Ingredient Highlight – Azelaic Acid

Ask any skincare nerd about their favourite ingredient and be prepared to listen about the virtues of retinol/vitamin C/AHAs and what a difference it made to their skin (we are guilty of that, too). But if you have blemish-prone sensitive skin or suffer from rosacea, it can be difficult to find that one ingredient that works. Have you tried Azelaic acid?

What is Azelaic acid?

Azelaic acid is a dicarboxylic acid from yeast. It is produced by Malassezia furfur, a yeast that is typically found on the skin. Grain, like barley or rye, is also a source of Azelaic acid. Topical products often contain a synthetic form.

Benefits of Azelaic acid

Azelaic acid has many notable benefits for the skin.

  • Like other acids, it gently exfoliates the skin
  • It scavenges free radicals and acts as an antioxidant
  • It acts as an anti-inflammatory
  • It has antibacterial properties
  • It acts as a comedolytic and keratolytic
  • It helps to reduce post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation

Who is Azelaic acid for?

The beauty of Azelaic acid is, that it is a well-tolerated skincare ingredient. It is suitable for people prone to breakouts and acne. It eases congestion, treats and prevents blemishes, and calms inflammation. People with sensitive skin or rosacea, respond well to Azelaic acid because of its anti-inflammatory properties.

In prescription-strength products, the percentage used is either 15% or 20%. In over-the-counter products, the usual percentage is 10%.

A 3-month study was conducted on 92 patients with moderate inflammatory acne, who used 20% Azelaic acid cream. It significantly reduced both inflamed and non-inflamed lesions. A single-blind study of 289 patients with comedonal acne compared the effects of a topical product with 20% Azelaic acid and 0.05% tretinoin cream. Azelaic acid was equally effective as tretinoin, but with fewer side-effects.

In terms of post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, Azelaic acid works by inhibiting tyrosinase, an enzyme needed for the production of melatonin. When you combine that with its anti-inflammatory properties, it is easy to understand why it is a ride-or-die ingredient for many acne sufferers.

How long should you use Azelaic acid?

It all depends on what you are trying to treat. Allow at least four to six weeks to see if it is beneficial for your skin. If you never used Azelaic acid before, as with any new skincare product, patch test first to see how your skin will respond.


10% Azeloyl Glycine is the key ingredient in our Azeloyl 10 Moisturiser. It is a derivative of Azelaic acid. The active is transformed into a skin-soothing molecule by binding the acid molecule with the amino acid Glycine.

What does that mean? Just like Azelaic acid, it gently exfoliates the skin and treats and prevents blemishes. Furthermore, it helps fade post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. The added benefit is it also moisturises and firms the skin. Likewise, Azeloyl Glycine has excellent sebum regulating properties. Azeloyl 10 Moisturiser is best suited for combination, oily, and sensitive skin types who are prone to blemishes.

Roberta Striga