Azelaic acid serum – a rising star in skincare

Skin is the biggest organ in human body and the most visible one. It is the first thing people see when they meet us. Taking care of it is very important and there are many different skincare products on the market each with it’s own benefits.

Azelaic acid serum has emerged as a noteworthy contender in the world of skincare, celebrated for its versatility and effectiveness in addressing a variety of skin concerns.

What is azelaic acid?

Azelaic acid is a naturally occurring acid found in grains like wheat, rye, and barley. It belongs to a class of medications known as saturated dicarboxylic acids and comes in the form of white powder.

What is azelaic acid serum?

Azelaic acid serum is a skincare product, formulated primarily with azelaic acid. It varies in composition based on the brand and specific formulation. Typically, it includes a range of compounds such as:

  • Humectants such as glycerin or hyaluronic acid. These ingredients help to draw moisture into the skin.
  • Emollients and occlusives like squalane or dimethicone. They help in moisturizing the skin and creating a protective barrier to lock in hydration.
  • Antioxidants: Vitamin C, vitamin E, or ferulic acid might be included to provide additional skin benefits such as protection against environmental damage and support in evening out skin tone.
  • Skin soothers like allantoin, bisabolol, or niacinamide may be added to reduce irritation and calm the skin, especially important since azelaic acid can be potent.
  • pH Adjusters: azelaic acid works best at a certain pH, so adjusters like sodium hydroxide or citric acid might be used to maintain the product’s efficacy.

Azelaic acid serum benefits

Acne treatment: azelaic acid is effective in treating acne due to its antibacterial properties. It reduces the growth of acne-causing bacteria on the skin by decreasing the production of keratin which promotes the growth of acne bacteria.

Reduces inflammation: it has anti-inflammatory properties, which make it beneficial for reducing the redness and inflammation associated with acne and rosacea when used as topical gel. It also clears the bumps and swelling caused by rosacea.

Treats hyperpigmentation: azelaic acid inhibits the production of melanin, which can help in fading the dark spots, melasma, and other forms of hyperpigmentation.

Improves skin texture: by promoting cell turnover and reducing the buildup of dead skin cells, azelaic acid can help in smoothing the skin’s surface.

Comedolytic properties: by unclogging pores it prevents the formation of comedones (blackheads and whiteheads).

Antioxidant effects: it has antioxidant properties, which help protect the skin from damage caused by free radicals and environmental stressors.

Azelaic acid serum in hair treatment

Although it is not as well-established or widely recognized, azelaic acid shows potential in hair treatment.

Some studies and anecdotal evidence suggest that azelaic acid may help in treating hair loss. It’s thought to inhibit an enzyme called 5-alpha-reductase, which is involved in the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone (DHT). DHT is a hormone known to contribute to pattern hair loss in both men and women.

Also, it’s anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antifungal effects can be beneficial for scalp psoriasis and seborrheic dermatitis or reduce dandruff and folliculitis.

How to use azelaic acid serum?

Before using azelaic acid serum widely, perform a patch test to check for any adverse reactions. Apply a small amount of the serum to a discreet area of skin, like your inner forearm, and wait 24 hours to see if there’s any redness, itching, or other irritation.

Start with a gentle cleanser to remove impurities and excess oil from your skin. This prepares your skin to absorb the azelaic acid serum more effectively. After cleansing, pat your skin dry. Applying azelaic acid to damp skin can increase the risk of irritation.

Apply the serum evenly across your skin, avoiding sensitive areas like the eyes and mouth. If you have specific target areas (like spots of hyperpigmentation or acne), you might focus more on those areas. Typically, a pea-sized amount of serum is sufficient for the entire face. Using more doesn’t necessarily improve results and can increase irritation.

Wait a few minutes to allow the serum to fully absorb into your skin. Follow up with a moisturizer to hydrate your skin and lock in the serum. This can also help reduce potential irritation.

Azelaic acid can make your skin more sensitive to the sun. Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 30 during the day to protect your skin.

Optimal concentrations of azelaic acid in serums for effective skincare

Over-the-counter products typically contain azelaic acid in concentrations ranging from 5% to 10%. These concentrations are generally safe and effective for most users, offering benefits without significant irritation.

However, higher concentrations of azelaic acid, like 15% to 20%, are available in prescription products. You can get prescription from your doctor or via telehealth platform. These are usually recommended for more severe skin conditions and should be used under the guidance of a dermatologist.

Is azelaic acid anti aging?

Azelaic acid serum offers some benefits that can be considered anti-aging.

It can help in smoothing the skin’s texture and reducing the appearance of blemishes, leading to a more even skin tone. Antioxidant properties can help in neutralizing free radicals in the skin. Free radicals are known to contribute to skin aging by breaking down collagen and causing oxidative stress.

Finally, it works as a mild exfoliant, helping to remove dead skin cells and promote the regeneration of new skin cells. Regular exfoliation is key in maintaining youthful skin as it helps in reducing the appearance of fine lines and keeps the skin looking fresh.

Can I use azelaic acid serum everyday?

Yes, it is perfectly fine to use azelaic acid serum every day. Most people don’t experience any reaction if use serum daily. However, the frequency of using azelaic acid serum can vary depending on your skin type, the concentration of the product, and your specific skin concerns.

It is important to pay close attention to how skin reacts. If excessive dryness, redness, or irritation appear, reduce the frequency of use. If your skin tolerates the serum well, you can gradually increase the frequency.

Some formulations of azelaic acid, especially those with lower concentrations, can be used twice a day.

What not to mix with azelaic acid?

While azelaic acid is generally compatible with many ingredients, there are some that should be avoid combining directly like strong acids (high-concentration AHAs/BHAs), vitamin C, retinoids, akcohol, and all other substances that can cause irritaion.

While there’s no strong evidence that azelaic acid negatively interacts with these ingredients, the combination can be potentially irritating for sensitive skin. If you use both, consider applying them at different times or on alternate days.