* A dicarboxylic acid, naturally derived from wheat.
Works as an anti-acne agent, bleaching agent, and to a lesser extent, as a treatment for Rosacea. It functions an anti-bacterial and keratolytic, meaning it returns any abnormal growths on the skin back to normal. For this reason, it is primarily used to clear up bacteria-infested acne, and prevent future outbreaks. Research has shown it to have similar acne-fighting effects as prescription strength Tretinoin, an ingredient notorious for yielding unfavorable side effects such as skin peeling, stinging, and dryness.
With respect to its skin lightening properties, one double-blind study, demonstrated a 20% Azelaic acid cream to yield 65% good or excellent result in just 24 weeks. Many regard it as a safer alternative to hydroquinone because it does not cause the usual skin irritation and sensitization associated with many other skin bleaching agents. Furthermore, more and more studies are pointing to its effectiveness in reducing the flushing, lesions, and inflammation common in many Rosacea patients.
It is available in concentrations high as 20% by prescription only, under the name Azelex. Lower concentrations (up to 10%) of the ingredient are used in a variety of Over the Counter (OTC) cosmetics such as lotion/crèmes, cleansers, serums, toners, acne treatments and face masks.
Safety Measures/Side Effects:
When used in prescription strength to treat acne, Azelaic Acid may lead to a burning, stinging, tingling or itching skin. However, these symptoms usually subside within a few weeks of use, and are generally much less frequent than with most other anti-acne prescription medications. In addition, because the ingredient has been shown to promote hair growth, it is possible for one to experience excessive facial hair growth when topically applying this ingredient to the face. This has been an FDA approved ingredient since 2002.