Azelaic acid is a multi-tasking ingredient found naturally in the yeast on our skin and in wheat and grains. Its anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antioxidant qualities make it a fantastic agent to help with the treatment of skin conditions such as acne, rosacea and keratosis pilaris. It’s most potent in serum form, though can also be incredibly beneficial when applied as a cream overtop.
For acne and congestion
Azelaic acid functions as a gentle leave-on exfoliant that both encourages skin cell turnover to break up congestion and removes acne-causing bacteria from deep within the pores. Working as a comedolytic, azelaic acid is efficient in preventing the formation of comedones (acne papules). Its brightening benefits mean that it can also contribute to fading post-acne hyperpigmentation and scarring.
For rosacea and keratosis pilaris
In terms of rosacea, azelaic acid can reduce common symptoms including redness, inflammation and swelling. Azelaic acid can also decrease excess keratin content in the skin, making it a forerunner for treating keratosis pilaris (which is caused by a build-up of keratin).
How can I incorporate azelaic acid into my regime?
Tolerated well by most skin types, azelaic acid can be used daily (although those with sensitive skin may be best applying on alternate days). It is generally considered safe for use during pregnancy. Your dermatologist may prescribe it in a clinical strength (15-20%), but it is also available in lower doses in over-the-counter formulations. As with any new active ingredient, it’s best to gradually build up tolerance by starting once or twice a week, before moving up to more concentrated and frequent use.
To incorporate azelaic acid into your routine, use a delicate chemical exfoliant (such as an AHA or PHA) on cleansed skin before applying the azelaic acid. This pre-exfoliation will ensure it penetrates more deeply and is optimally absorbed. Finish by locking in the active ingredients with a nourishing moisturiser and of course, follow with a broad spectrum SPF if used in the daytime.