Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Azelaic acid for acne, hyperpigmentation, and rosacea: does it work?

Azelex and Finacea are brand names for prescription topical antibiotic creams containing azelaic acid that is used for treating acne as well as rosacea. It is said to be less irritating than other topical blemish medications derived from vitamin A like Retin-A, which can cause a lot of redness and flaking. This, of course, is imperative for anything addressing rosacea, which is red, irritated skin.

If you google “azelaic acid,” something like this will come up: Azelaic acid is most frequently prescribed for rosacea sufferers, because it’s crazy-effective at decreasing the inflammation that causes rosacea’s trademark redness. The ingredient is also antibacterial, making it helpful for decreasing acne. It also helps fade the dark spots acne leaves behind.

Azelex contains 20% azelaic acid, which comes from wheat and grain. It helps to decrease inflammation and is an antimicrobial, which means it kills bacteria. Azelaic acid’s antibacterial abilities are similar to essential oils, and I happen to be a fan of essential oils. They are easy to find, inexpensive, and do not require a doctor’s prescription. I also think essential oils work better than most topical medications used to diminish blemishes.

One of the more interesting benefits listed for azelaic acid and specifically Azelex is its reported ability to lessen pigmentation. It doesn’t have a bleaching action, but helps to disrupt the melanocytes’ activity, inhibiting melanin production wherever the product is applied. This theory is not absolute, but it might be one way to help lessen hyperpigmentation.

Some topical medications, however, can have the opposite effect, causing photo or sun sensitivity, which actually increases pigmentation. It just goes to show you nothing works for everybody. Rosacea is another skin condition this antibiotic cream is reported to be beneficial for.

All of my writing is experience-based—either personal or from my clients’ experiences. To date, I haven’t had enough clients using this treatment cream either for rosacea or acne issues to give you anything other than the facts available on this product’s label. When I have more information from my client’s experiences, I will include it here.

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