Azelaic acid for skin: Azelaic acid has great efficacy in the treatment of mild to moderate acne. It is also used for other skin conditions such as rosacea, hyperpigmentation and skin sensitivity.
Azelaic acid is a substance of natural origin that is present in some cereals such as wheat, rye or barley. It has medicinal properties that make it effective for the treatment of different skin problems.
This compound is available in commercial products in the form of gel, foam and cream. Azelaic acid is generally used for the treatment of acne, but it is not usually the first choice for a dermatologist.
Properties and benefits of azelaic acid
Basically, azelaic acid has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. This makes it effective in clearing pores of acne-causing bacteria and also combating other problems such as rosacea or sensitive skin. The following are the main properties of azelaic acid.
Azelaic acid has the property of eliminating free radicals and slowing down or reducing inflammatory cascades; the latter are processes that occur every day in the cells. As a result, this compound reduces skin inflammation and attenuates the effects caused by sun exposure.
Another of the most important properties of this substance is its bactericidal effect. It prevents the proliferation of microorganisms that cause skin infections such as comedones or acne. It is broad-spectrum; that is, it attacks different types of bacteria and, unlike antibiotics, it does not cause resistance in these germs.
In the superficial layer of the skin, or epidermis, there is keratin and this is composed of cells called keratinocytes. When they accumulate, they form calluses and can give rise to warts or corns. Azelaic acid helps to reduce the thickness of these keratin-rich areas, which in turn reduces pore clogging.
The pigment that gives color to the skin is called melanin and by the action of an enzyme called tyrosinase can generate spots. Azelaic acid inhibits the action of this enzyme. In addition, unlike other products, it has a selective action, that is, it only works on hyperpigmented areas and not on normal ones.
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This is one of the most valued properties of azelaic acid. Its action leads to reduce the natural production of sebum, which prevents the accumulation of oil in the pores and prevents or corrects the appearance of acne. The best thing is that it does not cause problems for people with sensitive skin.
Uses of azelaic acid
Azelaic acid is mainly used to treat active acne breakouts and/or acne scars. It helps fight bacteria, reduces keratinization present in blackheads or comedones and reduces blemishes left by acne.
This compound is indicated for mild to moderate cases of acne. In any case, it would not be advisable for severe cases. This acid is also often incorporated as part of the treatment of other conditions:
- Rosacea. It can reduce inflammation and visibility of blood vessels.
- Hyperpigmentation of the skin. Any inflammatory lesion on the skin leaves a more or less visible, dark-coloured spot. Azelaic acid helps to reduce it.
- Melasma. These are brown spots that appear on the skin. The acid, or products based on it, help to depigment these areas and lighten the skin naturally.
How should it be used?
Azelaic acid comes in the form of a cream, gel or foam. Instructions for use are printed on the product. It is usually applied twice a day: once in the morning and once at night. It is advisable to do it always at the same time to enhance its effect.
The instructions on the label must be followed to the letter, especially with regard to quantities. The product should not come into contact with the eyes or mouth. If this occurs, remove it with abundant water. It is best to follow these steps:
- Before applying the product, wash the skin thoroughly and dry gently with a towel.
- If it comes in foam, shake the bottle vigorously before use.
- Apply a thin layer on the affected area and massage gently.
- If the product comes in foam, apply all over the face and massage gently.
- Wash your hands thoroughly after applying the medication.
- Once it has been absorbed, it is possible to apply make-up over it.
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Side effects – Azelaic acid for skin
Azelaic acid may cause some side effects in some people. The most common are burning or tingling sensation, peeling, redness or irritation in the area where the product was applied.
There are cases in which other not so common effects appear such as:
- Pain or a feeling of tightness in the joints.
- Difficulty breathing.
If any of these side effects occur, it is advisable to stop using the product immediately and consult a doctor.
Contraindications of azelaic acid
The use of azelaic acid is not recommended in children under 12 years of age. As already noted, contact of this product with the eyes, mouth or other mucous membranes should be avoided. Any allergic reaction implies a contraindication to its use.
Although no adverse effects have been reported in pregnant women, it is best to use extreme caution with the use of this product in that state. Also, newborns should not come into contact with areas of skin that have been treated with azelaic acid.
Azelaic acid for skin