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How to Take Your Azelaic Acid Routine From Ordinary to Extraordinary!

by Ella Goodman 18 Oct 2023

Azelaic acid is the skincare world's underrated darling

And if you've stumbled upon this page, congrats!

You're on the verge of elevating your skincare routine from the ho-hum everyday to the "Woah, what's your secret?" level.

So, without further ado, let's dive deep into the world of azelaic acid and uncover how to make it your skin’s best friend.

What Does Ordinary Azelaic Acid Do?

So first things first: Let’s get clear on what this much-talked-about maestro actually does.

The simple version is that azelaic acid is a powerhouse ingredient, which naturally occurs in grains like barley, wheat, and rye.

But what's so special about it?

Bye-Bye Blemishes: The Bacterial Battlefield

At the core of those unsightly pimples and acne is a never-ending party of bacteria.

Now, while most bacteria are friendly (hello gut health!), the ones causing acne - Propionibacterium acnes, for the nerds out there - aren’t the kind you want on your guest list.

Azelaic acid steps in as the bouncer of this skincare nightclub.

How, you ask?

It curbs the growth of these bacteria in the hair follicles, the tiny sacs from which hair grows. When you lessen these bacteria, you directly cut down the chances of zits popping up. Think of it as your invisible shield against those pesky party crashers!

Even Steven: The Melanin Mediator

Pigmentation, in its simplest form, is due to melanin – the natural pigment that gives our skin, hair, and eyes their color. Sometimes, due to factors like sun exposure, hormonal changes, or even injury, our skin goes into overdrive and produces excess melanin, leading to dark spots or uneven skin tone.

This is where azelaic acid flaunts its genius. It’s like a traffic cop for your melanin production.

By targeting the enzyme tyrosinase, which is crucial in the melanin-production process, azelaic acid ensures that melanin is produced in a more controlled manner.

Over time, this means a noticeable reduction in dark spots and a more even-toned complexion.

So yes, it's not just about reducing pigmentation; it’s about managing how your skin reacts and ensuring it doesn't go overboard.

Smooth Operator: The Gentle Exfoliator

If you’ve ever tried physical exfoliants or scrubs, you know they can sometimes feel like rubbing coarse sandpaper against your face.

Not the most pleasant experience, huh?

In contrast, azelaic acid is a chemical exfoliant, which means it doesn’t rely on gritty particles to do the job. Instead, it gets down to the cellular level.

Azelaic acid speeds up the skin’s natural shedding process, a phenomenon called desquamation. By ensuring that dead skin cells are sloughed off efficiently, it prevents them from settling into pores and causing blockages.

The result? A refined skin texture that’s soft to the touch and free from flaky patches or rough spots.

The A-to-Z of Layering: What Can I Layer with Azelaic Acid?

Crafting the perfect skincare regimen can be a bit like curating the ultimate Spotify playlist. It’s all about combining the right ingredients (or tunes) that enhance and harmonize with one another.

And speaking of such harmonious blends, azelaic acid is not just potent on its own, but is also a maestro when it comes to playing well with others.

Time to delve into the science of what pairs best with this skincare sensation.

Niacinamide: The Dynamic Duo

Let’s start with niacinamide.

Picture this: If azelaic acid is Batman, niacinamide is Robin. Both these ingredients pack a punch with their anti-inflammatory properties.

So, what’s happening beneath the surface?

Skin inflammation can lead to redness, pimples, and a whole host of other issues. Azelaic acid already battles this by curtailing bacterial growth, but when you introduce niacinamide into the mix, you’re amplifying the anti-inflammatory effects.

Niacinamide, a form of Vitamin B3, has the unique ability to strengthen the skin’s barrier, reduce oil production, and diminish the visibility of pores.

What happens then? Well, if you’re dealing with sensitive skin, or conditions like rosacea, these two teaming up can be a game-changer, offering a more resilient and calmed skin environment.

Hyaluronic Acid: The Hydration Heroes

Imagine a sponge that can soak up water many times its weight.

That's hyaluronic acid (HA) for your skin, a moisture-binding molecule. But what happens when you layer it with azelaic acid?

While azelaic acid works on evening out skin tone and texture, HA focuses on delivering deep hydration. It draws moisture from the environment and helps your skin retain it, ensuring it remains plump and dewy.

When you combine the exfoliating and pigmentation-reducing properties of azelaic acid with the moisture-locking power of HA, you’re setting the stage for skin that not only looks radiant but feels supple and well-hydrated round the clock.

Peptides: The Age-Defying Alliance

Time for some biochemistry 101.

Peptides are short chains of amino acids – think of them as mini-proteins. These little guys are essential in the world of skincare because they send signals to cells, instructing them to produce collagen, the protein responsible for youthful, firm skin.

Azelaic acid, with its exfoliating properties, sets the stage by promoting faster cell turnover.

This means that the old, dull skin cells are swept away, making room for fresh, youthful ones. Now, introduce peptides into this scenario. As azelaic acid preps the skin, peptides get to work on boosting collagen production.

The combined result? A formidable force against the early signs of aging, making fine lines and wrinkles less pronounced.

Boosting the Brightness: Azelaic Acid as a Brightening Serum

While it might be tempting to slather on product after product, hoping for that luminous glow, sometimes, less is more.

Using azelaic acid in the form of a brightening serum can be a game-changer. A good serum will not only deliver a potent dose of the active ingredient but also ensure deeper penetration.

Just a drop or two before your moisturizer, and you’re golden!

Mastering the Perfect Routine

Unleashing azelaic acid’s full potential means perfecting your routine.

Here's the nitty-gritty on how to make azelaic acid sing (or rather, make your skin glow)!

Timing is Everything: Find Your Moment

Morning lark or night owl, when should you introduce azelaic acid into your routine?

Both timings have their merits. If you’re a morning person, incorporating azelaic acid can give your skin that fresh start, setting the tone for the day ahead.

But remember, this superhero ingredient can make your skin more sun-sensitive. So, if you’re stepping out, layer up with a broad-spectrum SPF. Think of it as azelaic acid’s trusty sidekick, shielding you from UV rays.

Night owls, on the other hand, might love the idea of azelaic acid working its charm while you catch those Zzz’s. At night, our skin undergoes repair and regeneration, and adding azelaic acid into the mix can bolster this process, making you wake up to brighter, more even-toned skin.

Embrace the Journey: Trust the Process

In this era of instant gratification, it's tempting to want immediate results.

But let’s lay down some truth: Skin transformation isn’t a sprint; it’s a marathon. It’s all about the long game.

Azelaic acid, although a powerhouse, isn’t a magician. It can take weeks, sometimes even a couple of months, to see noticeable changes.

Why? Because our skin cells renew approximately every 30 days. So, for azelaic acid to genuinely showcase its brilliance, it needs several cycles of cellular turnover.

Hang in there, and trust the process. The results? Oh, they'll be worth the wait!

A Little Goes a Long Way: Avoid Overzealous Application

Size does matter – especially when it comes to skincare application.

Think of azelaic acid as a concentrated potion. You don't need a lot; a pea-sized dollop is just right for the face. If you're thinking, “more product, faster results,” pump the brakes! Over-application can lead to irritation, and we definitely don’t want that. Balance is the key.

Hydration: The Unsung Hero of Skincare

You’ve heard it a thousand times – drink water.

But let’s dissect why, especially in the context of azelaic acid.

Skin is like a sponge. For it to absorb products effectively, it needs to be well-hydrated. Dehydrated skin can lead to a compromised barrier, making it less receptive to active ingredients.

Now, introduce water into the equation. Hydrated skin is more pliable, more absorbent. When your skin's moisture levels are optimal, azelaic acid can penetrate better, work more effectively, and deliver results more rapidly.

The Lifestyle Link-Up

Alright, all-stars, let's spill some tea!

Skincare isn't just a surface-level game. It’s an intricate dance of external application and internal action.

While azelaic acid is your topical MVP, let’s delve into the behind-the-scenes lifestyle choices that can crank up its efficacy to 11.

The Inside Story: Food Choices Matter

First up, let's talk diet.

While slathering azelaic acid on your skin is a surefire way to reap its benefits, the foods you munch on play a stellar role too.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Ever heard of them? These are your skin's BFFs.

Found in abundance in foods like fish (think salmon and mackerel), flaxseeds, chia seeds, and walnuts, these essential fatty acids are key to maintaining skin's lipid barrier.

Why is this important? A robust lipid barrier retains moisture, making your skin plump and resilient. When your skin is well-hydrated and healthy, azelaic acid can penetrate deeper and work its magic more efficiently.

Antioxidant-rich Foods: Blueberries, strawberries, and dark chocolate (yes, you read that right!) are packed with antioxidants. These tiny warriors combat free radicals – pesky molecules that can wreak havoc on your skin.

A diet rich in antioxidants means a strong defense system, allowing azelaic acid to focus on brightening and evening out your skin without unnecessary distractions.

Dream On: The Power of Sleep

While Cinderella had to be home by midnight, your skin's party is just getting started.

Nighttime is when your skin rolls up its sleeves and gets to work. This repair and regeneration mode means faster cell turnover and more efficient healing.

Pair that with azelaic acid's prowess, and you've got a recipe for success. Ensuring you snag 7-9 hours of quality sleep not only helps your mind reset but also amplifies the acid's ability to reduce inflammation, tackle hyperpigmentation, and smoothen skin texture.

So, fluff up those pillows and drift into dreamland!

Keep Calm and Stay Cool: Temperature Tales

Let's get sciency for a sec.

Your skin contains tiny blood vessels, and extreme temperatures can cause them to dilate. This leads to redness and inflammation. And while azelaic acid is a pro at reducing inflammation, why add to its workload?

Sun's Fiery Embrace

Sure, a day at the beach sounds divine, but those UV rays? Not your skin's best friends. Coupled with azelaic acid, which makes your skin more sensitive to the sun, you might be looking at unnecessary inflammation. Rock those sunglasses, slap on a hat, and embrace the shade!

Spicy Affair

That extra-hot curry might set your taste buds tingling, but it can also send your skin into overdrive. Spicy foods can trigger flare-ups and redness. If you’re dedicated to maximizing your azelaic acid benefits, maybe dial down the heat on your plate.

Shower Shenanigans

Ah, the allure of a scalding shower! But, much like the sun and spicy foods, hot water can be a tad too aggressive for your skin. Opt for lukewarm showers to keep inflammation at bay and ensure azelaic acid has the ideal playground.

Wrapping It Up: Making Azelaic Acid Your Own

The world of azelaic acid is vast, but the journey to perfecting its use in your routine is worth every step.

Remember, it's all about personalizing the process. Listen to your skin, adjust as you go, and soon, you’ll be reaping the rewards of this skincare superstar.

For those of you who’ve already made azelaic acid a part of your lives, kudos! And if you’re just starting, welcome to the club.

Dive in, and as always, Admire Your Skin with pride!

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