In skincare, it can definitely feel like there are so many acids to keep track of - hyaluronic acid, salicylic acid, and glycolic acid just to name a few. Well, today there’s one more to add to the mix: azelaic acid.
This skincare ingredient is a bit of an overachiever - like niacinamide - because it doesn’t just help with one aspect of your skin. Azelaic acid is a real workhorse skincare ingredient that takes your entire skincare routine to the next level - here’s how!
What is Azelaic Acid?
First things first - what is azelaic acid? Because of its name, you might think that azelaic acid falls into the category of 'exfoliating acids' with glycolic acid and salicylic acid. While azelaic acid does have mild exfoliating benefits, it doesn't quite fit with the true exfoliating acids - but more on that later.
Azelaic acid is a skincare ingredient that in higher concentrations, can be prescribed to soothe rosacea and treat acne. In lower percentages, it can still have these benefits - which is what makes it such a fantastic skincare ingredient.
It's naturally anti-inflammatory, which helps to visibly reduce the redness and inflammation normally associated with rosacea. However, rosacea isn’t the only skin concern that azelaic acid targets! It’s also fantastic at treating acne - and yes, it can do this without causing flaking, irritation or stinging on sensitive skin.
The fact that it can also be used to treat acne without causing excess irritation is what sets this skincare ingredient apart from others - it helps to clear skin by targeting the acne-causing bacteria, effectively reducing breakouts over time. Combined with very mild exfoliating action, azelaic acid helps to keep skin breakout-free and glowing!
Is Azelaic Acid an Exfoliating Acid?
Well, yes and no.
Formulated correctly, azelaic acid can exfoliate skin - just not in the same way as skincare ingredients that we'd traditionally use as exfoliating acids. For this reason, we wouldn’t recommend relying on azelaic acid as your only exfoliator.
However, there’s good news - azelaic acid plays well with other true exfoliating acids in your skincare routine. It adds a slightly perfecting, refining effect when used in the same skincare routine as facial exfoliants, giving them a boost when it comes to smoothing out skin tone and sweeping away uneven texture.
What are the Benefits of Azelaic Acid?
If you're trying to figure out whether or not to add azelaic acid to your skincare routine, we’ve narrowed down the three best benefits of this skincare ingredient!
One of the number one reasons to reach for azelaic acid for skin is for its power to even out dark spots. Whether you’ve got post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (the kind caused by acne) or sun spots, azelaic acid will be your go-to ingredient.
It prevents dark spots from settling in and works to lighten existing pigmentation for an even-toned, flawless, glow. Azelaic acid does this by interrupting your skin’s melanin creating process - especially in the areas where your skin cells are going a little bit haywire and creating too much melanin at once, resulting in those dark spots.
Improving Skin Texture
Azelaic acid does have a mild exfoliating effect, which means it can help to smooth skin texture caused by congestion. It affects how the skin cells in the uppermost layer of your skin how to behave, making sure that they lie flat and smooth for a nearly-flawless, glass-like skin texture!
What azelaic acid excels at is calming down red, rosacea-prone skin. Azelaic acid has an anti-inflammatory benefit on the skin thanks to antioxidant abilities. It scavenges irritating free radicals, leaving skin soothed and naturally redness-free.
Now that you know the benefits of azelaic acid for your skin, will you be adding this super star skincare ingredient to your skin?
Or, if you're still trying to figure out which skincare actives are best for your skin type, try our skin analysis!