Azelaic Acid Benefits

Azelaic Acid: How To Add It To Your Skincare Routine?

Benefits of Azelaic Acid in Your Skincare Routine

Everyone is looking for that one wonder-product to fix all their individual skin issues. The one to rule them all, look that is not really possible, because your skin needs love in many forms. However Azelaic Acid does a great job in combating some of the most common skin issues.

Touted as one of the best ingredients for acne-prone skin, this ingredient also tackles dark spots, redness, and dull skin.

Let’s delve into what this highly regarded acid can do for breakouts, its other uses, and any precautions you should be aware of before adding it into your daily skincare routine.

What Is Azelaic Acid?

Although the word acid may sound scary when talking about putting a skincare product on your face. Don’t sweat it. Azelaic acid, it’s a very safe and mild acid.  Acid products are now hugely popular due to their exfoliating properties and are a safe part of skincare routines across the globe.

This natural dicarboxylic acid is produced by a yeast that lives on the skin and can be extracted from grains such as wheat, rye, and barley. Typically in skincare products, the acid is produced in a laboratory, as it is deemed more stable and effective.

It is used for treating many types of acne, rosacea, and hyperpigmentation. It is anti-bacterial, – meaning it kills bacteria, anti-inflammatory – meaning it reduces redness and doesn’t block pores.

It comes in every product formulation from face wash to sunscreen.

How Does It Treat Acne? 

With its antibacterial properties, this acid works to exfoliate and eliminate bacteria and dead skin from the pores and hair follicles.

This build-up of dirt is usually the culprit for irritation, acne breakouts, blackheads, and even rosacea.

As an anti-inflammatory and scavenger for free radicals, it can help to calm and soothe inflammation, resulting in less irritation, redness, and visibility on those pesky breakouts.  

Not satisfied with just preventing breakouts and targeting active blemishes, this super ingredient also works to fade dark marks caused by acne scars, sun damage, and hyperpigmentation.

It does so by hindering the activity of tyrosinase, an enzyme essential in the production of melanin, the dark pigment in the skin.

This helps to speed up cell turnover, healing your skin, and the acid’s keratolytic and comedolytic properties help to re-normalize the growth of new skin cells.

Other Benefits

This acid can help to slow down skin ageing and reduce the look of wrinkles and fine lines.

Its ability to control the production of sebum will not only help with fighting breakouts but will keep skin perfectly hydrated which will help lessen the appearance of wrinkles and ageing.

As already discussed, its hindrance of tyrosinase helps to brighten and lighten the skin, a saviour for those tired of a dull-looking complexion.

As it is a gentle treatment, it’s well tolerated by most skin types and is even safe to use during pregnancy and lactation.

Plus, it won’t cause any antibiotic resistance like some other acne treatments.

Mix It Up

Because it is deemed a stable molecule, this acid is safe to mix with a range of other skincare treatments to maximize results.

Switch up your routine by alternating with salicylic acid or find a product that combines the two in order to win the battle against breakouts and blackheads and increase the skin’s radiance.

Pair with niacinamide treatments to boost the benefits already discussed and profit from refined pores and a strengthened skin barrier.

A tougher skin barrier means skin looks healthy, smooth, and hydrated. Combine it with hyaluronic acid for super hydrated skin, resulting in brighter, plumper, and softer skin.

How to Use

Available in both prescription and over the counter forms, it may be confusing as to which kind of product suits you.

For occasional breakouts and mild skin conditions, over the counter doses of around 10% have been proven to be effective.

For more severe conditions speak to your dermatologist to see if a higher dose prescription product would be more beneficial.

Whether you’re using prescription or over the counter products, the acid is typically applied as a thin layer to clean, dry skin, as part of your routine, both morning and night

. To boost absorption and effectiveness, apply after your AHA, BHA (salicylic acid), or retinol.

Finish your routine with a moisturizer and sunscreen.


Azelaic acid is generally well tolerated by most skin types, however, those with very sensitive skin may find it irritating or feel stinging and burning.

When using any new skin product, always do a patch skin before committing to use on large areas of skin.

If you experience any side effects, stop using immediately, and speak to a dermatologist.

Most importantly, always apply sunscreen after using Azelaic acid and try to limit sun exposure.

This acid makes your skin more sensitive to UV rays and therefore more prone to sun damage.

You’ll see this ingredient popping up in the product line up of some of the world’s biggest brands.

Our Favorite Azelaic Acid Products

PaulasChoice Azelaic Acid

Fragrance-free and with no added nasties. Extra points for including liquorice root to calm redness and salicylic acid to unclog pores.

Apply AM and PM after moisturizer if you have sensitive skin.

Price Range: $


Simple formulation, as per most ordinary products. Very gentle and leaves skin feeling smooth after applying.

Apply AM and PM after moisturizer if you have sensitive skin.

Price Range: $


Tula Clear it up Gel

Clea skin with zero irritation. Contains probiotics, salicyclic acid, hyaluronic acid and willow herb. Tula products are 100% free of nasties.

Price Range: $$


Want to know more? Watch Dr Davin Lim give you the low down on azelaic acid. Dr Lim is a board-certified dermatologist who practices in Brisbane Australia.

He has a fantastic youtube channel where he teaches all about skincare products and procedures.

Dr Davin Lim