Is Mandelic Acid Vegan? What Is Mandelic Acid Made Of?

By Anett Rannamets. Published: July 2022.
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Mandelic acid is a skincare ingredient mostly used in exfoliating products. It is obtained from bitter almonds or made synthetically. Mandelic acid is made in an animal-friendly way. Therefore, it is always vegan.

Mandelic acid belongs to AHA acids and it is effective but gentle on the skin. Now let’s dive into it and see what properties this vegan active ingredient has.

What Is Mandelic Acid? What Is Mandelic Acid Made Of?

Mandelic acid is an alpha-hydroxy acid. It belongs to a group of chemical exfoliants. And it is a very popular active skincare ingredient.

Alpha-hydroxy acids aka AHAs are also called fruit acids. Therefore, they are mostly derived from fruit and vegetables. In addition to mandelic acid, AHAs also include glycolic acid, lactic acid, salicylic acid, and others.

For example, salicylic acid is actually derived from willow bark. So, as the name suggests, mandelic acid is made from bitter almonds.

Bitter almonds are not usually the ones we eat. In their raw form and in large quantities, bitter almonds are poisonous. The amount dangerous to human health starts already at five pieces.

Mandelic acid was first discovered in the 19th century by a German pharmacist. He heated an extract of bitter almonds with dilute hydrochloric acid. Nowadays, mandelic acid is also industrially obtained from benzaldehyde and hydrocyanic acid.

Mandelic acid is an aromatic acid that is soluble in water and many organic solvents. It is usually in the form of a white crystalline powder.

Why Is Mandelic Acid Used In Skincare?

Mandelic acid is used in skincare because it exfoliates gently. It leaves the skin elastic, firm, and smooth. The AHA also works well with pigment spots and acne.

Firstly, mandelic acid is considered to have an anti-aging feature. The AHA accelerates cell renewal and stimulates collagen production. This ensures that the skin stays elastic and firm.

Further, mandelic acid has an anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antibiotic effect. It dissolves oils, penetrates well into the pores, and cleans them. This is particularly beneficial for acne-prone and oily skin.

As mandelic acid helps to remove dead skin cells, it also balances the skin tone. As well as reduces hyperpigmentation and pimple marks.

Moreover, mandelic acid is considered to be very mild. It is more tolerable than other AHAs because its molecules are quite large. Therefore it passes through the skin slowly. This ensures less irritation and is an advantage for sensitive skin.

Mandelic acid is also well-tolerated in high doses (10%). Glycolic acid, for example, can sometimes cause redness and burns.

FAQ About Mandelic Acid

What is mandelic acid?

Mandelic acid is an alpha-hydroxy acid. It belongs to a group of chemical exfoliants. And it is a very popular active skincare ingredient. Mandelic acid is obtained from bitter almonds.

Is mandelic acid vegan?

Yes. Mandelic acid is vegan.


Mandelic acid is a chemical exfoliant and it lifts off dead skin cells and makes the skin more even. It also has antibacterial properties and fights acne and hyperpigmentation. Mandelic acid is a real power ingredient.

Mandelic acid is the most gentle of the other AHAs. Yet, it is still very effective. It is suitable for sensitive skin types as well as all others. However, we recommend consulting a dermatologist or making a patch test prior to using it.

Although mandelic acid is a vegan ingredient, it might be in a product with non-vegan components. That is why we recommend finding your favorite products from 100% vegan brands.

We have also put together a list of the best vegan skincare brands of 2022 to make your life easier.

Anett is a passionate journalist, writer, and magazine editor with almost 7 years of experience. Through engaging articles, she brings kinder and more environmentally-friendly choices closer to everybody.