When we think about skincare ingredients that exfoliate the skin, there are a few popular acids that dominate our thoughts. Glycolic acid, lactic acid and salicylic acid certainly reign supreme, but there is also an underdog, azelaic acid.
Although it may work in a similar way, azelaic acid should not be mistaken for other AHAs or BHAs, this acid is in fact a dicarboxylic acid. Sloughing away the build-up of dead skin cells on the surface of the skin, and working at unclogging pores, this acid exfoliant is also packed with antioxidants. This results in azelaic acid being able to help protect the skin’s lipid barrier, keeping it strong and functioning properly.
All sounding impressive right? Well, the final bonus of azelaic acid is the fact it is one of the mildest acids helping to revive the complexion and work on skin type, even those prone to sensitivity, however, I would still advise to consult with a doctor or dermatologist before introducing it into your daily skincare routine. It is understood that whichever percentage used in the formulation, from a potent 20% prescription to a lower percentage found in over-the-counter formulations. There’s no denying your skin will love the benefits of the acid, and you will also be blown away with the results in just a short space of time. If you are wanting to know more about azelaic acid and its benefits, check out our dedicated blog post.
Now we have had a little recap on how the acid works on the skin, we can move on to answering some of the questions we’ve received about this clever active. So, let’s get stuck in and found out whether you can use azelaic acid in the morning?
Should I use azelaic acid in the morning or night?
This depends on the opinions of the dermatologist you are speaking to, some favour applying it during the morning, while others suggest only using it in the evening. When introducing azelaic acid into your routine it is best to bear in mind the skin type you have and the other active ingredients you regularly apply. This is because to reap the rewards of azelaic acid, it may be a case of switching up your routine. For example, if you already use a salicylic acid serum in the evening, you may want to alternate this with azelaic acid. By doing this your skin will benefit from both ingredients and avoid any unwanted irritation and flare-ups.
If you are wanting my advice, I would suggest applying azelaic acid in the evening, especially if you have a prescription strength formula. The acid will be able to exfoliate the skin and repair any damage caused with the antioxidant properties. Without any exposure to free radical such as UV light and pollution, you’ll find the active works whilst you sleep leaving you with a rejuvenated and healthy complexion come morning.
Can I use azelaic acid during the day?
Yes, you can use azelaic acid during the day, in fact, you are able to apply azelaic acid twice a day. However, this is only possible once you have built the skin’s tolerance to the potent powerhouse, which can be done by only applying azelaic acid to the face once day to begin with. The easiest way to find out how your skin will react to azelaic acid is to perform a patch test for 24 hours. Simply apply a 10p size about of product on the inside of your forearm and leave it for 24 hours. After this time is over and you haven’t experienced any signs of irritation, dryness, or reaction, you are able to try the product on the face.
Another vital step you must always follow to keep the skin protected and enable the acid to deliver results, is to always apply a daily SPF of factor 50 every day. Even on the days that appear gloomy and overcast as UVA is constantly present and able to penetrate through clouds, water, and glass.
Can I use azelaic acid in the morning and retinol at night?
Absolutely, as I have already mentioned, you are able to use azelaic acid twice a day, but this should be avoided when using retinol. If you layer these actives on top of each other it will result in too much exfoliation leading to redness, itching, flaky patches of skin, irritation, and general discomfort. This doesn’t mean you need to miss out on the benefits of both ingredients, if you apply azelaic acid in the morning and then follow this in the evening with retinol, this will leave you plenty of time in between applications to avoid any unwanted side effects.
Can I apply moisturiser after azelaic acid?
You can indeed, I would suggest opting for a moisturiser that is packed with hydrating and nourishing ingredients, such as hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, or vitamin E. The bonus of applying moisturiser after azelaic acid will not only allow the actives to absorb fully into the skin, but the formulation of the moisturiser itself will create a physical barrier on the surface of the skin. This barrier will ward off any free radicals, environmental aggressors, and other nastiness from penetrating the skin surface and causing damage to the epidermis.
Does azelaic acid reduce acne scars?
Yes, azelaic acid can help reduce the appearance of acne scars. If you are unsure of what acne scars are, they will often develop on the skin post breakout dark mark. If left untreated you will find they become more pigmented when exposed to sunlight and will result in an all-over uneven skin tone. The way azelaic acid can combat these acne scars is by gently exfoliating the layer of dead skin cells away from the skin surface. By ridding the skin of this build-up, you will help brighten the skin making the pigment of the acne scars a lot less noticeable.
I hope that this has answered the questions you had about using azelaic acid in the morning, don’t forget if you have any further questions you can find one of our skincare experts over on Instagram.