The Regimen

Mandelic Acid and Retinol Together? Most Definitely

Mandelic acid and retinol are two superstar ingredients and the mainstay of the Vivant line. Each has impressive benefits for improving skin texture and tone, reducing signs of aging, and clearing acne. 



Because mandelic acid and retinoid have some similar benefits, people are sometimes confused about which is best for their regimen. Depending on your skin goals, the answer may be both.

Together, mandelic acid and retinoid have some complimentary benefits that make them a power couple.

Retinoid is the gold standard for treating acne and signs of aging. It’s a potent regenerative agent that accelerates cell turnover and renewal and kickstarts collagen production to reduce fine lines and wrinkles, peel out acne impactions. In speeding cell renewal, it pulls excess pigment to the surface to be sloughed away, which helps to fade discoloration.

Mandelic Acid is an alpha hydroxy acid that’s derived from bitter almonds. It also has antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory, and micro-exfoliating properties. And because it acts to inhibit tyrosinase, the enzyme that stimulates melanin production, it’s also a natural brightener. Because it has a larger molecular structure than other AHAs, mandelic acid absorbs into the skin more slowly, making it less irritating than other AHAs and more gentle than vitamin A. 

Both retinoid and mandelic acid are used to treat acne, hyperpigmentation, and photo-aging. Both have micro-exfoliating effects. Both encourage cell renewal, though retinoid does so more aggressively. Both promote even tone by pulling existing pigment to the surface for desquamation. Mandelic acid, however, has the added advantage of blocking new pigment production. Both are acne fighters, but only one is antibacterial: mandelic acid.


Recommended Serums for Skin New to Advanced Actives:

You may have heard that you shouldn’t mix acids and retinol. The truth is, acids and retinol are made for each other. The keratolytic effect of the acid enhances the penetration of the retinoid to optimize results. And because of mandelic acid’s unique properties, it’s an especially good match for retinoid. Mandelic acid brings an antibacterial action to enhance acne treatment and melanin-inhibiting properties for improving the treatment of hyperpigmentation.

This synergy between the two makes the mandelic acid and retinoid combo highly effective in any regimen for eliminating acne, reducing scarring, promoting a more even tone, reducing signs of aging, and regenerating youthful texture. The two can be used together to speed results.


How to Use Mandelic Acid and Retinoid in the Same Regimen

You can use the mandelic acid serum and retinoid in the same application if you are trying to accelerate results and have resistant skin. However, for less resistant skin, it can be too much of a good thing. For most people, the optimum usage is mandelic acid in the morning and retinoid serum at night. If using them together, allow the retinoid to dry before adding the mandelic acid serum. 

If you are new to either mandelic acid or retinoid, start at the lowest level (8% Mandelic Acid 3-In-1 Serum and Derm-A-Gel Daily Vitamin A) to allow your skin to acclimate. Work your way up until you’ve reached your skin goals and want to maintain your results.


You can add a mandelic acid cleanser and mandelic acid toner to the regimen as well.

Related Articles

Mandelic Acid: The Complete Dermatologist’s Guide

What Makes Vivant’s Retinol Different from All the Others?

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