Mandelic Acid Uses

Mandelic acid is an aromatic alpha hydroxy acid from Prunus dulcis var. amara, or bitter almond with the molecular formula C6H5CH(OH)CO2H. It is a white crystalline solid that is soluble in water and polar organic solvents. Since the molecule is chiral, it exists in either of two enantiomers as well as the racemic mixture, known as paramandelic acid.

It has been used as a urinary disinfectant for those with chronic urinary tract infections. It is also used dermatologically to repair skin damage from prolonged sun exposure and as an acne treatment. Low doses of mandelic acid are included in some formulations of skin care products and available without a prescription. Medical supervision is required for higher concentrations. Side effects are usually mild, but depend on the concentration used in treatment.

For Sensitive Skins
Mandelic acid is recommended for sensitive skins and darker skins that do not tolerate other alpha-hydroxyacids with a smaller molecule, which may penetrate deeper inside the skin and irritate sensitive skins. The mandelac product line can help people with sensitive skin and blemishes, pigmentation, ageing skin. Some patients in clinical trials showed an up to 50% reduction in the pigmentation of melasma using a 10% mandelic acid lotion for four weeks.

For Urinary Tract Infections
When used as a treatment for urinary tract infections, mandelic acid is combined with methenamine and marketed as mandelamine. This medication is activated in the urine and turns it from a growth-producing medium to a growth-inhibiting medium by making the urine more acidic. It is the formaldehyde created from the acidic urine that actually kills the virus or bacteria. Users may experience gastrointestinal side effects, skin rash, or, rarely, blood in the urine. According to its manufacturer, mandelamine is safe for long-term usage.

Other Medical Uses
The antibiotic properties of this acid, its ability to speed up skin exfoliation, and slow the production of sebum, make this AHA useful treatment for acne. This may be the treatment of choice for adults who want to treat skin blemishes and reduce the appearance of fine lines. This AHA has been used to reduce acne scars as well. (R)-(-)-Mandelic acid(C8H8O3, CAS No. 611-71-2) is one of the three types of this acid.

Some cosmetic companies include mandelic acid in their skin care products. The products have low doses of the AHA, ranging from 10 to 20%. Cleansers, lotions, skin toners, and sunscreen products may be purchased individually or in kits. These products are primarily for people with mild skin problems.