There seems to be a new buzzy ingredient every 60 seconds in the skincare market, and formula weariness is a common result. From hyaluronic acid to salicylic acid, it’s difficult to keep track of all the acids used in skincare and what skin conditions they address. This is especially true for the lesser-known azelaic acid.
Let’s be honest, Azelaic acid may not be the first or even the sixth skincare ingredient that comes to mind when you think of acne remedies, but it should be. This therapy, whether used as a cream, gel, or foam cleanser, may help to eliminate bacteria and reduce redness caused by many skin problems.
Continue reading to learn what experts have to say about azelaic acid, what makes it so beneficial, and how to utilize it.
What is Azelaic acid?
Azelaic acid is a natural acid found in cereals like barley, wheat, and rye. It’s typically applied as a cream, gel, or foam on the skin. It contains antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, and used in skincare to remove bacteria from afflicted regions of the skin and prevent outbreaks. It’s comparable to topical acids like dicarboxylic acid, salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, and alpha-hydroxy acids.
Azelaic acid is available over the counter in lower quantities or as a dermatologist-prescribed treatment strength therapy – strength of 15 percent to 20 percent respectively, it’s also available over the counter in a lower strength of 10 percent or less.
Azelaic acid may be found in leave-on topical therapies and is available in gel, foam, and cream forms for application on various parts of the body. The foam variant, for example, is better suited to covering a greater surface, such as the back.
What is Azelaic Acid Used For?
The application of this acid are all related to skin problems. This skincare acid can help treat rosacea and melasma in some circumstances. Others have found that azelaic acid can effectively treat mild to moderate acne.
Azelaic Acid’s Benefits
Azelaic acid is used in skincare to treat and prevent a variety of skin disorders as well as improve your skin’s overall appearance. Some of the potential benefits of using azelaic acid include the following.
1. It gets rid of bacteria on your skin – Antimicrobial features of azelaic acid help to remove germs out of your pores, minimizing the likelihood of acne, blackheads, whiteheads, and future breakouts. This may also help to shrink your pores over time.
2. It has anti-inflammatory properties – Because it lowers the skin irritation associated with pustules, pimples, and acne scars, azelaic acid is frequently used to treat inflammatory acne.
3. Treats uneven skin tones – By lowering redness or hyperpigmentation, azelaic acid may be able to help even out your skin tone. People with pigmentation disorders such as rosacea, dark patches, and melasma may be prescribed azelaic acid products by dermatologists.
4. Aid the regeneration of your cells – Azelaic acid helps acne scars heal faster by clearing away dead skin cells and encouraging skin cell turnover and regeneration.
5. Is safe for pregnant women – Azelaic acid is one of the few acne, rosacea, clogged pores, and pigmentation treatments that is generally safe for pregnant women, Fusco an NYC-based dermatologist tells BYRDIE.
6. Is gluten-free: Despite the fact that it’s made from wheat, most gastroenterologists agree that it can’t be absorbed well enough through the skin to cause gluten sensitivity or reaction, according to Fusco.
Everything You Need to Know Before Using Azelaic Acid
You don’t try azelaic acid just because a close buddy swears by it. Because of its potent characteristics, you should get professional advice before using it to ensure it’s a good match for you and your skin type. Here are a few other things to think about when using azelaic acid for the first time, in addition to what your dermatologist suggests
:Patience is required – Although azelaic acid is effective, it is not a cure-all. When waiting for the outcomes of this acid-at-work, first-time consumers should exercise patience. According to experts, actual progress may take a few months to notice. It could take four months for over-the-counter azelaic acid therapies with a lower proportion of the acid.
When using it with BHAs and AHAs, use caution: Beta hydroxy acids, unlike water-soluble alpha hydroxy acids, are oil-soluble and suited for targeting dead skin cells deep beneath the skin’s surface. However, for some people, combining AHAs and BHAs isn’t the greatest option. It may cause extreme dryness and skin irritation in some circumstances. So, in addition to using azelaic acid, be aware of what you’re mixing it with to get the optimum results– for example, avoid combining salicylic and azelaic acid.
Don’t forget to put on some sunscreen – If you decide to incorporate azelaic acid into your skincare routine, you must use a facial sunscreen. Whether you’re trying to get rid of sunspots, melasma, or acne-related hyperpigmentation, azelaic acid can assist by protecting your skin from UVA and UVB damage in the future. It’s preferable to use broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or greater, according to the American Dermatology Association.
Side Effects of Azelaic Acid
Minor irritation, such as stinging or tingling, may occur when you use azelaic acid. Face swelling, trouble swallowing or breathing, and hives should all be reported to your doctor because they could indicate an allergic response. However I, Fusco tells BYRDIE that her patients don’t seem to respond badly to it, and that it’s a moderate acid.
How to Use Azelaic Acid in Your Skincare Routine and When to Use It.
Azelaic acid can be used on its own or in combination with other calming and brightening substances such as niacinamide, hydroxy acids, and antioxidants.Gerstner (a board-certified dermatologist for over 17 years specializing in laser treatment, microneedling, botox, and fillers.) recommends applying a thin coating of the cream to clean, dry skin twice a day, morning and night, whether you’re using an OTC recipe or a prescription. She tells BYRDIE applying it every other day for someone with sensitive skin.
After cleansing, apply a pea- or marble-sized amount of any azelaic acid product to your face and neck (foam, gel, or cream).
Fusco suggests applying an AHA (such as glycolic or lactic acid), BHA (salicylic acid), or retinol first to open up the skin and make it more responsive to the azelaic acid. Then, in the morning, apply a hydrating moisturizer as well as a sunscreen with at least an SPF of 30.
When you’re unsure about the effects of an azelaic acid product on your skin, here are some general guidelines to follow:Always do a patch test before using a new product -When trying out a new product, it’s always a good idea to test it out on a small patch of skin first. Apply a drop or two to an arm or wrist at least 24 hours before applying it on your face to ensure you don’t have any negative responses. This will reduce the likelihood of future harm to a problem spot on your face.Begin slowly – Begin by adding azelaic acid to your diet once a day, a few times a week. It’s usually best to ease into new products because you never know how your skin may react. To begin with, err on the side of caution until your skin adjusts and begins to develop a tolerance to a new recipe. Experiment with gradually increasing the frequency of your application after the first week or two. Consult your doctor if irritation develops, or limit your use to a few evenings each week.Use it with a moisturizer for best result: Because azelaic acid is an exfoliator, it should be taken in conjunction with a moisturizer to keep your skin hydrated.
What is azelaic acid used for?
Both acne and the edema induced by acne, as well as rosacea, have been treated with it.
Is azelaic acid safe to use every day?
It’s ideal to gradually introduce azelaic acid to your skin, according to our experts, so that it doesn’t become overly sensitive. Azelaic acid can be used everyday up to two times per day if you don’t have any negative effects (morning and evening). Follow your dermatologist’s instructions carefully.