We need to talk about azelaic acid. Also known as a dicarboxylic acid, azelaic is naturally derived from rye and barley, and can be used at all ages and on all skin types, promising multiple benefits for the complexion.
What does azelaic acid do for your skin?
“Azelaic acid is one of my favourite skincare ingredients,” says Dr Anita Sturnham, the founder of skincare brand Decree. “It is most well known for its anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties, meaning it helps to prevent the formation of the comededone, the primary acne lesion.”
A hugely versatile ingredient, it also works to calm and exfoliate the skin, and reduce redness and oil production, as well as preventing the blocking of pores for a clearer complexion. “It also helps to reduce hyperpigmentation and even out skin tone by inhibiting an enzyme called tyrosinase, which leads to dark spots and patches on the skin,” adds skincare expert Nilam Holmes.
Is it ok to use azelaic acid everyday?
A fantastic all-rounder, azelaic acid can easily be incorporated into your daily skincare routine with products that are available over the counter (and therefore are not too powerful). However, those with sensitive skin might want to start slowly and use it on alternate days, in order to build up to eventually tolerating daily use. If you’re using prescriptive strength azelaic acid, you might want to use it in conjunction with a squalane based serum, suggests Sturnham, as it can be a little drying.
If in doubt, always consult an expert. “It’s always better to seek professional advice to ensure you are using the right ingredient in the right way, especially when using other actives,” says celebrity facialist Teresa Tarmey. “It’s important that you’re not over-using, so as not to cause irritation.”
What should you not mix with azelaic acid?
On the whole, azelaic acid is a great team player, which means it works well with most other ingredients. If you suffer from sensitive skin, however, or are using prescription strength products and want to be extra careful, you can always separate it from other actives such as benzylperoxide, topical antibiotics or retinoids, by shifting these to be part of your evening skincare regime. One thing you might want to steer clear of, says Holmes, are facial exfoliation brushes and other physical exfoliators, given azelaic acid’s existing exfoliant properties.
Is azelaic acid better than retinol?
There are many similarities between azelaic acid and retinol. “Both can help with cell turnover and collagen production,” says facialist Keren Bartov. “They can also treat skin issues like hyperpigmentation, melasma and acne.” However, where azelaic acid treats inflammation and bacteria (hence why it’s ideal for skin that’s prone to breakouts and those with rosacea), retinol can reverse sun damage and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. “The best thing to do is use them in combination,” continues Bartov. “Together they are a powerful and complementary duo.” Note also that azelaic acid can be used when pregnant and on sensitive skin.
Should I put azelaic acid all over my face?
Yes. After cleansing, apply azelaic acid all over the face and neck – just be careful around the eye area when using a higher strength product. Follow with your moisturiser.
The best azelaic acid products to try now
Read the full article here