Your Ultimate Guide to Azelaic Acid: Its Benefits and How to Use It

Mariam Youssef
4/14/22, 12:00 AM

If you’re into skincare and beauty products, you’ve probably heard about Azelaic acid. Plenty of dermatologists also recommend using Azelaic acid products. So, what’s all this fuss about really? Is it truly effective? And does it treat skin-related problems? Well, we’re here to help you understand everything about it; this is your ultimate guide to Azelaic acid: Its benefits and how to use it, so keep reading to up your skincare game.

Since the majority of women, especially those above 25, care a great deal about their skin and beauty, it is our duty to help them know more about an ingredient that may, in fact, make a huge difference in their routine.

So, let’s start by understanding what Azelaic acid is.

What Is Azelaic Acid?

Azelaic acid is a compound naturally found in certain grains like wheat, barley, and rye and in a fungus called Malassezia furfur that automatically grows on the skin. Therefore, it has become a skincare component found in several products. You can easily find it in commercial products as well as your doctor’s prescriptions. According to scientists, Azelaic acid usually treats common skin problems, such as rosacea and acne because it tends to soothe inflammation. It also treats melasma and sunspots since it prevents the production of abnormal skin pigmentation.

Moreover, this acid contains anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties that make it effective while treating common skin conditions. It can also limit future outbreaks and disinfect bacteria from your pores, which is the main reason behind acne.

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What Are the Forms of Azelaic Acid?

If you’re wondering how you can apply this acid to your skin, let us first tell you more about its forms. Azelaic acid can be applied to your skin in foam, cream form, and gel. Some medical brands have 15% of Azelaic acid in their products, while other over-the-counter products may incorporate smaller amounts.

Okay, so, now you understand what this acid is and which forms you can find it in, but what are its actual benefits? And when do you need to use it? We’ll discuss this fully in the following paragraphs.

When Do You Need to Use Azelaic Acid?

If you’re following beauty gurus and skincare companies on social media, they tend to keep mentioning how Azelaic acid helps the skin to look better and healthier. Dermatologists recommend using this acid if you have any of the following conditions:

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Because Azelaic acid disinfects your pores from bacteria that can cause irritation or breakouts, it is recommended to use it if you suffer from acne. This acid can also reduce inflammation, where acne can become less visible, less irritated, and less red. One of its amazing benefits is also encouraging cell turnover gently so your skin can heal quicker and minimize scarring.

Acne Scars

People with oily skin are always prone to acne and acne scars. Therefore, products that contain Azelaic acid are great for treating acne scars. The acid can also prevent melanin synthesis, which is your skin’s ability to produce pigments that make your skin’s tone variable and different.


In case you suffer from constant breakouts and inflammation, you most probably have hyperpigmentation on certain areas of your skin. Azelaic acid can stop the population of discolored skin. Studies also show that this acid can even out your skin tone and hyperpigmentation triggered by inflammation and acne.

Skin Lightening

Using Azelaic acid to lighten your skin, especially in blotchy or patchy areas thanks to the melanin, has been found greatly effective according to older studies.


Besides its ability to reduce inflammation, Azelaic acid is an effective treatment for rosacea. Clinical studies show that Azelaic acid gel can constantly improve the sight of visible and swelling blood vessels that are usually caused by rosacea.

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Does Azelaic Acid Have Side Effects?

The short answer to this question is yes! However, you need to know more about these side effects and how to avoid them. Common side effects include:

  • Slight burning on your skin
  • Peeling skin in the place of application
  • Dry skin or redness

Side effects that are less common include:

  • Flaking skin
  • Swelling and irritation
  • Joint pain or tightness
  • Itching and hives
  • Fever
  • Breathing difficulties

First things first, if you notice any of these side effects on your skin, stop using the product containing Azelaic acid immediately and consult your doctor. Furthermore, it is wise to turn to your dermatologist before using any new product on your skin, especially if your condition is serious. You must also know that the results of Azelaic acid may not be obvious in a short period; that’s why you have to be patient while using it. Make sure you also avoid using astringents or deep-cleansing cleansers while using products that contain Azelaic acid.

Finally, whether you’re using your doctor’s prescription or an over-the-counter product, make sure you test it first on your skin to avoid unpleasant side effects. Moreover, there is a huge number of sellers who claim to offer original products, so make sure you choose a trusted brand.


Mariam Youssef

Growing up, I've always wanted to become so many things: a fashion designer, painter, singer, actress, and anything that revolves around art. It wasn't until I watched "How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days" t...

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