It seems like there are so many acids, ingredients, and miracle products out there, but it’s hard to know what you really need. Azelaic acid is one of those ingredients that you might pass over when shopping for your skin, but that is a big mistake. Huge.
Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, which means if you make a purchase through the link I may make a small commission. I am not a medical pro, just someone who loves skincare and has done the research. Everyone’s skin is different and any serious skin issues should be consulted with a dermatologist or your esthetician.
It’s hard to find an ingredient that is a rockstar on ALL skin types, even the most sensitive. Azelaic acid is just that, though!
What is Azelaic Acid?
Our bodies produce azelaic acid through yeast and it’s also naturally occurring in many grains. It is lab derived for our skincare products to make it a stable ingredient, making it safe to apply to skin. Research continues to show the effectiveness in treating acne, rosacea, and uneven tone and texture on our skin, making this a must-have ingredient.
While this is an acid, it’s a gentle type of exfoliant that works differently from an AHA or a BHA. Azelaic is meant to be left on the skin, even at concentrations of 20%. It contains antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that work to keep skin calm and happy.
How Azelaic Acid will Benefit Your Skin
Azelaic acid combats several skin concerns, gently.
- Acne. Azelaic acid is an anti-bacterial working to unclog pores and fight inflammation. It works to correct and prevent acne through consistent use.
- Rosacea: Azelaic acid reduces the appearance of rosacea. It gently works to calm redness and inflammation on your skin.
- Even skin texture: did we mention that azelaic acid fights inflammation? It is able to lightly exfoliate your skin and reduce those unwanted bumps and smooth out your skin’s texture.
- Even skin tone: Let’s get science-y for a second. Azelaic acid is a tyrosinase inhibitor. Tyrosinase are enzymes in our skin that are key players in producing melanin and keeping our skin protected from sun damage. Sometimes this can work in other ways, though, and result in hyperpigmentation and even melasma. Azelaic acid can actually stop tyrosinase from causing hyperpigmentation in certain areas of your skin and even out your skin’s tone.
Clear, smooth, even, and redness free skin? I am in!
Using Azelaic Acid in your Skincare Routine
Azelaic acid is an easy addition to your skincare routine, no matter your skin type. This means that even the most sensitive skin will benefit from azelaic acid and it will probably reduce the factors that are contributing to your sensitivity!
Azelaic acid is a gentle, light exfoliant, but it functions differently from other exfoliating acids. It should be applied during the treatment step of your routine, AFTER you have applied any exfoliants.
I like to apply azelaic acid at least every night as the last step before my moisturizer. It’s gentle enough to be used both morning and night, so make the decision that is best for your skin type and your concerns.
Layering Azelaic Acid with Other Ingredients
Azelaic acid is so friendly to our skin and plays nice with other ingredients. Retinol and AHA or BHA acids are the perfect opening acts for your azelaic acid.
Applying azelaic after your BHA/AHA or retinol will actually enhance its effectiveness. These other ingredients help your skin open up and welcome your azelaic with open arms so your skin is ready to soak in all the goodness that azelaic has to offer.
I never skip azelaic on retinol nights!
Essential tip: remember to always apply sunscreen when using azelaic acid, or like, just anytime. Azelaic works hard to treat sun damage, so don’t make its job harder!
Favorite Azelaic Acid Products
The Ordinary Azelaic Acid Suspension 10%. This is currently on my counter as my go-to. It’s creamy texture is soft and spreadable and never leaves me feeling sticky or heavy. I use this every night, and some mornings, and my redness and inflammation have gone down significantly.
Paula’s Choice 10% Azelaic Acid Booster. This is my BFF (I wish) Paula’s gel-cream texture formulated with azelaic plus licorice root to hit your redness and with salicylic acid to help unclog pores. So basically azelaic acid and her best friends in a bottle.
Naturium Azelaic Topical Acid 10%. The lightest texture of the bunch, this is a serum consistency that includes vitamin C and niacinamide. Combined with the azelaic acid, this bottle was made to get your skin smooth and bright!
Smooth it out
Now that you know what azelaic acid can do for your skin, what are you waiting for?
Don’t sleep on this ingredient anymore, it can really change your skin. Let us know if you have a favorite azelaic and how it has helped transform your skin!