Let’s face it, almost all of us struggle to name any other ingredient than retinol if someone asks for a solution to prevent acne scars, spots, or breakouts. Is anyone even aware of an upcoming skincare ingredient called azelaic acid? While it sounds like one of those obscure chemicals found in our school’s chemistry lab, it actually is a skincare underdog that’s quickly making it to the top of everyone’s must-haves and is all set to enjoy an ubiquitous status in the beauty industry soon. “Azelaic acid is different because it works by reducing inflammation, not obstruction, unlike salicylic and mandelic acid,” says Dr. Kiran Sethi, founder, Isya Aesthetics. Thanks to the cult skincare brand, The Ordinary, this acid has made its way to many beauty cabinets. The brand introduced the ingredient’s goodness in a bottle with Azelaic Acid 10% Suspension. Thankfully, more and more Indian skincare brands are hopping onto the bandwagon by adding azelaic acid to their range of products.
What is Azelaic Acid?
If you’re new to skincare, take it as an undervalued skincare ingredient that has multiple functions to its credit. “A natural acid produced by the yeast malessezia furfur, azelaic acid is an anti-pigmentation and anti-inflammatory in nature. It also helps in reducing rosacea and acne,” says Dr Kiran.
A dicarboxylic acid, azelaic acid helps in gentle exfoliation of the skin thereby treating pigmentation, scars, acne, and inflammation like rosacea. As Dr Priyanka Reddy, founder and chief dermatologist, DNA Skin Clinic, says, azelaic acid is a turtle in a race! “It takes time to show results but it delivers,” she adds.
How to Use Azelaic Acid In A Skincare Routine?
The most important factor to tap on while introducing an active ingredient in a skincare routine is to understand the right way to use it. “Start with at least 10% concentration and use it twice a day. Cut it to once a day if you experience extreme dryness or irritation,” suggests Dr Priyanka. Also, one must note that any azelaic acid concentration above 10% comes under prescription medicine and isn’t available as an OTC product. Dr Priyanka further suggests being consistent with the routine and including it in both morning and nighttime routines. Adding to its usage, Dr Kiran says that it’s suitable to be used daily and beneficial for all skin types, especially for sensitive ones.
One of the major benefits of azelaic acid is that it’s safe to be used by pregnant and lactating women. “With that, it also works well for people with combination and oily skin type who are prone to post-acne pigmentation,” says Dr Priyanka.
Pairing Azelaic Acid With Other Ingredients
View this post on Instagram
As it’s well suited for sensitive skin types and doesn’t cause irritation, it can be used alone as a cream or serum in at least 8-20% concentration, depending on the dermatologist’s prescription. However, if you still wish to pair it, use it with other anti-acne or brightening products for better and faster results, suggests Dr Priyanka. A friendly ingredient, it can be paired with other de-pigmenting molecules like tranexamic acid and Kojic acid. However, avoid combining it with retinol or AHA if you experience extreme dryness or burning sensation. “In these cases, stick to AM routine,” says Dr Priyanka.