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mandelic acid

Allergen, Not An Allergen, Skin

MANDELIC ACID: Allergen or Not An Allergen?Featured

MANDELIC ACID: Allergen or Not An Allergen?

Not An Allergen.

Mandelic Acid

Not only is this multi-beneficial alpha-hydroxy acid not a published allergen, it is the least irritating of all the AHAs, which is part of what makes it really special.
Mandelic acid’s molecular size is larger that other AHAs, meaning it penetrates the skin less, which is something you want for hypoallergenicity — as a general rule, the smaller the molecule, the deeper the penetration into the skin, the higher the risk of an allergic or irritant reaction. The neat trick is that this larger molecular size does not lessen mandelic acid’s efficacy. For many actives, a tiny molecular size means they can penetrate the skin more readily, but they do so unevenly, increasing the risk of irritation. Mandelic acid remains highly effective even if it penetrates the skin less…making it close to ideal as an active ingredient for sensitive skins.
Mandelic acid is derived from bitter almonds. If you are allergic to almonds as a food, you might still be able to use mandelic acid in your skincare — food and skin allergies do not always correlate. Make sure you work closely with your allergist (prick test) and your dermatologist (patch test) to make sure.

If you have a history of sensitive skin, don’t guess: random trial and error can cause more damage. Ask your dermatologist about a patch test.

For more:

On the prevalence of skin allergies, see Skin Allergies Are More Common Than Ever and One In Four Is Allergic to Common Skin Care And Cosmetic Ingredients.

To learn more about the VH-Rating System and hypoallergenicity, click here.

References: 

Regularly published reports on the most common allergens by the North American Contact Dermatitis Group and European Surveillance System on Contact Allergies (based on over 28,000 patch test results, combined), plus other studies. Remember, we are all individuals — just because an ingredient is not on the most common allergen lists does not mean you cannot be sensitive to it, or that it will not become an allergen. These references, being based on so many patch test results, are a good basis but it is always best to get a patch test yourself.

1. Warshaw, E.M., Maibach, H.I., Taylor, J.S., et al. North American contact dermatitis group patch test results: 2011-2012. Dermatitis. 2015; 26: 49-59
2. W Uter et al. The European Baseline Series in 10 European Countries, 2005/2006–Results of the European Surveillance System on Contact Allergies (ESSCA). Contact Dermatitis 61 (1), 31-38.7 2009
3. Wetter, DA et al. Results of patch testing to personal care product allergens in a standard series and a supplemental cosmetic series: An analysis of 945 patients from the Mayo Clinic Contact Dermatitis Group, 2000-2007. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2010 Nov;63(5):789-98.
4. Verallo-Rowell VM. The validated hypoallergenic cosmetics rating system: its 30-year evolution and effect on the prevalence of cosmetic reactions. Dermatitis 2011 Apr; 22(2):80-97
5. Ruby Pawankar et al. World Health Organization. White Book on Allergy 2011-2012 Executive Summary.
6. Misery L et al. Sensitive skin in the American population: prevalence, clinical data, and role of the dermatologist. Int J Dermatol. 2011 Aug;50(8):961-7.
7. Warshaw EM1, Maibach HI, Taylor JS, Sasseville D, DeKoven JG, Zirwas MJ, Fransway AF, Mathias CG, Zug KA, DeLeo VA, Fowler JF Jr, Marks JG, Pratt MD, Storrs FJ, Belsito DV. North American contact dermatitis group patch test results: 2011-2012.Dermatitis. 2015 Jan-Feb;26(1):49-59.
8. Warshaw, E et al. Allergic patch test reactions associated with cosmetics: Retrospective analysis of cross-sectional data from the North American Contact Dermatitis Group, 2001-2004. J AmAcadDermatol 2009;60:23-38. 
9. Foliaki S et al. Antibiotic use in infancy and symptoms of asthma, rhinoconjunctivitis, and eczema in children 6 and 7 years old: International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood Phase III. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2009 Nov;124(5):982-9.
10. Kei EF et al. Role of the gut microbiota in defining human health. Expert Rev Anti Infect Ther. 2010 Apr; 8(4): 435–454.
11. Thavagnanam S et al. A meta-analysis of the association between Caesarean section and childhood asthma. Clin Exp Allergy. 2008;38(4):629–633.

12. Marks JG, Belsito DV, DeLeo VA, et al. North American Contact Dermatitis Group patch-test results, 1998 to 2000. Am J Contact Dermat. 2003;14(2):59-62.
13. Warshaw EM, Belsito DV, Taylor JS, et al. North American Contact Dermatitis Group patch test results: 2009 to 2010. Dermatitis. 2013;24(2):50-99.

Healthy Living, Skin

Al-mond, Dieu! This Superfood Makes For Super SKIN, tooFeatured

Almond As Superfood

Studies show that eating almonds decreases your risk of heart disease, helps you feel full faster, and helps with weight loss and diabetes prevention. Other studies suggest benefits for arthritis, cancer and Alzheimer’s. Packed with antioxidants, eating them is great for your skin, too.

What About On Skin?

Don’t go rubbing almonds on yourself. Do check out mandelic acid, an alpha-hydroxy acid derived from almonds.

What’s So Great About Mandelic Acid?

Like the almond, from which it is derived, mandelic acid is a powerful health multi-tasker, addressing:

  • Photo-aging (wrinkles, loss of elasticity),
  • Acne, and
  • Dark spots.

It’s also far less irritating than many other effective actives out there.
Mandelic acid (present in VMV Hypoallergenics Superskin Toners) has a larger molecular size which makes it penetrate the skin less…but more evenly, performing excellently as a keratolytic.

On AHAs and Irritation

But isn’t the holy grail of efficacy how well an active penetrates the skin? Like lots of things skin, it’s more complicated than simply: penetrating deeper is good, more superficially is bad.
Alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) mostly work by keratolytic action or “pKa”…basically microscropic peeling — forcing old, dead cells to the surface and encouraging bright, healthier, newer cells to the surface. This process is highly effective but is generally irritating, which is why relatively few cosmetics use actives in effective concentrations or in unbuffered (undiluted) form.
If an effective active is highly irritating, it becomes difficult to use and could cause other problems such as reactions, redness and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (dark splotches after a skin trauma like a pimple or rash).
And while a smaller molecular size does mean faster penetration into the skin (allowing the active to micro-peel at a deeper level), the general rule is: the smaller the molecular size of an ingredient, the higher the risk of an irritant or allergic reaction. For many actives, a tiny molecular size means they can penetrate the skin more readily, but they do so unevenly and increase the risk for irritation.
Mandelic acid pulls off a neat trick in that it remains highly effective even if it penetrates the skin less.
In clinical studies (our own and others), mandelic acid is the least irritating when compared to other actives such as glycolic acid, salicylic acid, retinoic acid, and hydroquinone. All are effective micro-exfoliants, but mandelic acid is better tolerated even by compromised skin. This makes it ideal for drier, more sensitive skin, younger skin (Superskin can be started at age 9 for prophylactic care), skin that is prone to post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, or people who want the most benefits with the least amount of product.

Inside and out, the almond is a quintessential superfood.

Superfood in Superskin: Get your almond goodness in you…and on you!

Allergy Info

Allergic to tree nuts? You might still be able to use mandelic acid. Food and skin allergies do not always correlate. A prick test or blood test is specific to food. Make sure to get a patch test to confirm your skin allergies.