If I had to choose just one Active ingredient which could deliver multiple benefits in many different clinic situations, Azelaic Acid would be a strong contender for top position.
This versatile multi-tasker is perfect for patients in with‘overlap’ concerns – a dab of rosacea on the background of acne, or melasma and rosacea both co-habiting on the cheeks.
It’s the chemical exfoliant of choice when you’re prone to redness but also want to tackle pore clarity.
It’s fab at preventing acne blemishes as it helps to unclog pores and acts as an anti-inflammatory agent. And a great advantage is that there’s no issue with antibiotic resistance, so it can be used indefinitely without the risk of resistance.
It inhibits the skin’s production of excess melanin so is also useful in many patterns of hyperpigmentation including those pesky dark marks that blemishes leave behind and, as I mentioned, its useful in melasma.
As if that’s not useful enough, it’s also considered safe in breastfeeding and pregnancy.
It’s suitable for use day or night and layers well with other Actives like vitamin C and niacinamide. Like most Actives, it will work best when applied to cleansed skin before moisturiser and SPF use.
Look for anything from 5% to 20%. Over the counter, whilst it’s not always clear what the percentage is, if it’s listed in the top 1/3 of ingredients, there are likely to be significant levels.
Expect improvement in redness, blemishes, pigmentation and texture over the course of 3 to 6 months.