Blackheads are the termites of skincare – they’re difficult to get rid of and they keep coming back. Growing up, I squeezed and picked at the skin on my nose trying to extract the gunk inside my pores. I even tried clay masks, DIY egg white peel-off masks, and popular pore strips to banish those pesky blackheads for good.
Of course, those methods promised instant gratification, but some were pretty painful and quite inconclusive. After a day or two, the blackheads would reappear, and there I would be again, standing in front of a mirror with fingers in position to push and prod my pores.
As someone with sensitive skin, these blackhead removal methods can often leave the skin on my nose looking red and feeling raw like Rudolph in summer, which is why I decided to search for a gentler alternative. When I was asked to try the DR. WU Mandelik Renewal series, I jumped on the opportunity right away.
Ahead, I’ll be sharing my experience with the range and reveal the results I saw after trying it out for two weeks. Before we jump ahead, however, let’s learn a little more about what causes blackheads and the best way to safely remove them.
What are blackheads & how to get rid of them
Blackheads are a prominent type of acne. A blackhead is essentially a hair follicle that’s blocked up with dead skin cells, oil, and bacteria, and it becomes a wide opening at the surface of the skin. When all of this gunk hits the open air, it oxidises and turns black – hence, the name.
Despite their colour, blackheads actually have nothing to do with dirt. It isn’t a sign that you’re not cleansing enough, which is good news. The bad news, for some, is that there is a genetic component to blackheads, so certain people are more prone to developing them.
To reduce blackheads, regular exfoliation is key. It can help remove excessive amounts of dead skin cells that can lead to clogged pores, thereby reducing existing blackheads and preventing future ones from popping up.
Rather than looking for harsh scrubs, you’ll want to focus on gentle exfoliating acids, such as alpha and beta hydroxy acids (AHAs and BHAs). Glycolic and mandelic acid are the most common types of AHA, while salicylic acid is a prominent BHA.
Besides sloughing off dry patches of skin and reducing blackheads, these exfoliants can also clear blemishes and lighten acne scarring when used regularly. This is why I was pleased to find out that the DR. WU Mandelik Renewal series utilises both mandelic acid and salicylic acid to tackle blackheads and manage acne-prone skin.
Read on for my first impressions of each product in the range and find out if the formulas were able to reduce my stubborn blackheads after two weeks of consistent use.
DR. WU Mandelik Renewal series review: First impressions
DR. WU Mandelik Renewal Cleansing Mousse with Mandelic Acid
If, like me, you love a foaming cleanser but hate how it strips your skin of moisture, then DR. WU’s Mandelic Renewal Cleansing Mousse with Mandelic Acid should be in your routine.
The lightweight lather it produces contains micro-bubbles that feel soft and gentle on my skin. Plus, they penetrate deep into the pores to whisk away dirt and excess sebum, so there’s no need for harsh rubbing and tugging.
When I rinsed it off, I noticed that it didn’t dry my skin out one bit, which bode well for the rest of the trial period. The formula’s key ingredient is mandelic acid, which sloughs away dead skin cells and hydrates the skin at the same time for brighter, more supple skin that doesn’t feel tight or taut.
Derived from bitter almonds, mandelic acid has been rising in the ranks of popularity in the world of exfoliating acids. It is known for its gentle but effective ability to renew and refine the skin for greater clarity and better texture. Since it is larger in molecular size, mandelic acid penetrates into the skin at a slower rate. Hence, it is gentler and better suited for sensitive skin.
Since it provides gentle daily exfoliation, it should help reduce blackheads and whiteheads with regular use. On top of that, there aren’t any harsh soaps, alcohol, or artificial fragrances in the cleanser, which makes it perfect for sensitive, acne-prone skin like mine.
DR. WU Mandelik Daily Renewal Serum with Mandelic Acid For sensitive/dry skin
Unlike most serums on the market, the DR. WU Mandelik Daily Renewal Serum has a watery consistency that spread across my skin effortlessly. This fragrance-free serum absorbed into my skin in mere seconds and didn’t leave a greasy or sticky after-feel. Instead, my skin felt hydrated and comfortable.
Its formula employs a golden ratio of three exfoliating acids: 5% mandelic acid, 2% salicylic acid, and 1% pyruvic acid. The latter helps to stimulate collagen production, which helps to tighten and lift the skin. This blend of actives clears clogged pores, reduces the appearance of large pores, and evens out the skin tone.
It also contains multiple hydrating and calming ingredients – such as allantoin, centella asiatica, and calendula extract – to reduce dryness and redness while enhancing its radiance and overall glow.
DR. WU Mandelik Intensive Renewal Serum with Mandelic Acid 18% For oily/combination skin
Bring the spa to your home with the DR. WU Mandelik Intensive Renewal Serum with Mandelic Acid 18%. Although it has a more potent formula next to the Daily Renewal Serum, this fragrance-free serum feels just as water-light, and it sinks into the skin fast.
Better suited for those with oily/combination skin, the serum uses several patented technologies and ingredients to refine the skin’s texture, smooth out fine lines, and improve the skin’s elasticity and firmness.
The 18% concentration of mandelic acid removes dead cells and boosts the skin’s metabolism simultaneously, addressing every pore concern at the same time.
To counter the potentially harsh effects of exfoliation, the serum is bolstered by hyaluronic acid and β-polyglucosome to hydrate and soothe the skin. This relieves any dryness or itchiness that can be brought on by the skin renewal process, and restores moisture to your skin to keep it healthy and happy.
Since my skin leans on the sensitive side, I decided to use the DR. WU Mandelik Intensive Renewal Serum only twice a week while applying the DR. WU Mandelik Daily Renewal Serum day and night for two weeks.
Chemical exfoliants can be tricky, and you certainly don’t want to go overboard with them. If you’re new to exfoliating acids like mandelic and salicylic acid, I recommend you start with either one of the serums (depending on your skin type) every other night and work your way up to daily use once your skin has adjusted to the formula.
DR. WU Mandelik Pore Refining Essence Toner
After applying one of their serums, the brand recommends using the toner, so I poured some of the DR. WU Mandelik Pore Refining Essence Toner in my palms and patted it on my face and neck. Of course, you can also swipe on some of the toner using a cotton pad.
While it doesn’t contain any artificial fragrances, the toner is infused with lavender oil and tea tree oil, which gives it a soothing herbaceous scent – something I’d look forward to particularly in the evening. My skin drank up the lightweight toner in seconds and it didn’t feel sticky or greasy after, ready to receive the following steps in my skincare routine.
The alcohol-free formula is powered by Derma-Cells Renewal Technology, which refines the skin texture, diminishes fine lines, and improves skin elasticity and firmness.
Once again, the active ingredient mandelic acid does the heavy lifting by removing dead skin cells for a renewed complexion. Coupled with salicylic acid, the toner cuts through sebum and exfoliates deep within the pores. Don’t forget to follow up with a moisturiser to hydrate your skin!
DR. WU Mandelik Renewal series review: Can this skincare range banish blackheads in 7 days?
After a week, my skin felt much smoother and softer. Upon much closer inspection, the prominent blackheads on my nose had started to lessen. My pores didn’t appear as large as they did seven days before too. Though there were no changes to my overall skin tone, I resumed my two-week trial in hopes of seeing a visible difference.
Right before my two weeks were up, I could see and feel a difference in my complexion. For starters, the number of blackheads on my nose reduced significantly. The pores around my nose seem to have shrunk in size too.
While there is no easy way to permanently and completely get rid of blackheads, the DR. WU Mandelik Renewal series comes close as the perfect solution. Since I have oily skin, banishing pesky blackheads can be a real feat for me, but it has been an absolute breeze with this skincare range.
My nose felt much smoother and appeared less greasy too – an added benefit I wasn’t expecting. My overall complexion was less shiny, all thanks to the skincare range.
The efficacy of mandelic acid took me by surprise because these formulas were all incredibly gentle on my skin, and I didn’t experience any irritation during the trial. My complexion had taken on a radiant glow and my overall skin tone looked a little more even. The acne scars on the sides of my face have started to lighten as well. I can’t wait to see even better results with continued use.
This skincare range is also ideal for those who are struggling with maskne. Since I started using these products, I haven’t gotten any new blemishes along my jawline or cheek area – places I breakout most often when I wear a mask for an extended period of time.
If you’re searching for a way to get rid of blackheads or blemishes, give the DR. WU Mandelik Renewal series a try. It’s extra gentle on sensitive skin and promises a smoother, clearer, more radiant complexion.
Pssst! The brand is currently running a sample giveaway on their website! All you have to do is fill out the form and they’ll mail two 2ml sachet samples of the Intensive Renewal Serum with Mandelic Acid 18% to you.
DR. WU Mandelik Renewal series is available at selected Watsons stores in Singapore, including Ngee Ann City, Bugis Junction, Causeway Point, Nex, Compass One, and JEM.
The product price list and online retail information are as follows:
- DR. WU Mandelik Renewal Cleansing Mousse with Mandelic Acid (160ml): S$45.90 on DRWU.sg, DR WU’s official store on Shopee Mall, and Watsons online.
- DR. WU Mandelik Pore Refining Essence Toner (150ml): S$54.90 on DRWU.sg, DR WU’s official store on Shopee Mall, and Watsons online.
- DR. WU Mandelik Daily Renewal Serum with Mandelic Acid (15ml): S$54.90 on DRWU.sg, DR WU’s official store on Shopee Mall, and Watsons online.
- DR. WU Mandelik Intensive Renewal Serum with Mandelic Acid 18% (15ml): S$54.90 on DRWU.sg, DR WU’s official store on Shopee Mall, and Watsons online.
This article is brought to you by DR. WU.