Azelaic acid, we’ve discussed this unsung hero before on the Beauty Insiders. There’s no denying that is a favourite amongst skin experts and dermatologists alike. You’ll also find that its popularity has increased rapidly over recent years, with many serums packed with the powerhouse making their way into our daily skincare routine.
This acid is a natural compound found in grains, such as wheat, rye, and barley. You’ll often find it’s formulated into products that can help treat acne as well as rosacea. This is uncommon as most ingredients used for targeting acne are too harsh for those suffering from rosacea and other similar skin conditions. This is just an example of how this unique ingredient works at restoring, calming, and rejuvenating the complexion, without any unwanted side effects. If you wanted to know more about this clever ingredient and how it works on the skin, check out our dedicated blog post.
Now, let’s dive right in and find out how long can you use azelaic acid for?
Can you use azelaic acid long term?
The length of time you must use azelaic acid is very much dependent on the product formulation you are using. This is because it is important to understand how the variety of products will affect how much you are able to apply it to your skin.
When it comes to the scientific backing of azelaic acid, you’ll often find that much of the research was done with prescription formulations. These often have a percentage of 15%-20% of azelaic acid making the products highly potent and require you to apply them as instructed by your doctor or dermatologist.
As for over-the-counter products, these will contain a considerably lower percentage and can be used in conjunction effectively with other actives already established in your routine. You can usually apply these products twice a day or however long you are wanting to use them. Having said that, it is still vital you consult with a doctor, especially if you are new to azelaic acid to ensure the acid will work for you and your skin.
When should I stop using azelaic acid?
If you have checked with your doctor and performed a patch test for 24 hours, you are able to apply azelaic acid with the peace of mind you won’t cause irritation to the skin. Having said that, there are some signs that azelaic acid isn’t the ingredient for you, such as.
- Severe itching or tingling
- Severe redness
- Skin peeling
- Changes in skin colour
- Burning or warmth to the skin
- Difficulty breathing
These symptoms are signs of an allergic reaction and can have long lasting damage to the skin if you do not act fast. If you find you suffer with any of the side effects I have mentioned, rinse the product of the skin immediately with cool water. Avoid using any other potent or harsh ingredients on the skin, instead apply a liberal amount of hyaluronic acid to the skin to lock in moisture and boost hydration.
If you find you suffer from the more severe side effects, it is best to consult your doctor quickly and stop using your azelaic acid enriched product until you have spoken to an expert.
Does azelaic acid damage the skin?
Yes, it can, but only if you suffer from an allergic reaction, like the ones I have previously mentioned. As for azelaic acid causing skin damage when used correctly, this is something that isn’t necessarily true, however, you will find that if you use the acid in your routine during your morning skincare routine, it is essential to apply a daily SPF of 30 and above to protect the skin from exposure to the sun’s UV rays.
As azelaic acid provides the skin with exfoliation, you’ll find it sloughs away the top layer of dead skin cell build-up, reveal fresh, new cells underneath. These new skin cells are highly sensitive to UV light, so to avoid any deep-set damage you must apply sunscreen to protect the new cells as well as keeping the skin barrier strong and fully functioning.
How long does azelaic acid purging last?
You’ll find that skin purging begins to subside after one month, however many find the skin continues to show signs of purging up to 8 weeks. This is very much dependant on the state of the skin when you first introduced azelaic acid in topical form, and how high the percentage is of the acid in the formulation. If you find the purging continues after 8 weeks, I suggest you ask for some advice from a dermatologist or trained professional to find a better product or alternative.
If you are about what exactly is purging, it is a term used to describe the look of the skin once you have introduced a highly effective exfoliant to your skincare routine. The exfoliant will penetrate deeply into the pores and help unclog them of any excess sebum, bacteria, dirt, and other debris build-up. This “gunk” will then make its way to the surface of the skin and will often result in breakouts, such as whiteheads, blackheads, and under the surface bumps. The trick is to continue using your routine as normal, as this will encourage the purging to finish more rapidly and result in brighter, smoother, healthy skin in no time.
Can I use azelaic acid for years?
As evidence shows, it is perfectly safe to use azelaic acid in your routine for years. I do wish to remind you however is that our skin can change over the years, with it often becoming dryer as we age as well as hormonal changes affecting the overall health and appearance of the complexion too.
Many enjoy using skincare and will often mix up their routines with different ingredients and formulas, this is something I personally encourage as it results in you gaining the best results for your skin and reaping the rewards of powerhouse actives. Just ensure you are following the instructions and introduce new ingredients properly into your routine.
There you have a little more information about how long you can use azelaic acid, don’t forget if you have anu further questions, come and follow us on Instagram for more.