The common mistake many have is thinking azelaic acid is a member of the extensive family of chemical exfoliants, called alpha hydroxy acids, the thing about azelaic acid is that believe it or not, it isn't either an AHA, BHA or PHA.
Derived from yeast that occurs naturally on the skin it's a favourite amongst dermatologists for how versatile and gentle it is. Not to mention how effective it is at giving the complexion great clarity by combating flare-ups of acne and other blemishes. Formulated into various skincare products, from face washes to leave on treatment products all of which deliver impression results. You can find out more about this unique skin ingredient over on our website with a dedicated blog post about what it is and how the number of benefits you can expect to see.
So now I’ve briefly explained what azelaic acid is, let’s find out what can you not mix with azelaic acid.
Can you mix vitamin C and azelaic acid?
Both vitamin C and azelaic acid are highly potent ingredients and provide quick skin results, with this in mind, you may think it's a bad idea to combine them together. It’s generally thought that doing this is perfectly safe, however, to avoid any possibility that your skin will find it too overwhelming it’s best to apply each ingredient separately.
What goes first vitamin C or azelaic acid?
Due to the fact that vitamin C is packed with antioxidants making it a free radical fighting powerhouse, it’s best to apply it during your morning skincare routine as this will result it in working throughout the day keeping your skin protected and healthy. You can then use a product enriched in azelaic acid in the evening, allowing it to combat any concerns whilst you get your beauty sleep.
Can you mix azelaic acid and lactic acid?
Technically speaking azelaic acid is a dicarboxylic acid and works in a similar way as AHAs and BHAs, but also offers additional benefits to the skin, such as having a huge impact on the skin tone and correcting other skin issues. Having said that there is nothing stopping you from teaming azelaic acid with other chemical exfoliants such as lactic acid. You may find that using these acids together will allow you to combat any concerns and target areas of the skin, making light work of uneven skin texture, dark spots and signs of ageing, such as fine lines and wrinkles.
With lactic acid being known as one of the gentlest AHAs if you find your skin is dry, or perhaps you are new to using acids in your skincare routine, applying azelaic acid with lactic acid would be a great starting point. This will ensure you avoid overwhelming the skin and avoiding unwanted side effects.
Can I mix azelaic acid with glycolic acid?
Yes, you can, as I have already mentioned in the previous section of this post, AHAs and azelaic acid are perfectly safe to work together. When it comes to using glycolic acid with azelaic acid there is an added bonus due to the fact that by combining active levels of the acid to the skin has been proven to have a greater impact on the skin than tretinoin. For those of you who aren’t sure, tretinoin is also known as all-trans retinoic acid and is often found in prescription and medical grade products formulated to treat and clear acne and other severe blemish breakouts.
Just a word of warning, glycolic acid is the most potent of the AHAs and if overused on the skin can lead to it becoming irritated which is why I suggest you first consult with a doctor or dermatologist. Follow this by performing a patch test for 24 hours before applying it all over the skin to avoid any unwanted skin reactions.
What can I put on top of azelaic acid?
Ideally, the best products to layer on top of azelaic acid is a hydrating moisturiser, and daily SPF of 30 and higher.
To get the best out of azelaic acid, it is thought best to apply it in the later stages of your routine. Many skincare experts recommend you apply your skincare products containing AHAs, such as lactic and glycolic acid, BHA, such as salicylic acid and retinol before azelaic acid. This ensures these actives are able to work in the skin whilst clearing it of any dead skin cell build-up allowing azelaic acid to absorb rapidly and effectively in the skin.
Can I use moisturiser after azelaic acid?
With azelaic acid being praised for being so versatile and formulated into an array of skincare products. This is important to remember as generally speaking when using skincare products, the best way of getting optimal results is to apply products depending on the thickness of their formulas. This usually means moisturisers should be at the end of a routine. You will also find that applying a moisturiser after using a product containing azelaic acid will help balance the skin and give a boost in hydration. This is an effective way of counteracting any signs of dryness that might occur when using azelaic acid and other chemical exfoliants.
Can you mix salicylic acid and azelaic acid?
When it comes to using azelaic acid with BHAs, particularly the most used, salicylic acid, many dermatologists hesitate to recommend teaming the effective duo together. It is considered that due to the fact salicylic acid molecular size is small it's able to penetrate further into the skin making it prone to causing some irritated side effects. Although azelaic acid is a lot gentler, by teaming the two acids on the skin will be too much and you’ll find an increase in dryness, redness and general discomfort.
If you are wanting to use both of these ingredients in your routine, I would suggest alternating the days you use them, not forgetting to apply a daily SPF to ensure the skin is protected from exposure to UV damage.
What are the side effects of azelaic acid?
You may be wondering why, after explaining how gentle azelaic acid is on the skin, I wanted to share the side effects of the acid with you. This is because even with the gentlest ingredient, there is always chances of experiencing some form of side effects. If you are new to any ingredient, or perhaps it is the first time you have used any type of skincare always seek the help of a dermatologist or trained professional to ensure your new product or routine is best suited for you and your skin type.
The main side effects you can experience when using azelaic acid are:
These should only feel minor, but if you experience any of the above severely or for an extended amount of time stop using the product immediately and call your doctor.
There you have some examples of which acids work and which should be avoided when using azelaic acid in your skincare routine. As always, don’t forget to come and find us over on Instagram.