It might be difficult to remember which types of acids are used for skincare and for what skin concerns, from hyaluronic acid to salicylic acid. This is especially true for an ingredient like azelaic acid, which is quite uncommon.

There’s a strong possibility that azelaic acid outcomes will include preventing unsightly pimples and painful rosacea, whether you’ve used it before or are just learning about it now.

Not sure of the best time or method to include azelaic acid to your skincare routine? Do you have any questions about using azelaic acid daily? No issue. This article will cover all you need to know about the skincare ingredient’s shown advantages, its mechanisms of action, and the most effective ways to apply it to your skin.

What Is Azelaic Acid?

Azelaic acid is a dicarboxylic acid that aids in skin exfoliation and is naturally produced by yeast, however it may also come from a variety of sources. Yeast produces azelaic acid naturally on your skin, but it may also be manufactured in a lab and is sometimes found in grains and cereals. It possesses comedolytic, keratolytic (breaks down excess keratin), anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant effects in addition to acting to exfoliate deeply inside the pores. It’s an overachiever, like we stated.

It is available over-the-counter at a lesser strength of 10 percent or less, but experts advise their patients to take it in a prescription form with a strength of 15 percent to 20 percent, respectively. Gel, foam, and cream versions of azelaic acid are available as leave-on topical treatments and are intended for usage on various body parts. For instance, a wider region like the back is better covered by the foam version than it would be by a tiny amount of cream or gel.

How Does Azelaic Acid Work?

Azelaic acid has a variety of special qualities that make it effective in treating acne and enhancing skin quality:

  • Due to its antibacterial properties, it aids in maintaining the skin’s microbiome in balance and reduces bacterial growth in the afflicted region.
  • It has been shown to assist in reducing skin hyperpigmentation. This is why it helps to brighten any dark patches left behind from pimples and acne scars in addition to successfully treating melasma. Additionally, it may be utilized to treat PIE-like pigmentation.
  • It is an anti-inflammatory ingredient that helps ease swollen, irritated regions of the face and neck.
  • Cell turnover is brought back to normal, which may sometimes be the cause of difficult-to-treat acne issues.
  • Its antibacterial properties team up with antioxidants to fight blocked pores and relieve congestion in various regions of your face.

Side Effects of Azelaic Acid

When taking azelaic acid, it is possible to feel mild discomfort, such as stinging or tingling.

Your doctor should be notified if the adverse effects become severe and include facial swelling, breathing or swallowing trouble, hives, or any other symptoms that might constitute an allergy.

How to Use It

Whether you’re using a prescription or over-the-counter treatment, doctors advise dabbing a little amount of the solution into clean, dry skin twice daily, in the morning and at night. You should apply it once every other day if you have sensitive skin.

After cleaning your face and neck, use whatever azelaic acid product you want (foam, gel, or cream) using a pea- or marble-sized quantity applied evenly over the region.

Apply your AHA, BHA, or retinol first to open up the skin and allow the azelaic acid to penetrate and work even more effectively. In the morning, use a moisturizing moisturizer after that, followed by a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30.

Everything You Should Know Before Using Azaleic Acid

You don’t simply try azelaic acid because a close friend of yours swears by it. Due to its potent qualities, you should first speak with a specialist to ensure that it is a suitable fit for you and your skin type. Here are a few other factors to think about before taking azelaic acid for the first time, in addition to what your dermatologist advises:

  • Be patient; despite the possibility of azelaic acid’s efficacy, it is not a cure-all. First-time users should wait patiently for the effects of this acid-at-work. According to experts, it can take a few months before meaningful progress is seen. Or it can take around four months for over-the-counter medications that contain less azelaic acid.
  • When mixing it with BHAs and AHAs, use care. Beta hydroxy acids are oil-soluble in contrast to water-soluble alpha hydroxy acids, making them perfect for penetrating the skin’s surface to target dead skin cells. However, for some people, combining AHAs and BHAs may not be the ideal decision. It may sometimes result in severe dryness and skin irritation. In order to get the greatest effects, be cautious when mixing azelaic acid and other substances, such as salicylic acid, in addition to utilizing azelaic acid.
  • Don’t forget to use sunscreen – If you decide to include azelaic acid into your skincare regimen, you must use a face sunscreen. Whether your objective is to treat sunspots, melasma, or hyperpigmentation brought on by acne, azelaic acid may assist you by protecting your skin from further UVA and UVB harm. The American Dermatology Association recommends using broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.
  • It is safe for expectant mothers – It may sometimes be difficult to combine pregnancy with your usual skincare regimen since some of the products you use might potentially damage the unborn child. However, azelaic acid is one of the few treatments available that is suitable for expectant mothers wanting to achieve a more even skin tone. It is probably not a concern in the majority of situations, but you should first speak with both your dermatologist and your main physician to make sure.

4 Best Azeleic Acid Products

1. Paula’s Choice 10% Azelaic Acid Booster Serum

This azelaic acid-based product treats a variety of skin issues, such as acne, enlarged pores, redness, uneven skin tone, and uneven skin texture. Even post-acne breakout scars and markings are helped to diminish by it. The acne-causing bacterium P. acnes is the target of azelaic acid’s antibacterial properties. Additionally, it helps to lighten the skin and reduce irritation.

Additionally, the booster includes 0.5% salicylic acid, a beta hydroxy acid (BHA) that aids in pore clearing and skin exfoliation. It may be applied all over your face or as a spot treatment. Use it by itself or in combination with a moisturizer or serum. It is excellent for oily skin since it contains no oil.

2. Cos De Baha Azelaic Acid 10% Serum

Cos De Baha Azelaic Acid 10% Serum repairs skin damage, targets rosacea, hyperpigmentation, and acne scars, and clarifies and brightens the complexion. While it helps lighten the face and treat acne, niacinamide is a potent chemical that also treats these skin issues.

Aloe vera extract is used in this serum’s formulation to calm and soothe the skin, as well as sodium hyaluronate (hyaluronic acid), which helps hydrate and plump dry skin.

This lightweight serum may be used in both your morning and nighttime skincare regimes and only requires a few drops. The very reasonable drugstore cost of this serum earns it bonus points.

3. Naturium Azelaic Topical Acid 10%

Glycinated azelaic acid, a product derivative that regulates excess oil while moisturizing the skin, is an ingredient in this serum. While minimizing the appearance of dark spots, hyperpigmentation, discoloration, and uneven skin tone, the serum gently exfoliates the skin.

This serum is perfect for dry, acne-prone skin since pure azelaic acid may be drying. However, this concentrated high-soluble combination and the amino acid glycine won’t leave your face feeling dry.

Because of its gentleness, this serum is appropriate for those with sensitive skin.

4. PCA SKIN Pigment Bar

Azelaic acid is combined with other skin brighteners in PCA SKIN Pigment Bar to lessen hyperpigmentation and discolouration while relaxing the skin.

While serums are a great approach to deal with pigment concerns, cleansers like Pigment Bar may assist to level out the tone of your skin on both your face and your body.

For those with normal to combination complexion who are prone to hyperpigmentation and uneven skin tone, this washing bar is great.

Please be aware that Rosewood Essential Oil, which has a woodsy floral aroma, is an ingredient in Pigment Bar.


Q1: What Should You Not Mix with Azelaic Acid?

While azelaic acid is generally well-tolerated, it is essential to be cautious when combining it with certain skincare products. Avoid using azelaic acid simultaneously with products that contain strong exfoliants, such as alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) or beta-hydroxy acids (BHAs), as this may increase the potential for skin irritation. Additionally, avoid combining azelaic acid with products that have a highly acidic pH, as it may affect its efficacy. It’s best to consult with a dermatologist or perform a patch test before introducing new products to your skincare routine.

Q2: Is It Okay to Use Azelaic Acid Everyday?

Using azelaic acid daily can be safe and effective for many individuals. However, sensitivity levels and skin types vary, so it’s important to start with a lower concentration and gradually increase usage. Some people may experience mild irritation, dryness, or redness when first incorporating azelaic acid into their routine. If any adverse reactions occur, reduce the frequency or concentration or consult a dermatologist for guidance on optimal usage.

Q3: Does Azelaic Acid Lighten Skin?

Azelaic acid does not have a direct skin-lightening effect like some other ingredients (e.g., hydroquinone or kojic acid). However, it can help even out skin tone and reduce the appearance of hyperpigmentation. Azelaic acid works by inhibiting an enzyme called tyrosinase, which plays a role in melanin production. By regulating melanin synthesis, azelaic acid can help fade dark spots and promote a more balanced complexion.

Q4: Does Azelaic Acid Remove Dark Spots?

Azelaic acid has been shown to be effective in reducing the appearance of dark spots and hyperpigmentation. Its ability to inhibit tyrosinase activity, which is responsible for melanin production, helps fade existing dark spots and prevent the formation of new ones. However, results may vary depending on the individual’s skin type, the severity of the dark spots, and consistent use of the product over time. It’s important to be patient and maintain a regular skincare routine for best results.

Q5: What Does Azelaic Acid Do to Melanin?

Azelaic acid works by inhibiting the enzyme tyrosinase, which is involved in the production of melanin. By reducing tyrosinase activity, azelaic acid helps regulate melanin synthesis, leading to a more balanced and even skin tone. It can help fade hyperpigmentation, such as dark spots, and minimize the appearance of melasma. However, it’s worth noting that azelaic acid does not affect the natural melanin levels in the skin, meaning it does not lighten or whiten the overall complexion.

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