What Does Azelaic Acid Do?

Azelaic Acid is a topical treatment, and it is actually a naturally occurring dicarboxylic acid. This means that it is already found in the skin. Your body already produces it, and it can be found in wheat, barley, and rye.


It helps with hyperpigmentation and acne.
 Azelaic acid is great for hyperpigmentation and acne because it’s a tyrosinase inhibitor. This means it prevents melanin production. Azelaic can be helpful for acne because it is bacteriocidal. So basically, it kills the bacteria acne produces. It is also anti-comedonal so it prevents clogs, goes deep into the pores, and helps to take away dead skin.


Moreover, azelaic acid is keratinolytic which means it can help decrease the number of dead skin cells in your pores. Azelaic acid is anti-inflammatory so it can be very helpful for melasma, post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH), acne, rosacea, and post-inflammatory erythema (PIH). Post-inflammatory errethyma is the redness that’s left behind after a pimple, and PIH is the dark spots left behind.


Furthermore, Azelaic acid evens texture because it decreases the thickness of the stratum corneum (top layer of the skin) by getting rid of dead skin cells.


It’s Helps with Acne and Hyperpigmentation during Pregnancy.
It’s better to use azelaic acid gradually and to build up a tolerance to it. It may cause itching, but it’s helpful to chill it before applying. It’s also pregnancy safe. During pregnancy, we can get melasma, and our skin tends to be more sensitive during that so azelaic acid is a great option for hyperpigmentation or acne during pregnancy.


As a side note, it’s suggested to avoid retinoids during pregnancy. But if you are not pregnant, azelaic acid is wonderful to use in the morning since retinol, due to its photosensitivity, is best used at night. Additionally, using them together may cause irritation.


It mixes well with other actives.

The majority of studies for azelaic acid were done at 20 percent, but you can only get it at 10% OTC so it’s not going to be as effective. This is why it’s good to use azaleic acid with other actives so they can work together in order to achieve potency. The stability of azelaic acid is best in a gel, and it works great with PHAs, BHAs (salicylic acid), and Vitamin C derivatives like sodium ascorbic acid. However, azelaic acid is Ph neutral (4 or 5 on the Ph scale) and ascorbic acid (pure vitamin C) has a Ph of 3. So, the combination of azelaic acid and vitamin C can be irritating if not used with caution.  Azelaic acid also works well with retinaldhyde (one in the morning and one at night), green tea extract, niacinamide, and alpha arbutin. Alpha arbutin is a tyrosinase inhibitor so the two together are great for hyperpgimentation and acne.