Meet Azelaic Acid: The Unsung Hero in the Fight Against Acne and Rosacea

When you think of the best acne-fighting products, all-stars like salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, and retinol are probably the first things that come to your mind.

While these products certainly live up to the reputation they've earned, there's another lesser-known ingredient that doesn't get enough attention for its acne-fighting benefits: azelaic acid.

"Azelaic acid is a naturally occurring acid found in grains such as wheat, barley, and rye," says board-certified dermatologist Dr. Stacy Chimento, MD, Riverchase Dermatology, Gulf Harbor Islands, Florida.

It can also be produced by yeast on the skin. "It's often found in creams, gels, or foams and can reduce inflammation, boost skin cell turnover, and relieve acne."

Similar to some other popular ingredients known for their skin-friendly benefits, azelaic acid has a variety of uses, though it's best known for its ability to fight acne and rosacea.

"As an anti-inflammatory agent, azelaic acid reduces inflammation, making acne less visible, red, and irritating," says Dr. Chimento. Plus, the ingredient can help clear pores of bacteria that can cause breakouts.

At the same time, it boosts cell turnover and slows down the production of melanin, which can lead to hyperpigmentation and melasma.

Of course, there are a few things to consider if you're considering incorporating this into your daily skincare routine. First of all, it should be used about 15 minutes after cleansing and before moisturizing to allow it to

be fully absorbed by the skin.

"Azelaic acid should be used morning and night, preferably with a moisturizer or serum," says Dr. Aza Halim. "Also, it should blend well into the skin or apply to dark spots and be absorbed to avoid leaving a border that makes

the skin look blotchy."

As directed by Dr. Chimento usually requires that you take azelaic acid with other medications, as it can take a while to see noticeable results with the ingredient alone - but you should of course be careful with what you mix it with.

"While azelaic acid can be mixed with almost any product, using it with a beta-hydroxy acid (BHA) like salicylic acid can increase the risk of dryness and irritation," says Dr. Chimento.

"If you are using an over-the-counter stronger form of azelaic acid, you should consult your dermatologist before mixing or combining it with any ingredient or product."

Anyone using azelaic acid may also experience side effects such as irritation, redness, flaking skin, peeling skin, and/or hives, but not everyone experiences this.

If you have sensitive skin, Dr. Halim recommends slowly introducing the ingredient into your routine (starting with a few times a week, then increasing to daily use). However, if you notice any of the above side effects, you

should discontinue use immediately.

If you're ready to make a change, read on to learn about some azelaic acid-fortified products worth adding to your diet.

1. Paula's Choice 10% Azelaic Acid Booster: Azelaic acid isn't the only active ingredient in this acne-fighting product. It also contains salicylic acid and licorice root to rid the skin of acne-causing bacteria while balancing

skin texture and fading blemish-causing blemishes.

2. Ordinary azelaic acid suspension 10%: Imagine adding four extra products to your skincare routine for less than $10 and experiencing the benefits of each one. That's how we describe using this versatile, value-for-money

product, which reduces the appearance of blemishes, evens skin tone, and nourishes skin with antioxidants.

3. FaceTheory Lumizela Azelaic Acid Serum A10: Formulated with 10% Azelaic Acid, this botanical serum cleanses skin of bacteria and reduces blemishes. Plus, ingredients like oatmeal and aloe vera minimize the irritation and

appearance or swelling caused by rosacea.

4. Sodium Azelate Topical 10%: The product uses Azelaic Acid along with other key ingredients like Vitamin C and Niacinamide to minimize congestion, redness and discoloration while reducing excess oil production.

5.Typology Oil Control Essence 10% Azelaic Acid: This lightweight serum can be massaged into your skin morning and evening to reduce excess oil production. According to some reviews, it also works well as a topical treatment.

6. PCA SKIN Pigment Gel: This gel serum contains a combination of azelaic, lactic and kojic acids to treat hyperpigmentation and brighten the complexion by slowing the production of melanin.

7. Dr. Brandt Dark Spots No More Triple Acid Stain Minimizing Concentrate: This targeted treatment aims to lighten dark spots and discoloration with Tranexamic Acid, the dermatologist's preferred hyperpigmentation treatment.

8. TULA Skincare Clear It Up Acne + Skin Correction Gel Clear skin doesn't have to come at the expense of hydration. Enriched with Azelaic Acid and Salicylic Acid, the formula works to reduce the appearance of acne and prevent future breakouts without drying out the skin.

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