Apr 4th, 2022 ・ Shannon Peter

Why everybody’s talking about azelaic acid right now

Why everybody’s talking about azelaic acid right now

Hype around certain skincare ingredients is not a new phenomenon. With every passing month, there’s a new molecule or extract shining in the skincare spotlight, quickly to be replaced by the next buzz ingredient shortly after. But there’s one ingredient that is yet to be knocked off its perch, an acid so widely loved that talk of it doesn’t seem to be dying down. What is it? Azelaic acid. 

What is azelaic acid?

Azelaic acid (pronounced a-zeh-LAY-ik AS-id, fyi) is a dicarboxylic acid that works like other exfoliating ingredients to unclog pores and refine the skin’s surface. But it isn’t totally the same as AHAs and BHAs. Those acid families are more about removing dead skin cells from the outer layer of the skin. Azelaic acid, on the other hand, works by interrupting whatever is causing the skin to act up in the first place, therefore granting it the power to stop the progression of emerging skin concerns in the upper layers of the skin. No wonder everyone loves it right now.

Want to learn more about specific skin ingredients? Check out our ingredient glossary here.

What are the benefits of azelaic acid?

  • It can unclog pores
  • It can offer antioxidant benefits 
  • It can fade the appearance of hyperpigmentation
  • It can improve uneven skin tone  
  • It can slow down the progression of emerging skin concerns

Are there any downsides to azelaic acid?

It’s still a potent ingredient, so depending on how sensitive your skin is (and of course, depending on the specific formula) it’s not always advised to use it every single day. It’s also fairly hard to formulate, and can feel a bit grainy if the formulation is poor.

What Skin Moods™ and types is azelaic acid best for?

Azelaic acid tends to be suitable for most skin types and moods and can often be tolerated by sensitive skin, when used carefully. It can also serve as a good alternative to retinol in the summer months for those with sensitive skin, however, it’s best avoided if you have a compromised skin barrier.

What are the best azelaic acid skincare products?

There are a couple azelaic acid formulas we regularly shout about, and they tend to get a lot of praise from the wider skincare community too. First, Paula’s Choice Azelaic Acid Booster, £37. It uses 10% azelaic acid plus salicylic acid for extra pore-cleansing. At a lower price point, we also love The Ordinary’s Azelaic Acid Suspension 10%, £8.60, a product you’ll have no doubt seen all over social media.

But which azelaic acid is right for your unique skin? Is it even suitable for your skin at all? Book in for a Holistic Skin Session today so we can work that out. 

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