid is typically gentler than glycolic acid because it is a longer carbon chain and doesn't penetrate the skin as fast as shorter chain AHAs such as glycolic acid. The effects are similar to glycolic acid as far as skin smoothing and reducing acne, but may take longer.

Mandelic acid is also beneficial for fading acne scars and dark spots, as well as for treating hyperpigmentation in all skin colors and types. For those with dry and normal skin, mandelic acid may cause less irritation, although some irritation may still occur at first.

Mandelic acid also has antibacterial and antifungal effects on skin. As a cleanser, it can help control body odor as well as promote healthier skin. In studies, mandelic acid has been found to stimulate collagen production, which can make skin firmer and more elastic, make wrinkles less noticeable, and have anti-aging effects with continuous use.

Vivant Skin Care's 8% Mandelic Acid Serum is a good first step to an advanced skin care regimen and will diminish fine lines, age spots and blemishes. It also serves as a good hyperpigmentation treatment for all skin colors and types. Want to learn more about Vivant Skin Care's line of products? Browse our skin toning products to see how they can benefit your clients.