If you have been around these parts for a while, you would know how we have recently focused a lot of attention on azelaic acid and how it works on the skin. This potent powerhouse contains antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties making it a highly effective ingredient for various skin types, from the acne-prone to those suffering with flare-ups in rosacea. When applied to the skin, this acid can target the concerns and work to improve the overall look and feel of the complexion.
Often available in an array of formulas, you’ll find azelaic acid is available in over-the-counter products as well as those prescribed by doctors. The latter usually containing higher levels of the acid in the formula.
You’ll find that the main benefits of using azelaic acid are notable improvement of signs of hyperpigmentation and discolouration because of melanin. You’ll also see it works at clearing the skin of any acne flare-ups or signs of redness and rosacea. If you are wanting to find out more about azelaic acid and the benefits you can expect to see when using it, check out our dedicated blog post over on The Beauty Insiders.
Can you use azelaic acid with other acids?
You certainly can, in fact, you’ll find many experts encourage you to team azelaic acid with acids, even ones as potent as salicylic and glycolic acid. The important thing to remember however, is to ensure you apply these acids on alternate days. This is the easiest way to benefit from the exfoliating and rejuvenating properties of these powerhouses without the worry of becoming too much for the skin and becoming too irritating.
As for other acids, such as hyaluronic acid, there is no concern with layering azelaic acid with this clever humectant.
Don’t let its name fool you, hyaluronic acid does not work in a similar way to other exfoliating acids. Instead, it can draw water in from the areas surrounding the skin and locking it into place. This will not only counteract any potential drying results of azelaic acid but ensure the lipid barrier on the surface of the skin is strengthened and hydrated.
What can you not mix with azelaic acid?
As I have already mentioned, you are able to use other acids with azelaic acid, however it is best to avoid layering the ingredients on top of each other.
This is because it will result in the skin being overly exfoliated causing the skin to become stripped of the vital oil and water. This leads to the sebum (the natural oil found in the skin) production kicking into overdrive and overproducing excessive amounts of sebum. This then has a snowball effect resulting in acne, breakouts, and oily areas of skin.
There is a lot more to know about what not to mix with azelaic acid, so do check out our blog post.
What do you put before and after azelaic acid?
This is very much dependant on the formulation containing azelaic acid as this will determine the stage you use azelaic acid. I have spoken in previous blog posts about the general rule of applying skincare products, and that is starting with thinnest to thickest. If you have opted to use a cleanser or toner containing azelaic acid, then this would be applied serums and moisturisers.
To keep things simple, you should always ensure your skin is fully cleansed by using a cleanser or face wash before applying azelaic acid. Doing this will loosen the bonds of the dead skin cells keeping them attached to the outer layer of the skin. You can then apply your azelaic acid product which will slough away these dead skin cells and clear the way for other active ingredients to penetrate the lower layers of the epidermis.
As I have already mentioned, azelaic acid can be drying for certain skin types, so following its application with a serum packed with hydrating ingredients, such as hyaluronic acid and niacinamide. This will help keep the skin barrier functioning and leave the skin healthy, hydrated, and glowing.
Can I use niacinamide with azelaic acid?
Yes, you absolutely can use niacinamide and azelaic acid together. Often considered to work in a similar way to hyaluronic acid, niacinamide is coined as an extremely beneficial ingredient, especially for those prone to acne flare-ups. This is because this hydrating powerhouse can calm inflammations, keep the skin hydrated, and work with the skin’s barrier to ensure it remains healthy.
As effective as niacinamide and azelaic acid may be at working on the skin, everyone’s skin is different. Therefore, it is important to consult with a doctor, dermatologist, or trained professional to determine which actives, and percentages would work effectively on your skin and deliver your desired skin results.
Is azelaic acid AHA or BHA?
Azelaic acid is not an alpha hydroxy acid, such as glycolic or lactic acid, it is also not a beta hydroxy acid, like the popular salicylic acid. Although it works in similar ways as these beloved acids, azelaic acid in fact as dicarboxylic acid and is naturally produced in the body using the yeast that occurs in the skin. For the purpose of skincare product formulations, it is derived from yeasts found in barely, wheat, grains, and rye which are then lab-generated into the clever ingredient found in many skincare formulations.
How often should you use azelaic acid?
Often considered one of the gentler acids, how often you use azelaic acid is down to you and your skin type. If you are new to using this acid, to avoid any unwanted side effects, I would suggest introducing azelaic acid slowly into your daily skincare routine. Start by using it in the evening to allow the skin to build its tolerance. As an added note of precaution, I would also like to remind you to follow this in the morning with an SPF of 30 and above.
There you have it, I hope I have answered your questions about azelaic acid and what can be mixed with it. Don’t forget to come and find me on Instagram if you have any further questions.