Azelaic Acid: Why You Should Be Using It

Azelaic Acid

Yes, there has been a lot of chatter about acids over the past year or so, and yes, there always seems to be a new one that you should be using. But, Azelaic Acid genuinely should be on your radar regardless of your skin type or concern because it has an impressive skill set and helps to soothe and smooth skin.

So, what is Azelaic Acid?

It is found in wheat, barley and rye and is used in skincare as a leave-on exfoliant. Unlike glycolic and lactic acids, Azelaic Acid is not an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) and it’s not a beta hydroxy acid (BHA) like salicylic acid either. Azelaic Acid is produced by a yeast that occurs naturally on our skin and as a result it has an array of skincare benefits.

What are the skin benefits of Azelaic Acid?

While it is an exfoliator that helps to smooth lumps and bumps on your skin, there are many strings to this particular acids bow. Azelaic Acid is most commonly used to treat acne, as it has impressive anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. For these reasons it’s also been used to help ease rosacea. It is also good for smoothing and reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

Pigmentation is another skin concern that Azelaic Acid can help with as it can penetrate your skin’s surface and slow down the production of excess melanin, which can lead to the formation of dark circles.

How often should you use Azelaic Acid?

It’s a relatively gentle acid and can be used daily depending on your skin’s tolerance levels, or two-to-three times a week. Studies have shown that the skin absorbs around 5-8%, so looking for formulas that contain 10% Azelaic Acid should offer you noticeable results. Garden of Wisdom Azelaic Acid, £14, is a good place to start if you battle with rosacea or acne.

We recommend using it as part of your evening routine and to always apply SPF the during the day when you’re using acids in your skincare regimen.

Can you use Azelaic Acid with other acids?

Absolutely. If you battle with breakouts and blackheads, incorporating a salicylic acid into your routine as well as Azelaic Acid will offer results. We suggest using them on alternating days though to avoid overloading your skin or increasing your chances of irritation, or opting for a formula that combines the acids together at lower percentages. For this, look to LixirSkin Night Switch BHA/AHA 10%, £20, which includes Azelaic Acid, as well as salicylic and lactic acids.

It goes without saying that both hyaluronic acid and niacinamide work well with Azelaic Acid. While hyaluronic acid helps to hydrate your skin, niacinamide refines your pores and strengthen your skin barrier.

 

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  • Nel

    Hi I have adult cystic acne on chin 3-4 times e
    other month. Could it be diet related or stress related inflammation? I have just started using azelaic acid and hylaraunic acid in the PM and moisturiser and spf after toning in the AM.
    I have dry skin of late. I am planning to add Ordinary’s Niacinamide 10% and vit c serum in the AM. Am I on the right track?

  • http://www.victoriahealth.com/ Victoria Health

    Hi Nel, you are definitely on the right track with the addition of niacin amide serum.
    Best wishes,
    Shabir

  • http://www.victoriahealth.com/ Victoria Health

    Hi Zaynab, your AM regimen is fine but the PM might be:
    Vitamin C Serum; Retinoid, Rosehip seed oil.

    Niacinamide is great for calming inflammation whilst retinoids will enhance cell turnover so hopefully PIH marks eventually disappear.

    Best wishes,

    Shabir

  • http://www.victoriahealth.com/ Victoria Health

    Hi Zaynab, the study carried out decades ago is now generally considered as flawed however it also depends upon which type of vitamin C you are using because the study used l-ascrobic acid and not the derivatives of it.
    Shabir

  • http://www.victoriahealth.com/ Victoria Health

    Hi, I am sorry but that does not work – pure L-ascorbic acid works at a very finite pH and hence using azelaic acid which has a higher pH would simply neutralise some of the vitamin C. It is best to apply vitamin C first, wait for half a minute or slightly longer and then apply azelaic acid.
    Best wishes,
    Shabir

  • Zaynab Shahzad

    Hi how can I add the alpha arbuitn 2% in my routine without using the retinoid
    Thank you!

  • http://www.victoriahealth.com/ Victoria Health

    Hi Zynab, add alpha arbutin before niacin amide in the AM regimen. You don’t have to use retinoids – its your choice.
    Best wishes,
    Shabir

  • http://www.victoriahealth.com/ Victoria Health

    Hi, Azelaic acid works well with retinol so maybe use it in the evening twice a week before the application of your moisturiser. Niacinamide is safe for use twice a day.
    Best wishes,
    Shabir

  • Zaynab Shahzad

    Can I use the alpha arbutin with tje odrinaru absobyl glucoside ans then rosehip oil

  • http://www.victoriahealth.com/ Victoria Health

    You definitely can Zaynab.

  • Aroob Pervaiz

    Hi, I have an acne prone skin with a lot of acne scars and large pores. Let me know if the below routine is okay and should I add anything else to it:

    AM:
    Salic Acid
    Niacinamide
    Azelac Acid

    PM:
    Toner
    Hyaluronic Acid
    Niacinamide
    Azelac Acid
    Retinol

    Should I also add rose hip oil in my routine?

  • http://www.victoriahealth.com/ Victoria Health

    Hi Aroob, I would prefer that you did not use two acids during the day. Perhaps use azelaic acid in the AM followed by Niacinamide Serum. In the PM, use Salicylic acid after the toner followed by Hyaluronic Acid, Niacinamide and Retinol. I do not think that you will need an additional face oil in the evening.
    Best wishes,
    Shabir

  • http://www.victoriahealth.com/ Victoria Health

    Hi, I agree with the rule of thumb however in some cases, and this applies particularly to acids, a higher pH product may neutralise a lower pH product such as an acid. In this instance use the azelaic acid before the niacinamide and it will sink into skin quickly because it is still a water-based serum.
    Best wishes,
    Shabir

  • Stooby

    Thanks Shabir! So cleanse , hyaluronic toner, Azealic Acid, then niacinamide followed by moisturiser.

  • http://www.victoriahealth.com/ Victoria Health

    Yes absolutely that is the order I would recommend.
    Shabir

  • http://www.victoriahealth.com/ Victoria Health

    Hi Jen, I am not an expert on The Ordinary products as all serums have different pH levels and active and non-active components. Having looked at your regimen, I would say the azelaic acid should be used before the hyaluronic acid in the PM regimen which is fine. It is safe to use the acid peeling solution with hyaluronic acid and niacinamide serum.
    Best wishes,
    Shabir

  • http://www.victoriahealth.com/ Victoria Health

    Hi Rita, I am not an expert on The Ordinary products because all serums have different pH levels and of course different concentrations of both active and inactive ingredients. I would say that generally azelaic acid should be used before niacinamide serum and most brands are gentle enough to leave the serums on. Perhaps you need a lower concentration of niacinamide such as 5%.
    Best wishes,
    Shabir