Can You Mix Azelaic Acid and BHA?

Can You Mix Azelaic Acid and BHA?

There is a lot of research backing the benefits of azelaic acid and how it works on the skin. Although it’s still one of the lesser-known acids, in recent years there has been a surge in popularity with many of us realising how this powerhouse is the missing ingredient in our daily skincare routine.

BHA on the other hand, especially salicylic acid has established itself as the key ingredient to tackling problematic skin. It’s known for its potency and effectiveness at combating spots, blemishes, and acne. With this comes some side effects, such as dryness to the skin, itchiness, and mild irritation.

If you find yourself getting a little confused with each of these ingredients and whether they would work in your routine, here is a brief recap.

What are the benefits of azelaic acid?

  • Derived from grains, such as barley, wheat, and rye
  • Helps to unclog pores of excess sebum, bacteria, dirt, debris, and surface impurities
  • Evens out the skin tone reducing the appearance of dark spots, sun damage, post acne marks, and melasma
  • Slough away the build-up of dead skin cells on the surface of the skin, revealing a younger looking, smoother complexion

If you wanted to know more about azelaic acid and how it works on the skin, check out our dedicated blog post.

What are the benefits of BHA?

  • Most used BHA, salicylic acid is derived from willow bark
  • Often oil-soluble and works deeply into the pores unclogging them of the build-up of gunk
  • Exfoliates the outer surface of the skin ridding it of dead skin cells and debris
  • Decreases inflammations, such as breakouts and spots

For more information about BHA, check out our blog about the skin benefits of AHA and BHA.

Now that you’ve had a quick researcher on these ingredients, let’s now dive in to finding out more about whether you can mix them or not.

Can you use BHA and azelaic acid together?

Yes, it is thought safe to use BHA and azelaic acid together. To avoid any unwanted skin reaction, it’s best to not layer them together. Teaming these powerhouse ingredients are a perfect combination when tackling all sorts of skin concerns, such as breakouts, spots, uneven skin tone, signs of ageing, and a lack lustre complexion. Try using the ingredients, leaving enough time in between applications, such as 30 minutes, to ensure the pH levels of the skin have had a chance to rebalance and settle. Mixing them together will result in irritation, increases sensitivity, rashes, and redness.

We have a fully dedicated blog post about using azelaic acid and BHA together, so check that out for more.

What should you not mix with BHA? 

There are a few ingredients that should be avoided mixing with a BHA, such as salicylic acid.

  • Do not mix with AHAs- Applying too many acids can have too much exfoliation to the skin which can often strip it of the vital sebum needed. When the skin barrier is lacking the correct level of sebum, it can begin to over produce sebum which will lead to more breakouts, spots, and acne.
  • Do not mix with retinol- both these ingredients are highly potent and must be avoided applying together as this will lead to severe side effects and irritation to the skin.
  • Do not mix niacinamide with AHAs and BHAs as the difference in pH levels can cause redness and the pH levels of niacinamide, such as 5-7. This can cause the acids to not work as effectively making them unable to deliver their results.

Can you mix azelaic acid and salicylic acid?

No, you should not mix azelaic acid and salicylic acid as this will increase the chances of your skin becoming irritated. This is because azelaic acid works on the outer layers of the skin, whilst salicylic acid can penetrate further into the skin. This will result in too much stimulation for the face, leading to itchiness, redness, sensitivity to sun exposure, and overall discomfort.

If you wished to use azelaic acid and salicylic acid in your skincare routine, the best way of doing this is to alternate when you apply them on the skin. You can either apply each active during your evening routine, or apply azelaic acid in the morning, followed with salicylic acid in the evening. Just ensure you always apply a daily SPF of 30 and above to keep the skin protected from exposure to UV damage.

Is azelaic acid an AHA or BHA?

Surprisingly, it is neither an AHA nor BHA. It is naturally occurring in the skin and is derived from grains, such as wheat, rye, and barley. It’s this form of yeast that is formulated into an array of skincare products. Azelaic acid still delivers similar results and benefits the skin by exfoliating away the dead skin cells, ridding the complexion of impurities, and giving an all-over improved finish.

Where does azelaic acid go in routine?

If you’ve built the skin’s tolerance to using azelaic acid, there are a couple of products enriched in azelaic acid you can use in your daily routine. The most popular formulas are cleansers, and exfoliating toners. These products are the best to start with when you first introduce azelaic acid into your routine as they are rinsed off the skin avoiding too much irritation. Following your cleanser or toner with a serum packed with hyaluronic acid will counteract any dryness and instead lock moisture into the skin and keep it hydrated and comfortable.

Can I use azelaic acid on wet skin?

Not really, this is because the percentage of azelaic acid used in formulas such as serums, and creams are often prescription strengths and applying them to damp skin will in fact, cause skin irritation.

There you have a little more information about mixing azelaic acid and BHA. If you have any further questions about using these powerhouses together, come, and follow us on Instagram, you can find one of our skincare experts in the direct messages.


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