Effects of Topical Mandelic Acid Treatment on Facial Skin Viscoelasticity

Facial Plast Surg. 2018 Dec;34(6):651-656. doi: 10.1055/s-0038-1676048. Epub 2018 Dec 4.


Mandelic acid is an α-hydroxy acid with reported benefit in treating acne and hyperpigmentation. The authors have developed a topical mandelic acid formulation that subjectively improves the quality of aged skin. Although the gold standard for assessing outcomes, photographic documentation is limited by subjective interpretation. Tools for measuring physical skin properties allow for an objective assessment of changes in skin quality. The authors sought to objectively study the viscoelastic changes to the skin following treatment with topical mandelic acid, using the Cutometer MPA 580. Twenty-four patients, twenty females and four males, aged 42 to 68 years, were studied over a four-week period. Mandelic acid was applied topically to the face twice a day for four weeks. The lower eyelid skin viscoelastic properties were assessed weekly using the Cutometer. After four weeks of topical mandelic acid treatment, the elasticity of lower eyelid skin increased 25.4% (P = .003). Skin firmness increased 23.8% (P = .029). Improvement in photographic appearance correlated with these findings. Mandelic acid is another topical treatment option for improving skin quality, and is well tolerated by patients. The authors feel that the Cutometer or similar device should be used routinely in facial plastic surgery to objectively assess outcomes of various treatment modalities.

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Cutaneous
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Dermatologic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Elasticity / drug effects*
  • Eyelids
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mandelic Acids / pharmacology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Skin Physiological Phenomena / drug effects*


  • Dermatologic Agents
  • Mandelic Acids
  • mandelic acid