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Azelaic Acid vs Glycolic Acid: Which Is Better?

by Ella Goodman 08 Mar 2024

Hey peeps! 

Ready for a skin care ride that'll have you like 'whoa?' 

You asked for it, and here it is - our ultimate showdown - azelaic acid vs glycolic acid

We've sifted through the beauty grapevine, pulled out the glam secrets, and now, we're dishing them out.

Because your skincare wishes are our command, and we want you to make the best choices!

Which one is better: azelaic acid or glycolic acid?

It’s an interesting choice. But you also don’t have to pick one or the other.

Just like your favorite sweets, these acids satisfy different cravings in your skincare regimen.  

Picture Azelaic acid (we’ll call it Aze for short) as the champion of your skin's distress call.

Dealing with nasty skin issues such as acne, rosacea, or hyperpigmentation? Aze will come to your rescue! 

This rockstar ingredient doesn't just target the surface problems; it goes deep into your skin cells, inhibiting the growth of keratin-producing cells that can block your pores leading to acne. 

And it doesn't stop there! Aze makes sure to regulate your skin's melanin production too, efficiently tackling hyperpigmentation.

But the real kicker about our friend Aze? It's as gentle as a baby's touch. 

For those with sensitive skin that trembles at the mere mention of acids, Aze is a superhero that doesn't wear a cape. It calmly presents itself, reduces inflammation, fights free radicals, and discretely fades into the background.

Now, let's turn our attention to the audacious Glycolic acid (who we’ll call Gly), the bold and daring member of the Alpha-Hydroxy Acid family. 

Gly might come across a little stronger, but don't let that intimidate you. It's focused on its job: exfoliating the upper layer of your skin. 

Imagine the dead skin cells as a dusty, old cover on your skin. Gly's role is to power through that dull layer, revealing a fresh, radiant you underneath.

If your aim is to brighten, smooth out fine lines, or improve your skin texture, then Gly is your sure-fire weapon of choice. It works by breaking down the glue holding dead skin cells together, taking up the role of a microscopic janitor sweating out to vacuum the gunk off of your radiant complexion.

So, as we mull over the Aze versus Gly debate, remember this: they've got different skill sets and shine in their roles. They're not here to compete but complement your skincare routine.

The ultimate decider in this epic "acid showdown" is your skin type, condition, and the specific skin concerns you are looking to address. 

Have a chit-chat with your skin; understand its needs and dislikes. It's your body's largest organ, and it deserves to have its voice heard.

So whether you choose "Aze" or "Gly", know that both are stand-out performers in the world of skincare; it's more about figuring out which concert your skin wants to attend. 

Whether you're team Aze, handling sensitivity and hyperpigmentation with a gentle touch, or team Gly, bravely battling dullness, texture irregularities, and lines — remember, these are both great choices for different skin scenarios.

Can't decide? Be adventurous, experiment! The skincare track is wide, and you've got many laps to run.

Can I use azelaic acid and glycolic together?

Step into the skincare ring, and you might be wondering whether these two can tag team for that ultimate glow-up. 

While not quite WWE, this could certainly be a match made in skin-heaven, producing a one-two punch that leaves your complexion championing radiance and smoothness. 

But before we dive into the details, let's get to know our players a bit better.

'Aze' is often heralded as the gentle soul of skincare, an anti-inflammatory element that soothes, while also tackling hyperpigmentation by gently inhibiting the production of melanin. 

Our other contender, 'Gly' is the reigning champion of exfoliation. The smallest of the alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA) set, Gly dives deep into your pores, breaking up the bonds between dead skin, and quite literally, unmasking your glowing complexion. 

Now, can Aze and Gly work together harmoniously? Definitely yes, but not without caution.

Think about it like crafting a sophisticated cocktail. You wouldn’t just dump in ingredients randomly, correct? 

Just like creating that perfect drink, blending Aze and Gly requires precise measure, the right ratio, and a deep understanding of how these ingredients behave side by side. 

While Azelaic acid is neutral and has a higher pH of around 4.9, Glycolic acid is more acidic, with a pH around 3.5. When you merge these two together, the pH could dip even further, turning it into a stronger cocktail - impressive, but potentially, also an overkill.


What evens out this formula or makes it a ‘safe bet’ is introducing a serum into the equation. 

The right serum, developed by the chemistry whizzes in white lab coats, ensures that your face isn't exposed to an overly acid-heavy product. 

Serums are smart - they offer the acids in stabilized formulations that are buffered between hydrating ingredients like fatty alcohols and soothing, reparative nutrients. 

These additions cushion the impact of the acids, offer you controlled exfoliation, and aid in quicker skin recovery. This prevents skin issues such as dryness, flaking, or irritation.

In the simplest terms, when Gly and Aze are mixed in a serum (like our very own ultra-potent Brightening Serum!), they create a potent duo that targets a range of skin concerns from uneven tone and texture to acne and redness. 

Gly will regularly exfoliate the top layer of dead skin cells while Aze will step up to calm inflammation and brighten the skin. 

It's like employing a demolition crew and the cleanup team at the same time - an efficient process!

That being said, as with any new skincare venture, it is essential to do a patch test on a small patch of your skin. Monitor your skin's reaction to the mixture before slathering it all over your face, just to be on the safe side. 

Which acid is best for hyperpigmentation?

If you're battling the hyperpigmentation supervillain, then step into the glowing embrace of Azelaic acid. 

This shimmering superhero of skin care is a fantastic contender in the fight against zones of darkened skin and over-pigmentation brought on by the ravages of sunlight or the remnants of pored skirmishes with acne.

Now, it’s not just whimsical banter—there’s a method to this madness. 

It’s all rooted in the cool discipline of science. 

Aze is a pigment power-player because it gently decelerates the production of melanin, that brownish-black pigment that can sometimes busily overpopulate in certain splotches of your skin, resulting in hyperpigmentation. 

By putting a speed bump on melanin production, Aze gently guides your skin towards an even-toned finish, making your face look like it's perpetually bathed in the light of a thousand sunsets. 


But wait, another contender strides into the arena.

Although it might not pack as powerful a punch as our powerhouse Aze, Gly is by no means a lightweight in this game.

Glycolic acid, derived from sugar cane, isn't only about sweetness; it has a bright brilliance to it, like a smile caught in a sunbeam. It's a top-tier exfoliator, sweeping away the dead cells that can make skin look dull and lackluster. 

Although its primary aim isn’t necessarily targeting hyperpigmentation, it ends up chipping away at it in the process, slowly but surely fading those pesky dark spots. It's like the charming underdog of acids in this battle—potentially unexpected, but undeniably effective.

Now the big question remains—should you deploy Aze or Gly to combat your hyperpigmentation foe? 

Ultimately, it really depends on your skin’s unique chemistry. Some skins may react better to Aze, while others might be singing the praises of Gly. 

Either way, both contenders are proven winners in their unique ways, battling back the shadows of hyperpigmentation and showing your skin who's boss.

So, buckle up and get ready for a rollercoaster ride to a brighter complexion. 

Strap in, take a deep breath, and let Aze or Gly (or both!) be your navigator in this journey, guiding your way through the winding paths of pigmentation towards a skin that gleams with the radiance of victory over hyperpigmentation.

Which acid is best for skin glow?

Seeking that glow that often only exists in the filtered world of social media? 

The secret may just lie in your choice of acid for skincare.

Gly has a unique talent for exfoliation – he's the skincare equivalent of that friend who always helps you declutter when you're feeling overwhelmed. 

As Gly goes about his diligent work of exfoliating, he nonchalantly shaves off dead skin cells, and voila! Your fresh, new skin shines through like the first rays of dawn, adding a dewy luster worthy of an influencer's envy!

Now, fair warning: Gly, like all good friends, is honest and does his job a little too well, leading your skin to be more sun-sensitive. 

So if you're planning an outing with Gly, bring a big hat or better yet, a generous amount of sunscreen. 

We wouldn’t want all that hard work to be undone by the harsh reality of UV rays.

Still unsure if Gly is enough for you?

Combining the brightening benefits of azelaic acid, or "Aze" - our other skin superstar, with Gly creates a harmonious symphony, a potent cocktail that's nothing short of a recipe for radiance. 

The unique attributes of Aze and Gly form a team that enhances your glow and reveals a brightened complexion that might give the Insta-filters a run for their money.

Let's pause here and take a breather. 

This beauty drill is all pretty exhilarating, but like any good skincare regimen or superhero squad, balance is key. 

To truly empower your skin to shine, it's crucial to take the time to check in with your complexion. 

While Gly and Aze may sound like your ideal glow-getter co-conspirators, remember each complexion is unique, and yours may need a different kind of TLC.

Our skin, akin to a delicate piece of art, has its boundaries – and pushing these is not an act of love. 

We must be conscious skincare warriors, who experiment wisely, understand the nuances of our individual skin needs, and choose products that serve us best.

Wrapping it up

Dearest reader, the journey to uncovering your inner glow might seem endless, but remember this - knowledge is power. 

The more informed you are about the potent power within a bottle of skincare acid, the wiser your choice will be. 

As you step forth on this radiant journey, remember that the love for your skin is real and irreplaceable. 

Be it team Aze, Gly, or the blended serum squad, there's a glowing future awaiting you!

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