Study on Mandelic Acid and pigmentation

Hello All,

There is a belief in the beauty community that mandelic acid is better at reducing pigmentation than glycolic. It would be great if it was true but I couldn’t find any scientific proof. All I found was some study on NCBI that compared a mix of mandelic and salicylic acid with glycolic for post acne pigmentation on patients with skin type IV and V (and some other stuff around its ability to control sebum) but nothing particularly persuasive on mandelic acid alone.

I would kindly ask to share relevant studies if any exists.

Thank you in advance


  • EVchemEVchem Member
    None that I could find! all I've heard to compare the two is that mandelic has higher MW  and so it penetrates slower than glycolic. My guess is it's just marketing pushing for people to use mandelic
  • Thank you @EVchem. That's what I understood as well. Apparently it's more lipophilic than glycolic which explains why it's mixed with salicylic and tested on acneic skin, but literally nothing on pigmentation (from reliable sources). 
  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
    I haven't seen any comparisons. In truth, I don't think either are particularly good especially at the low levels found in most cosmetics.

  • I formulate glycolic acid toner with lower pH than most commercial products (for my own use) and was considering whether I should replace it to mandelic, but after what you guys confirmed I see no reason. I assume that mandelic should be less irritating due to HMW but since my skin is fine with glycolic I won't bother.

    Thank you all!
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