Got skincare concerns? There's likely a direct acid for it. Hyaluronic is great for moisturizing, salicylic helps reduce pesky blemishes, and mandelic is known for its abilities as a gentler exfoliant. The complete dermatologic benefits of mandelic are still being studied, but its inclusion in a Youth to the People exfoliant has earned rave reviews from sensitive skin users, including one that dubbed it "the best toner."
As for why those with even the pickiest of skin can tolerate mandelic acid, Vanessa Coppola, nurse practitioner and aesthetic specialist, says that it comes down to molecular size. "It is much larger than its AHA counterparts allowing for a slower, more uniform absorption, making it very effective for sensitive skin and a gentler option when it comes to patients at risk for post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation," she explained.
The acid is the lead ingredient in Youth to the People's top-rated exfoliant and is included alongside a salicylic acid and a superfood trio of good-for-you skin greens like kale and licorice root. The toner was specifically made to address pore sizes, uneven skin texture, and support skin health.
To buy: $38; youthtothepeople.com.
Multiple reviewers confirmed the exfoliant did not wreak havoc on their sensitive skin. "I'm impressed with how gentle it is for an exfoliant. I have super sensitive, dry skin so I don't use exfoliants normally, but this is gentle enough to use every day after I wash my face and before applying moisturizer," a person wrote.
Intended to be applied daily on the face, cheeks, and neck, Youth to the People's Mandelic Acid + Superfood Unity Exfoliant has helped reviewers with breakouts, pore size, and clear skin. "After a few weeks of using this product daily, I have seen improvements in my skin. My pores (especially on my nose) appear smaller and less congested, the texture of my skin feels smoother and looks more even, and any acne I have gotten has disappeared faster than I would usually expect," another customer shared.
One reviewer reported that friends noticed an improvement in their skin after using the product, saying, "I am so pleased with the results. The pores on my nose appear a lot smaller, thanks to the salicylic acid, and my overall complexion is brighter and healthier."
Coppola said that when using mandelic acid, you should expect to see results in about four weeks. "Mandelic acid works to break down the bonds between cells, increasing cellular turnover, revealing brighter smoother skin. In addition, mandelic acid is known for its anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, making it a wonderful choice for treating actinic skin," she said.
Mandelic acid is generally well tolerated by many, but Youth to the People still suggests new users start with applying the exfoliant only once or twice a week. Coppola suggested doing a patch test and noted that you should discontinue use if you notice any redness, peeling, or itching.
If you're ready to try this "awesome gentle exfoliant" for yourself, pick up a bottle from Youth to the People.