The popularity of acids in recent years has resulted in every skincare brand including them into at least one of their popular products. The only downside is the fact that these acids are highly effective, with active levels of the ingredients used in various formulations. This is great for giving you impressive and noticeable results, but there is the risk of overdoing it. Yes, you can have a little too much of a good thing and when layered or used incorrectly, these potent skin heroes can leave the skin barrier weakened, irritated, severely dry with flare ups of redness.
Before we get started, let’s quickly recap about what exactly azelaic acid and glycolic acid can do for the skin.
What is azelaic acid good for?
Derived from grains such as barely, wheat and rye, azelaic acid isn’t actually a member of the AHA family, but instead is a medication named dicarboxylic acid. It is often used to treat areas of concern, such as rosacea and acne due to the fact it is able to reduce swelling and redness to the skin. It is also able to combat any bacteria on the skin surface that can lead to the pores becoming clogged resulting in breakouts, leaving you with skin clarity.
What is glycolic acid good for?
One of the most popular and used acids in the AHA, glycolic acid is derived from sugar cane and can work on the outer surface of the skin. When applied it is able to slough away the build-up of dead skin cells that often sit on the outer surface and develop into a number of concerns, from fine lines becoming more prominent, frequent breakouts and lack lustre complexion.
So now you have a better understanding of how each of these ingredients work, let’s now investigate further and see whether you can use azelaic acid and glycolic acid together.
Can glycolic and azelaic acid be used together?
Yes, it is considered perfectly safe to use azelaic acid and glycolic acid together. Using both acids in your daily routine is an easy change to make for a huge impact to your skin.
Many medical and skincare experts believe that because azelaic acid is so easily tolerated by almost all skin types, including the mildly sensitive. Having said that, you may find it difficult to find azelaic acid in over-the-counter formulas making this skincare ingredient quite unique in its own way. Gentle enough for those with sensitivity but not potent enough to remain as a prescribed ingredient.
It is important to remember that both these acids work at exfoliating the skin which is why it is vital you apply sunscreen on a daily basis, yes even on days its cloudy.
What can you not mix with azelaic acid?
Azelaic acid is considered a skin ingredient that can be introduced into your routine easily and can be teamed with other acids effectively. This however doesn’t mean there are some ingredients that should be avoided. It is recommended that when it comes to layering azelaic acid with salicylic acid for example you must consult with a doctor or dermatologist to ensure your skin can tolerate using them together. This will avoid the skin becoming irritated and dry with signs of damage caused to the protective barrier from overstimulating to the skin.
Can you use glycolic acid with other acids?
Yes, you can but with caution, it is easy to over exfoliate the skin without you really realising. Glycolic acid is one of the most potent AHAs making it a great addition to anyone’s daily skincare routine, providing your skin will tolerate it of course. As for other acids, such as lactic and malic it is really a case of alternating which formulations or time you use glycolic acid and other acids together.
Many of those with a combination to oily skin type will often find teaming salicylic and glycolic acid together will result in clear, glowing skin. This, however, is not the case with everyone so performing a patch test of any new ingredients or products for 24 hours before applying it over the face is important to avoid unwanted skin reactions.
What products should not be used with glycolic acid?
You should avoid layering vitamin C with glycolic acid. You’ll find that vitamin C is often considered unstable and is difficult to layer with other ingredients. This is often the result of outdated research describing vitamin C as a highly unstable skin ingredient making it highly reactive. This is because the pH levels of both glycolic acid and vitamin C are low meaning, they are both very acidic and can easily cause an imbalance of the skin surface. This imbalance will lead to skin irritation and other concerns such as dryness and flushing of the skin surface.
If you are wanting to know more about how to vitamin C, check out dedicated blog post about what not to mix with vitamin C.
Can I use azelaic acid every day?
Yes, you can use azelaic acid every day, in fact you can use it twice a day in your daily skincare routine. Often formulated into several different skincare products you can tailor your regime to suit your skin and the concerns you are wanting to target. What I mean by this is if you have a more sensitive skin type you can opt for a face cleanser as this is rinsed from the skin. For combination or oily skin types you can go for a more potent product such as a serum.
Can I use glycolic acid every day?
You can indeed! Just the same as azelaic acid you can use it twice a day. If you wanted my suggestion, I would choose an exfoliating toner enriched in glycolic acid. This is because the formula of the toners enabling the skin to be exfoliated without the ingredient remaining on the skin for too long resulting in irritation.
There you have a little more information about how to use azelaic acid and glycolic acid together, don’t forget you can come and follow us on Instagram if you have any questions.