The 5 Best Mandelic Acid Peels For An Irresistible Glow (2021 ✅)

Written By: 
Tom Qiao
Last Updated: 
May 17, 2021
Affiliate Disclosure: I earn a small commission when you buy products via affiliate links on this website.

Discover the best mandelic acid peels, why you need them in your skincare routine, and find the right one for your skin type, skin condition, and budget!
(Overall, my top recommendation is Platinum Skin Care Mandelic Peel)

What Is A Mandelic Acid Peel?

Mandelic acid is an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) that is derived from bitter almonds.

It's an extremely gentle chemical peel (thanks to its large molecule size) that helps brighten and smooth out skin texture.

Do Mandelic Acid Peels Work?

With regular use, a mandelic acid peel can improve the appearance of dark spots, uneven tone, hyperpigmentation, melasma, inflammatory acne, rosacea, and even reduce the visibility of mild wrinkles and fine lines. 🤗

However, overall results will be more subtle in comparison to stronger chemical peels like 30-50% glycolic acid and 15% TCA.

Now, let's find the best mandelic acid peel for your skin concern and budget!

What Is The Best Mandelic Acid Peel?

Here are my top recommendations:

  1. Editor's Choice: Platinum Skin Care Mandelic Peel 22-40%
  2. Professional Level: Exuviance Performance Peel AP25
  3. Best for Glowing Skin: Perfect Image Hydro-Glo Peel Pads 40%
  4. Best for Acne Prone Skin: Perfect Image Tri-Clarity Peel Pads 25%
  5. Best for Sensitive/Dry Skin: Bliss Rose Gold Rescue Gentle Resurfacing Peel
Platinum Skin Care Mandelic + Azelaic Peel 22+

Platinum Skin Care 
Mandelic Peel 22-40+

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Best For:

  • Dark Spots
  • Brown Spots
  • Uneven Skin Tone
  • Rosacea / Freckles
  • Wrinkles / Fine Lines
  • Acne / Acne Scars
  • Sensitive Skin
  • Dark Skin

Key Ingredients:

  • Mandelic Acid
  • Azelaic Acid

Key Features:

  • Professional Quality
  • Buffered pH of 2.5
  • No Downtime

For a professional chemical peel, I trust the experts at Platinum Skin Care (in business for over 20 years).

The company provides a full selection of chemical peels and essential accessories like prep solutions and neutralizers, as well as very helpful YouTube videos.

Platinum Skin Care sells two concentrations:

  • 22+: 20% mandelic acid + 2% azelaic acid
  • 40: 40% mandelic acid only

Both are excellent options for treating hyperpigmentation, signs of aging, and skin conditions like acne and rosacea.

For beginners, sensitive skin, and darker skin tones, start with the 22% as it's extremely gentle on your skin, thanks to mandelic acid's large molecule size.

You won't see any significant flaking in the following days, but microscopic exfoliation is still taking place. 👍

If you've had a chemical peel in the past (such as 30% glycolic acid), then 40% mandelic acid is a better choice for you with more powerful results and slightly more flaking.

This chemical peel helps fade dark spots, correct uneven tone, smooth wrinkles and fine lines, and open up clogged pores to reduce acne breakouts (especially for teenage acne).

Keep in mind that while mandelic acid won't irritate your skin, overall results will be more subtle than glycolic acid peels or TCA peels.

My Verdict: When it comes to chemical peels, don't leave your skin in the hands of any brand. Choose a professional one like Platinum Skin Care that's been in business for over 20 years with an entire selection of chemical peels, essential accessories, and great customer support.

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Exuviance Performance Peel AP25

Performance Peel AP25

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Best For:

  • Hyperpigmentation
  • Melasma
  • Dark Spots
  • Uneven Skin Tone
  • Blemishes
  • Redness
  • Sensitive Skin

Key Ingredients:

  • Glycolic Acid
  • Mandelic Acid
  • Gluconolactone

Key Features:

  • Professional Level
  • 2-Step Peel Pad
  • Includes 13 Treatments (6 Week Supply)

Are you looking for a simple yet powerful solution for your skin problems?

Exuviance Performance Peel AP25 is an award-winning professional chemical peel (as seen in Harper's Bazaar) that has helped thousands transform their skin.

With nearly 1,000 reviews at Exuviance and Ulta Beauty, Performance Peel AP25 is one of the bestselling and highest rated at home chemical peels with over 87% of customers giving it 4- or 5-stars! ⭐

But what makes Performance Peel AP25 so effective?

As always, it comes down to the ingredients: a 25% blend of glycolic acid, mandelic acid, and gluconolactone.

Glycolic acid, the smallest alpha hydroxy acid, removes dead skin cells and promotes collagen production, while mandelic acid brightens your skin tone and reduces the appearance of blemishes and redness.

Meanwhile, gluconolactone, a polyhydroxy acid (PHA), resurfaces skin texture and restores hydration.

In addition, Performance Peel AP25 is very suitable for sensitive skin as mandelic acid and gluconolactone are two of the most gentle exfoliating acids in skincare. 🤗

So what can you expect in terms of results?

Exuviance conducted a 30-day study where participants used a PHA skincare regimen along with Performance Peel AP25 twice a week. By the end of this study:

  • 100% noticed improvements in fine lines and wrinkles
  • 94% noticed more even skin tone

Finally, check out these before/after photos after 5 weeks of treatment:

Exuviance Performance Peel AP25 - Before and After

In this example, this woman experienced a significant reduction in hyperpigmentation, particularly the brown spots (most likely sun damage) along her cheeks and temples.

Of course, keep in mind that everyone is different and your mileage may vary (YMMV).

My Verdict: Eliminate your pigmentation, sun damage, and uneven skin tone with this professional level chemical peel from Exuviance (a NeoStrata brand).

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Perfect Image Hydro-Glo Peel Pads Level 2

Perfect Image 
Hydro-Glo Peel Pads 40%

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Best For:

  • Dark Spots
  • Brown Spots
  • Age Spots
  • Discoloration
  • Dull Skin

Key Ingredients:

  • Lactic Acid
  • Mandelic Acid
  • Kojic Acid
  • Papaya
  • Pineapple
  • Licorice Root
  • Bearberry
  • Glutathione

Key Features:

  • Spa-Quality
  • 30 Peel Pads
  • pH of 2.5-3.0

"You have a bright future ahead..."

Said almost every fortune cookie ever 🤣.

But with Perfect Image Hydro-Glo Peel Pads, however, your skin has a very bright future indeed!

(P.S. you get 20% off at Perfect Image with DERM20)

This professional quality skin brightening peel features a 40% blend of lactic acid and mandelic acid, along with powerful brightening agents like kojic acid, licorice root, and bearberry (arbutin) extract.

Meanwhile, natural enzymes from papaya (papain) and pineapple (bromelain) help dissolve dead skin cells and polish uneven skin texture to get your skin glowing!

Finally, glutathione and select botanical extracts provide antioxidant protection and reduce skin irritation.

This at home chemical peel is perfect for dark spots, correcting uneven tone, re-energizing dull skin, and reducing the appearance of skin discoloration.

In other words, you'll be on your way to glowing skin!

For best results, use Hydro-Glo Skin Brightening Cleanser and Hydra-Repair Super Moisturizer.

Perfect Image Coupon: My readers get 20% off with DERM20 and free shipping after $20!

My Verdict: A healthy glow is only a peel away with Hydro-Glo Peel Pads featuring lactic acid and mandelic acid, powerful brightening agents, and fruit enzymes. 🍍

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Perfect Image Tri-Clarity Peel Pads 25%

Perfect Image 
Tri-Clarity Peel Pads 35%

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Best For:

  • Acne / Pimples
  • Blemishes
  • Blackheads
  • Whiteheads
  • Congested Skin
  • Dark Spots
  • Post-Acne Marks

Key Ingredients:

  • Salicylic Acid
  • Mandelic Acid
  • Azelaic Acid

Key Features:

  • Spa-Quality
  • 30 Peel Pads
  • pH of 2.5-3.0

Do you dread waking up to find yet another pimple?

I know how you feel. For many years, I struggled with cystic acne and it's why I started The Derm Detective to help readers like you "Solve Your Skin Mystery" 🕵️‍♂️.

As you may already know, exfoliation is the key to improving most skin conditions, and acne is no exception.

By removing dead skin cells, you open up clogged pores, dissolve keratin plugs, reduce excess sebum, and gradually fade pimples and cysts. 🤗

Tri-Clarity Peel Pads 35% is an outstanding option with a double dose of exfoliation from salicylic acid and mandelic acid, plus azelaic acid to brighten acne marks.

Salicylic acid, a beta hydroxy acid, is the "holy grail" of acne treatment with its ability to penetrate oily skin and unclog pores to release the build-up of dead skin cells, sebum, and keratin (a.k.a. "pus").

Meanwhile, mandelic acid gently resurfaces skin texture and helps increase cell turnover to promote a smoother and clearer complexion.

For best results, use with Salicylic Deep Gel Cleanser and Hydra-Repair Super Moisturizer.

Perfect Image Coupon: My readers get 20% off with DERM20 and free shipping after $20!

My Verdict: Add a weekly chemical peel (especially one with salicylic acid) to fight breakouts, blemishes, and congested skin, and you'll quickly see brighter, smoother, and clearer skin! 👍

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Bliss Rose Gold Rescue Peel
best for sensitive/DRY skin

Rose Gold Rescue 
Gentle Resurfacing Peel

Sold @ 
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Best For:

  • Sensitive Skin
  • Dry Skin

Key Ingredients:

  • Gluconolactone
  • Mandelic Acid
  • Tartaric Acid
  • Rosehip Oil
  • Colloidal Gold
  • Hyaluronic Acid

Key Features:

  • Spa-Quality
  • 15 Peel Pads
  • Clean Beauty

Last but not least, if you have very sensitive or dry skin, you'll love these ultra gentle peel pads from Bliss Spa.

Designed specifically for sensitive skin, this product features an 8% blend of PHA and AHA with a unique time-release delivery system that exfoliates your skin without irritating or stripping it.

Both gluconolactone (PHA) and mandelic acid (AHA) are large molecules that don't penetrate very deep. Instead, they remove dead skin cells and surface level build-up to keep your skin smooth and healthy.

In addition, hydrating agents like rosehip oil, colloidal gold, and hyaluronic acid immediately moisturize your skin to prevent dryness and promote a plumper appearance.

Finally, these peel pads are perfect for travel as they don't require neutralization or rinsing afterwards.

My Verdict: If you have sensitive or dry skin, Bliss Spa has formulated the perfect peel for you with a unique blend of gentle 8% PHA + AHA, hydrating agents, and no harsh ingredients.

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