Wed. Feb 21st, 2024
Acne-Prone Skin? Experts Say Mandelic Acid Can Help

A general rule of thumb is to use an exfoliant two to three times a week,” Camp says. “You may want to use it less often if you have a history of
particularly sensitive skin.” He notes that overuse of exfoliators can cause redness, dryness, and irritation, so it’s best to start slow. Also, there’s the matter of sun protection. “Exfoliants can make skin more sun sensitive, so it is important to use an SPF moisturizer.”

Pavitt, on the other hand, operates on a philosophy of daily (but gentle) exfoliation. She recommends starting by using mandelic acid every other day and then amping it up to once per day. “This is the perfect acid for irritated, breakout-prone skin or even someone with super sensitivity,” she says. “The only thing I recommend is to isolate your actives within your routine. Don’t have four or five exfoliators in place with retinol, vitamin C, etc.; this is the only time I see people getting irritated when using mandelic acid (they’re using too many actives).”

To avoid going overboard, Pavitt recommends sticking to the essentials. “I recommend starting with a gentle non-active cleanser, followed by a mandelic clearing serum, a noncomedogenic moisturizer, and SPF if you’re using it in the daytime.” Oh, and if you’re not sure whether or not you’re using the right products, she has your back. “Use my pore-clogging ingredients checker at,” she says. “You can input a product’s ingredient list into this search engine and it will tell you if that product has any pore-clogging/comedogenic ingredients in it.” 

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