Ingredient Spotlight: Azelaic Acid — Who Should Add It To Their Skincare Routine?
There are so many trending skincare ingredients at the moment that it’s hard to keep count. All of them get their five minutes in the spotlight and are forgotten as soon as the next trending ingredient comes into play. But there is one ingredient that is wrongfully underestimated — azelaic acid! How much do you really know about azelaic acid? Probably close to nothing. It even sounds a bit intimidating at first, right? However, the truth is that this is one of the best ingredients that you could add to your routine if you suffer from things such as acne, redness, inflammation, or rosacea.
How it works
Azelaic acid accompanies the ranks of already popular chemical peels such as AHA and BHA as an acid. You can find it in both over-the-counter and prescription products. But you will see a different concentration. When it comes to OTC skincare products, they most commonly come in the form of a 10% concentration cream or serum. Prescription medications have a concentration of 15% or more.
There are many ways in which it can benefit our skin. First of all, it’s a great antioxidant. That means that it can combat or neutralize any free radicals that may cause inflammation. It also has a significant skin-calming effect, reducing redness and other signs of irritation. It also helps with hyperpigmentation, as it inhibits an enzyme called tyrosinase that causes dark patches and discolorations.
Azelaic acid and acne
Azelaic acid serums and creams can be a great option for people with sensitive skin and mild acne. It has antibacterial properties and also regulates the skin’s desquamation process. Because over-the-counter products come at a 10 to 12% concentration, they can be a great choice even for people with sensitive skin.
Azelaic acid and rosacea
Azelaic acid is also a great skin ingredient to use if you have rosacea. You’ve probably seen rosacea before. It manifests as the redness of cheeks due to dilated, clearly visible blood vessels. Besides being an aesthetic problem, this condition can also cause symptoms such as itching and burning of the skin. It can reduce some symptoms of rosacea such as pimples, inflammation, and enlarged pores. But for the best results, a prescription-strength product may be needed.
When to expect the first results
In the case of acne, azelaic acid can be applied to the skin in light doses in the form of creams or serums. It takes several weeks to months before you can see the first results, but it’s worth it. Those who tolerate the acid well can include it in their daily skincare routine and will probably see results faster.
If you have rosacea, and you want to use azelaic acid to treat your symptoms, you would be best off using a prescription-strength cream. Of course, you would have to see a dermatologist first. Depending on how serious your condition is, you should expect to see results in a couple of weeks. Prescription creams are more concentrated, which means that they will work faster for most people.
Possible side effects
Just like with any other ingredient, there are certain side effects that you should be aware of. As an acid, azelaic acid works intensively with the skin. It is normal for redness, feelings of tightness, itching, or skin irritation to occur. Each skin reacts differently to the chemical compound, so we can’t tell you if you will experience any of these symptoms. Azelaic acid can also lead to a slight lightening of the skin with long-term use since the acid also inhibits the pigment-forming skin cells. Because it’s safe to use during pregnancy and breastfeeding, this could be a great choice for preventing pregnancy-related melasma.
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