Azelaic acid fights acne breakouts, rosacea, melasma, and hyperpigmentation with ease. As an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA), it is an antibacterial and anti-inflammatory active ingredient that helps exfoliate skin as well. It's an underrated active that we hope to see more and more of as time goes on. Whether your concerns are blemishes, pimples, or pigmentation, it's a great choice for all skin types.
AHAs can be a little harsh by their nature. But few topical ingredients can help with as many various problems as this family of acids. Switching to BHAs like salicylic acid won't cut it for some people too. Enter azelaic acid: it occurs naturally, both in our bodies and certain grains, and jives much better with skin. And while it can still cause some dryness for a handful of people, most folks find it much gentler than glycolic acid or benzoyl peroxide.
How does it treat acne, rosacea, folliculitis, and uneven skin tone/pigmentation? The short version is that it builds up in our pores and encourages skin cell turnover. As it builds up, it creates an inhospitable environment for unhealthy, acne-causing bacterias or fungi. This is why you'll find prescription versions of Azelaic Acid creams with brand names like Finacea and Azelex as acne treatments.
Since azelaic acid is a dicarboxylic acid, it works and behaves differently than alpha hydroxy acids. This means you can use it in tandem with other ingredients without additional irritation or issues. When you pair azelaic with glycolic or lactic acid in a formulation. you can get amazing results; managing mild to moderate acne and increasing cellular turnover to reduce dark spots becomes much easier. We firmly think a small addition of azelaic acid is a great booster to most skincare routines.
Additionally, azelaic acid can be used alongside retinol which is a really nice benefit. Some other acids are too harsh to use alongside retinol/retinoids.