Review: The Inkey List – Mandelic Acid Treatment

Where to purchase: Cult Beauty: HERE / Sephora: HERE / The Inkey List Website: HERE

Price: £8.99

Volume: 15ml

Made in: United Kingdom

What is it?: Helps reduce the appearance of post-breakout marks

What does it do?: A Cream (Treatment) that uses 10% Mandelic Acid (AHA) + 0.1% Retinol to reduce Hyperpigmentation + Dark Marks caused by Blemishes by exfoliating (shedding) the skin WHILE keeping it hydrated.

Aims to: Reduce Hyperpigmentation + Scars caused by blemishes.

Supposedly Good for: All Skin Types (Even Sensitive Skins).

What I think: I would agree! Perhaps Dry Skins > Oily Skins due to the creaminess of this product, but as a spot treatment, Oily Skins could use.


Vegan?: Yes

Cruelty Free?: Yes

How long does it last after opening?: 6 Months

pH: 4.5 – 5.3

Packaging: Squeeze-y tube with a screw-top cap and thin-tipped nozzle so it’s easy to directly dispense product.

NOTE: The carboard carton this comes in is widely recyclable. The bottle is made from 65% post-consumer recycled plastic (and can be recycled).

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Directions: Can be used in the PM (After Cleansing + Toning), apply this onto affected areas. Follow with a Moisturiser. This can be used int he same routines as other AHAs + BHAs + PHAs + Vitamin C + Retinol. But make sure not to over-do it with the exfoliation + spot-treating is encouraged with this product. As this contains Retinol, make sure your skin can tolerate it (i.e. build up tolerance, especially if you’re already using Retinol in your routine together). Make sure to follow with an SPF.

How I use it: I apply this in the PM. Personally I prefer to use this at the end of my routine, as if I use this before applying a moisturiser, I would simply ”smoosh” this treatment around the face, thus, defeating the purpose of this treatment.

Key Ingredients: 1% Mandelic Acid: An AHA (Alpha-Hydroxy Acid) that comes from almonds. It is suitable for sensitive skins + helps with hyperpigmentation + marks. / 0.1% Retinol: Helps the skin to shed (reveal new skin underneath) thereby helping reduce the look of hyperpigmentation + dark spots.

Difference between Mandelic + Tranexamic Acid for PIH: Mandelic Acid exfoliates the skin (causes skin-shedding on the surface of the skin) whereas Tranexamic Acid actually inhibits skin melanisation (stops dark spots forming). Both ingredients are good to use to prevent Sun Spots and Post-acne marks. NOTE: A Tranexamic Acid product is the SKIN 1004 – Madagascar Centella Tone Brightening Capsule Ampoule (Youtube review HERE).

  • Also contains Ehtyl Ferulate which is an antioxidant, as well as Lupulus Extract which is soothing.

Full Ingredients: Aqua (Water/Eau), Propanediol, Mandelic Acid, Coco-Caprylate/Caprate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Glycerin, Sodium Hydroxide, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Glyceryl Stearate, Candelilla/Jojoba/Rice Bran Polyglyceryl-3 Esters, Sodium Stearoyl Glutamate, Phenoxyethanol, Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate, Benzyl Alcohol, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Copernicia Cerifera Cera, Retinol, Polysorbate 20, Ethylhexylglycerin, Dehydroacetic Acid, Helianthus Annuus Seed Oil, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, 1, 2-Hexanediol, Caprylyl Glycol, Disodium Cocoamphodiacetate, Tocopherol, Xanthan Gum, Ethyl Ferulate, Humulus Lupulus Extract.

NOTE: The Incidecoder have a full ingredient breakdown HERE

Texture: As you can see, this is a cream that melts like butter into the (i.e. low melting point). Which is good because it means this doesn’t take ages to melt into the skin, dry down and absorb.

Sticky?: No.

Greasy?: I wouldn’t call this greasy, but it has a creamy texture.

Balls up?: No.

  • As you can see, this has a creamy texture (but it feels light!).

Does this Sting if the Skin has been Irritated / Sensitised by Shaving/Heavy Retinol Use?: No.

Summer or Winter?: Both (But Winter might be preferred for Oily Skins).

Layerable?: Yes

Video Swatch:

Fragrance?: No added Fragrance and/or EO. This also doesn’t have a strong smell of anything.

Good Under Makeup?: Yes.

Will I use until Completion?: Yes.

How Long will that take?: Months! That’s because I use this as a spot treatment so even daily-use of just dabbing this on a spot will take a while (think of how long it takes to get through a tube of lip balm).

How long have I been using this?: 3 Months.

The Effect?: This doesn’t dry out the skin. It has helped with post-blemish marks, I have to be diligent and apply this everyday, but it hasn’t irritated my skin. It takes consistence use to start to see results, and of course I inter-use this with my Differin and other AHA/BHA treatments. I do think that a higher % of actives would have made this product work quicker, but I understand that the goal is to allow sensitive skins to use this as well.

How does this compare with the Succinic Acid Blemish Treatment?: My In-depth Review is HERE.

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What I like:

  • Fragrance + EO Free
  • Known % of Actives
  • Actives that are known to work on the skin i.e. Retinol + Mandelic Acid
  • Layerable (no balling up)
  • Didn’t irritate my skin
  • Sturdy packaging
  • Lightweight
  • Decent results (as long as I keep using this)

What I don’t like:

  • Maybe a little too emollient/creamy for me, I would have proffered an even lighter cream to apply, but this is still lightweight. A Higher % of actives would have also been nice, just to get results quicker, but I understand this is meant to be used by even sensitive skins.

Overall Rating and Conclusion: 4 / 5 – Not a bad Treatment! I like that it’s hydrating, it doesn’t ball up once it’s dried down, it works (with consistent use!). I do wish that it had a higher % of actives but I understand it’s meant to also be used by sensitive skins. I wouldn’t use this on its own for pigmentation, but I like to integrate it/pair it with other actives products (which the company instructs, can be used in conjunction).

Would I repurchase?: Yes (but it takes me so long to get through this that I wonder when that’ll be!).

Dupe?: The Hyram Mandelic Acid Serum HERE is a good dupe (this is watery in texture, unlike this cream).

My Skin Type: I am acne prone and have slightly dehydrated combo skin. My skin is usually tight where the cheeks and eye area is and the outer parts of my face. My T zone is oily. My skin isn’t a fan of thick/heavy formulas so I opt for lightweight formulas to prevent it from clogging up. My skin doesn’t like essential oils either and I try to avoid fragrance when I can.

Disclaimer: I am a skincare enthusiast and not a skin expert. I am not qualified to give out dermatological advice. This type of advice should only be given by a medical practitioner. Upon trying / using any of the reviewed products on the blog, please follow the manufacturer’s instructions and warnings and please seek medical advice if needed.

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