There has never been a better time to overhaul your skincare regimen thanks to the vast array of new and innovative ingredients on the market.
The lesser-known but just as effective (albeit for different reasons) azelaic acid is fast becoming a buzzworthy ingredient in its own right.
To find out how azelaic acid works and why it’s now an essential addition to your skincare routine, we asked leading facialist Jocelyn Petroni for the lowdown.
WHAT IS AZELAIC ACID?
This naturally occurring acid is actually a derivative of yeast and, according to Petroni, is often found in grains such as “wheat, rye and barley”.
“It has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties, making it perfect for sensitive skins as well as a great ingredient for those suffering from acne, skin blemishes, acne scarring, redness, rosacea and more,” Petroni said.
HOW DOES AZELAIC ACID WORK?
According to Petroni, azelaic acid works as a “gentle leave-on exfoliant” and is great for “reducing inflammation, clearing pores and stimulating cell turnover”.
“We will often recommend Azelaic Acid for those experiencing acne, rosacea and pigmentation issues as it delivers essential antioxidants reducing sensitivity and bumps,” Petroni explained.
“Azelaic acid is a pigment-inhibiting ingredient so it’s excellent for the management of dark spots and all pigmentary concerns. It also has the additional benefit of powerful anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties, which prevent acne breakouts. In saying this, it is also much milder than other acids therefore it won’t aggravate or irritate sensitive rosacea skins.
“Finally, it is also a great tyrosinas inhibitor, an enzyme responsible for the production of melanin in the skin. By disrupting this enzyme, Azelaic Acid helps to treat hyperpigmentation and improve the overall brightness of the skin.”
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF AZELAIC ACID?
Petroni calls azelaic acid, “an incredible ingredient for brightening the skin and is especially useful for those experiencing acne, rosacea, inflammation and hyper-pigmentation”.
“It assists in treating a number of skin concerns and conditions including breakouts, acne, acne-scarring, rosacea, pigmentation and discolouration of the skin. Overall it will work to reduce irritation, redness, breakouts leaving clearer, brighter skin,” Petroni said.
IN WHAT KIND OF PRODUCTS IS AZELAIC ACID FOUND?
“Azelaic acid can be found and applied in a number of different product formats including creams, gels, foams and peels,” Petroni said.
“I would recommend working it into your skincare regime via a cream including the ingredient. Cleanse thoroughly then apply your azelaic acid treatment and complete with a hydrating moisturiser over the top once the serum has settled in.
“As for her pick of the best azelaic acid product on the market? Petroni recommends The Ordinary’s Azelaic Acid Suspension 10%, “a silky cream that is easy to use if it’s your first time using this ingredient”.
“I do advise applying at night or letting the Azelaic Acid product settle into the skin before applying any further products over the top as peeling of the skin may occur,” Petroni added.
IS THERE ANYTHING PEOPLE SHOULD KNOW BEFORE USING AZELAIC ACID?
Petroni warned of potential burning or stinging sensations when applying azelaic acid to the skin, but said these tend to subside “quite quickly” and are normal.
Of course, “if you experience any adverse reactions such as burning or continued stinging from the product, always immediately discontinue use,” Petroni advised.
Words by Susannah Guthrie for Harpers Bazaar