It still astonishes me that so many amazing skincare ingredients rarely receive the praise they deserve. Don’t get me wrong the ingredients you often hear about, such as the likes of retinol, hyaluronic acid and glycolic acid deserve the limelight they get, but believe it or not, there are still many skin ingredients that you're missing out on. Azelaic acid is one of the ingredients that busily works in the background performing it's tasks quietly and effectively. Now it’s time to shed some light on this (relatively) unknown skin hero and find out what exactly it does for the skin and how it can help you achieve your skin goals. So, stick around if you’re wanting to get to know this acid better and find ways of introducing it into your daily skincare routine.
What does azelaic acid do to your skin?
Azelaic acid occurs naturally on our skin and can be derived from grains such as barley, wheat and rye, you will often find that when formulated into skincare products it is formulated in labs to amplify its effectiveness at delivering the skin results it’s become so popular for.
Skin Benefits of Azelaic Acid
- Prevents and reduces breakouts, such as spots and acne
- Helps to visibly reduce any red marks or discolouration that occur post breakout
- Helps the skin achieve an all-over smoother finish
- Can help to even out skin tone
- Suitable for all skin types to use their daily routines
- Helps calm flare-ups of rosacea
- Overtime can help reduce skin sensitivity
There is an extensive amount of research behind this acid, especially when it has been used in a prescription product containing concentrates reaching 15% and 20%. This level of percentage is medical grade and should only be used if the product is prescribed to you by a doctor, you’ll also find some skincare professionals use it incorporated into professional treatments. As this may suggest, it is vital you do not use any of these products at home without consulting a doctor or dermatologist first, this will ensure you avoid any unwanted and severe skin irritation or allergic reaction. There are some products available over the counter containing lower amounts of azelaic acid, but it is still relatively unused by many skincare brands. You may find that if added into formulas incorrectly can make the texture become too grainy which can lead to skin problems.
If you have any concerns with using a product containing azelaic acid it’s best to consult a doctor or dermatologist first, but generally speaking using a product containing around 10% and less of azelaic acid is a good starting point for introducing it into your daily routine and building skin tolerance.
Can you use azelaic acid every day?
Azelaic acid is given the seal of approval by many dermatologists and is generally considered safe to use every day throughout morning and evening skincare routines. It is best to be mindful that this acid can cause dryness and peeling on the skin so it best to follow it with a serum or moisturiser that is packed with hydrating ingredients such as hyaluronic acid and niacinamide. Don’t forget to use an SPF of 30 and above (the higher the better) once you have finished your morning routine, before you move onto any form of makeup you wear that day. Just as a side note, you can use azelaic acid with AHAs, but I would suggest applying these products before as they would help azelaic acid to penetrate further into the skin without having to battle against the barrier of dead skin cells that collects on the surface of the skin.
How long does it take for azelaic acid to work?
When you first start using azelaic acid in your daily routine you can expect to see an overall improvement in the complexion after 6-8 weeks of consistent use and application. Before you take the plunge and apply it all over the skin here is what you should expect and the things you can do to introduce it into your routine safely.
- Always perform a patch test
Start in the evening by applying the skin product containing azelaic acid to a small area on your forearm. Leave it on there for 24 hours and if there are no signs of irritation, apply a thin layer of product to your entire face every night for a week. Once that week is over you are able to step it up to use the product both morning and evening.
- It will tingle slightly
You may find the skin begins to tingle once you have applied azelaic acid to the skin, this is totally normally. If it begins to feel too uncomfortable and painful rinse it off the skin straight away!
- Expect your skin to turn pink!
If you find your skin turns pink or shows signs of redness that is also totally normal, it’s just showing the acid is getting to work rejuvenating the skin.
- Apply it all over the skin
Just avoid sensitive areas like the eyes, lips and mouth, but don’t be shy and apply it all over the skin to help fight bacteria reducing active breakouts and preventing any future ones.
What should you not mix with azelaic acid?
Although azelaic acid can work well with AHAs, such as glycolic acid and lactic acid, many suggest avoiding team it with the popular BHA, salicylic acid. This is mainly due to the fact the skin can become too dry and irritated as both these acids layered on top of each other can become too much for the skin. If, however, you are wanting to use both powerhouse ingredients you can alternate using them during your evening routine throughout the week.
Should I stop using azelaic acid?
Stop using azelaic acid if you suffer from any of the following side effects
- Severe burning
- Stinging or warmth
- Severe itching
- Severe redness that occurs a bumps or hives
- Skin peeling
- Severe irritation
If you very concerned and have any of these side effects, call your doctor as soon as you can.
Hopefully now you have a better understanding of what azelaic acid is good for and how you can introduce into your routine. Don’t forget if you have any questions or fancy joining the skin chat come and follow our Instagram.