Oh, azelaic acid, how I love thee.
No other active ingredient is so versatile and effective across so many different concerns, but one of its main benefits is in the treatment of acne. And consumers are catching on, with a 4-fold increase in Google searches for azelaic acid since lockdown began.
What is Azelaic Acid?
It's a saturated dicarboxylic acid produced by yeast that has a number of different intracellular actions to deliver its breakout magic. It functions as an antioxidant, downregulates toll-like receptors and blocks production of melanin by inhibiting tyrosinase.
It’s what I like to call an acid with extra.
What does Azelaic Acid do to your skin?
It has the remarkable ability to tackle 3 out of 4 points on the acne highway:
- It’s anti-bacterial
- It’s anti-inflammatory
- It normalises keratinisation
As if that wasn’t enough, it even helps reduces post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation so it’s fantastic at improving your post-acne complexion.
What are the side effects with Azelaic Acid?
As with almost all acne treatments, it can cause irritation - but it’s considerably less irritating than most other acne actives.
How long does Azelaic Acid take to work?
It’s like any other acne treatment - it tends to kick in at around 8-12 weeks. It’s not uncommon for a bit of purging to happen as it starts to move things around in the follicle. Stick with it, it usually settles after a few weeks.
It can be used twice a day - but I generally like to combine it with a retinoid at night, in which case I recommend its use in the morning.
It’s more widely available now in a number of different formats - gels, creams and serums. Its even available in the US as a foam.
Another bonus - it’s safe in pregnancy and lactation.
Bottom line - one of my all-time favourites, especially for overlap conditions, where acne coexists with rosacea or melasma. And it’s fantastic for long-term maintenance of acne control.It’s versatility and efficacy are the reasons I made it a cornerstone ingredient in my Dr Sam’s Flawless serums. I love it!