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 10% Serum, £9, 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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  • http://www.adrianacantisani.it Adriana Cantisani

    Can your Azelaic Acid 10% Serum be used at night along with a Retinol? (I am using Indeed Labs Retinol Reface.) thank you!

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

    Hi Adriana, azelaic acid can safely be used alongside Retinol without fear of side effects. In fact the link below takes you to a study where tretinoin and azelaic acid were used for the treatment of melasma. The azelaic acid was at a higher concentration and no side effects were experienced.
    https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.3109/09546639609089556

    Best wishes,
    Shabir

  • http://www.adrianacantisani.it Adriana Cantisani

    Hello, Shabir, thank you for your prompt reply! I will try the azelaic acid. Bye from Bologna!

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

    Hi Adriana, you are welcome and please keep us posted if you can.
    Best wishes from sunny London!
    Shabir

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

    Hi Carrie, I am happy to learn that you have experienced the benefits of using Garden of Wisdom’s Azelaic acid serum – truly an underrated topical! The order of usage would be azelaic acid followed by Niacinamide Serum but you may wish to use niacinamide in the AM and azelaic acid in the PM.
    Best wishes,
    Shabir

  • Carrie

    Thank you Shabir, I will try alternating them to start with and go from there. Loving the Garden of Wisdom products!

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

    You are welcome Carrie and I am so happy that you love Garden of Wisdom products.
    Best wishes,
    Shabir

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

    Hi Michelle, I am unable to comment on The Ordinary products however I cannot imagine why a 17 year old would be using Buffet which is a serum aimed at age prevention though it does hydrate but so does Hyaluronic acid! . In any case I would recommend that you use Azelaic acid in the PM regimen and perhaps you ought to consider using Azelaic acid after cleansing followed by Hyaluronic serum.
    Best wishes,
    Shabir

  • Michelle

    To tell you the truth it never crossed my mind about Buffet being a anti age prevention, it was the hydration I was trying to provide for her. I will have her just stick with Hyaluronic acid and the Azelaic acid. Should she still be using the Niacinamide serum as well? Thank you again!

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

    Hi Michelle, Niacinamide Serum will be good to carry on with because of its ability to regulate oil production, improve pore appearance and to help even distribution of pigment whilst strengthening skin barrier function.
    Best wishes,
    Shabir

  • http://www.adrianacantisani.it Adriana Cantisani

    Hi Shabir, I am LOVING my azaleic acid. Soooo glad I tried it. I am using it during the day mainly on my nose and chin (rosacea prone areas.) Cheeks and forhead I am using GOW vit C serum. I then top off with hyaluronic serum (GOW) and whatever moisturiser I have on hand. So far, so good. Just one question: my vit c and azaleic inevitably overlap in some areas…. should I be applying one first instead of the other or does it not matter much. Thank you, good night!

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

    Hi Adriana, I am so happy to learn your love for GoW Azelaic Acid Serum. With Vitamin C Serum, this contains pure l-ascorbic acid which works best at a low pH and is not stable when exposed to water, heat etc and so I always tend to recommend this after cleansing onto a dry face followed by most other serums including azelaic acid.
    Best wishes,
    Shabir

  • http://www.adrianacantisani.it Adriana Cantisani

    Thank you!

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

    You are welcome.

  • Sarah Mickelson

    Reading through the comments to see if my question had already been answered. Just confirming, can you layer azelaic acid and vitamin c (l-ascorbic acid) together? Thanks!

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

    Hi Sarah, you can most definitely layer azelaic acid with Vitamin C Serum. Because the pH of vitamin C is lower than that of azelaic acid, I would recommend using Vitamin C first followed by azelaic acid.
    Best wishes,
    Shabir

  • Sarah Mickelson

    Thank you!!

  • MsAlb

    AM: niacinamide, hyaluronic
    PM: azelaic, hyaluronic

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

    AM: Hyaluronic acid, Niacinamide
    PM: Azelaic acid; Hyaluronic acid

  • Eze

    Good morning from my country Victoria….I have mild rosacea which makes me get red when using products others with my skin type use and are okay with it…..I came about azelaic acid through a friend who sells raw acids…he sold it to me and asked me to mix with my cream…so please I want to know the quantity I can mix with my cream and is it safe to mix it with any cream?is there any side effect?

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

    Hi, I am unsure if this is pure azelaic acid that you have purchased and if not what strength this is at however as a guideline you can mix with other unfragranced creams and usually at a dilution of one part of azelaic acid to ten parts of cream if using pure azelaic acid.
    Best wishes,
    Shabir

  • Eze

    Hello…thank you for the response….the acid is not water soluble and hard to discover…so I mixed 14% with rose water and put it in my cream

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

    Thank you for sharing.

  • Gemma

    Can I apply Azelaic Acid in the evening just before I apply my 0.05% Tretinoin? I’ve tried applying in the morning but I don’t like how it sits under my make-up, I’m just worried about whether applying in the evening before Tretinoin instead would make either of them any less effective?

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

    Dear Gemma, unlike retinoids, azelaic acid is not commonly known to cause irritation so it would be deemed to be safe for use but it is best to check with your dermatologist or GP prior to use. Based on which pH’s retinoids work effectively at, it would be azelaic acid followed by tretinoin.
    Best wishes,
    Shabir

  • therese

    Would you recommend the azelaic acid or the neurophroline serum to treat mild acne on cheeks for a 43 year old?. I’m thinking of fine lines and dry skin too and have high cortisol levels. Also wondering about glycolic or retinol serum? My skin has everything going on! Ive been using GOW for a few months already, the eye serum, the multipeptide serum and the GOW acne protocol from USA for acne but not much improvement. Thank you

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

    Hi Therese, in an ideal world both would be useful however if you are only intending to use one serum then try the Azelaic Acid Serum first. Retinol serum would be a good addition maybe twice a week but do remember that you should try and not layer more than three serums in any given day or night regimen.
    Shabir

  • Stooby

    I would like to switch my GOW Azealic serum to my morning routine using my Retinol serum in the evenings. How would I incorporate it with my other serums such as GOW hyaluronic and Niacinamide in the morning?

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

    Hi, please use Azelaic acid after cleansing and follow with the hyaluronic acid serum and then the Niacinamide Serum.
    Best wishes
    Shabir

  • Stooby

    Thank you!

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

    Hi Kim, glad you have found the information on our site useful. In the AM regimen, please use vitamin C after toning lotion. Please replace niacinamide with hyaluronic acid as niacinamide is in conflict with vitamin C when used in the same regimen. In the PM regimen, please use the azelaic acid after toning and before the niacinamide and/or Bakuchiol/multi-acid serum.
    Best wishes,
    Shabir

  • Jessica

    Hi! I am new to GOW and super interested to know which serum fades dark spots/hyperpigmentation effectively. Is it the VitC 23%+Ferulic Acid, Azelaic Acid 10% or Alpha Arbutin 2% or etc. I am in my late 40s, acne-prone oily skin with pigmentation and uneven skin tone. Please advise which GOW acids/serum best suited for my AM & PM regimen. Thanks so much! ^^

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

    Hi Jessica, all three serums will have some brightening effects however the serum that I would recommend would be the Alpha Arbutin + Kojic acid which prevents the enzyme that deposits pigment; helps to even out pigment distribution and brightens skin.
    Best wishes,
    Shabir

  • kim thomas

    thanks so much, shabir! this is beyond helpful.

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

    You are welcome Kim and please keep us informed if you can.

  • Katherine Balistrieri

    Hello! I recently have been using Azeliac acid 20% in the morning and use tretinoin .05 % at night.. I am wondering if I can use both of these together in the evening and if so what order should I be using it in? Also, I just purshased a vitamin C serum and would like to know if I should use this right after I cleanse my face before I apply other serums or my azeliac acid.. thank you!

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

    Hi Katherine, you can indeed use azelaic acid alongside tretinoin together and there are creams which have this combination together so I don’t think it matters however I would be inclined to use azelaic acid first because I am sure the pH of the tretinoin product will be higher than that of the azelaic acid serum. Please use vitamin C serum straight after cleansing and before any other serums.
    Shabir

  • Katherine Balistrieri

    Thanks!!

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

    You are welcome and please keep us posted if you can.

  • Harry

    Hi, I have rosecea and with it very dry dull skin with obvious pores and dark under eye circles, not much fun. I’m the first to admit i’m not a skin care junkie but am trying to be better. At the moment i’m using the Liz Earle C&P morning and evening followed by green tinted moisturiser AM and SPF (when I remember!) . PM I follow cleansing with The Ordinary Azelaic acid 10%, Face Theory Porebright N10 serum and The Inklist Hyaluronic acid. Is there a better order to do things or something I should add/remove? Good skincare advice is so hard to come by so I would really value your opinion.

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

    Hi Harry, I normally try and keep rosacea regimens very simple with a hydrating serum that also works to calm redness called Neurophroline Serum – this may be used after cleansing and before a simple moisturiser. Likewise replace the Inkey Hyaluronic acid with the Neurophroline Serum and I am sure your skin will reap the benefits.
    Shabir

  • kitcat

    Hello! Thank you for your posts! They have been extremely helpful!
    May I please consult you for your advice about my skin care routine? And possible suggestions you might have?
    I have a combination skin, oily t-zone, many congested pores on forehead especially.
    There are also pores on my nose and redness near the area.
    Probably due to stress :(

    I have previously tried The Ordinary’s products, like the Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% I am using, seems to have little to no effect on my skin.
    My current night time skin care routine is the following:

    Cleanser – Toner
    Niacinamide 10% Zinc 1%
    Lancome youth activating serum (because I would also like to hydrate my U zone)
    Clinique moisturizing gel

    I am wondering if I could get any product recommendations that can help with my current skin concern.
    Thank you very much :)

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

    Hi, I am glad to learn that the posts have been helpful and and I feel that sometimes using higher strengths of niacin amide can cause underlying inflammation which can lead to excess oil production. I also believe that Neurophroline Serum is going to be the key here because it tends to reduce the amount of cortisol which is an inflammatory hormone produced in the upper layers of skin as a result of pollutants, chemical exposure and of course stress and hormonal stress. Perhaps consider using this in your current regimen after your Lancome serum or instead of it.
    In the PM, twice a week please use Azelaic acid to unclog pores and calm down inflammation after cleansing.
    Best wishes,
    Shabir