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How to Use Azelaic Acid CORRECTLY for Best Results!

by Ella Goodman 21 Mar 2024

Alright, friends... 

who's ready for a deep dive into the pretty fab world of... 

wait for it... 

azelaic acid? 

Now, before you furrow your brow and ask, "Azelaic what-now?", let me assure you, this is a skincare miracle worker you didn't know you needed.

Your brave companion on this skincare journey here is your friendly neighborhood Helper (that's me!) and my mission is to break down the ABCs of azelaic acid.

So by the end, you’ll know exactly how to incorporate it into your skincare ro

How is azelaic acid used in a routine?

Let's look at the process in detail. 

When you go to a concert, the opening act prepares you for the main event. In our skincare concert, cleansing your face comes first. 

Washing gets rid of dirt, oil, and makeup so your skin is clean and ready for the rest. Savvy concert-goers know to arrive early for the opener. 

Next comes the toning. Think of toning as the stage techs setting up for the headline act. Your toner works backstage, prepping your skin, getting it ready for the spotlight. 

No big star strolls on without a stage set, right? Toning balances your skin's pH levels, ensuring azelaic acid can give the best performance. 

Spotlights on! Azelaic acid, our star, runs the show now. 

Don't rush it, this stuff needs some solo time to perform its magic! Think of it as an indie artist that fills the concert hall with the acoustic version of their most iconic hit. There's a kind of science behind azelaic acid's performance. 

This superstar molecule acts on your skin by reducing inflammation, unclogging pores and lightening pigmentation - like a well-rounded triple-threat artist!

Once the performance is over and the crowd is still buzzing, the artist exits the stage, and the crew begins the clean-up. This is where moisturizing steps up. The moisturizing step is like the after-party, where hydration levels are heightened while the powerful impacts of azelaic acid continue to work their magic. 

Just as the after-party keeps the concert vibe going, your moisturizer ensures that your skin stays smooth, hydrated, and happy.

Now, let's break down the nitty-gritty, that is, when to apply azelaic acid — morning or night. 

The beautiful thing about azelaic acid is that it can fit into any setlist! You can use it as a morning routine to start the day on a high note or make it a part of your evening wind-down playlist. 

This flexibility comes from its non-photosensitive nature, meaning it won't react negatively to sunlight— unlike some diva ingredients.

Remember, azelaic acid, like any great performance, needs time to work its magic. So don't expect overnight miracles. Just as a concert experience lingers in your mind, the azelaic acid effects gradually materialize, with consistent use making for an even better experience.

Also, keep in mind to be cautious with the amount of azelaic acid you use. It's powerful stuff. Like the volume at a concert, you don't want it too high at first. Gradually increase as your skin tolerance builds up.

By now, you're a professional concert-goer and azelaic acid user! As you follow this skincare setlist, feel free to shuffle and personalize to meet your unique skin's needs. 

How should you apply azelaic acid?

Introducing azelaic acid into your skincare regimen is a bit like baking a loaf of bread. It requires precision, patience, and a willingness to learn from any missteps. 

But don't worry, you won't need an apron for this endeavor. 

Firstly, it's imperative to know how much to use. Too little and you're robbing your skin of its potential benefits. Too much, and you risk an unpleasant reaction. 

Think of applying azelaic acid in terms of petite peas - a pea-sized amount is just about perfect. Now, you may be imagining those hefty jumbo peas, but let's zoom in a little closer – you want this to mirror a petit pois pea. 

You've got your measurement sorted – so, what's next? 

Strategically apply the azelaic acid to your face. It's not a dollop and smear situation; the aim is for an even distribution that will indulge every inch of your skin's surface. Position tiny dots of the product on your forehead, cheeks, nose, and chin - basically, the main sections of the face. 

Now, the fun part: massage it in. Use the pads of your fingers to thoroughly work the product into your skin, using small, circular motions. 

This isn't solely about ensuring the azelaic acid is well-absorbed. It's a moment of connection with yourself. Appreciate this as 'me-time'– and who knows, you might just discover a skincare routine doubles as a zen routine! 

Look here's the crux of the matter: there is no 'quick fix' in skincare. We're sorry to break it to you, but Cinderella transformations are confined to fairytales. 

Your skin is your largest organ; it breathes, protects, and renews, constantly. This process takes time and must be respected. As with that good loaf of bread you lovingly nurtured, you can't rush perfection. 

When it comes to azelaic acid, the same rule applies. It is not about immediate results, but consistent application. So, make azelaic acid a regular, predictable part of your skincare routine. 

Do you put azelaic acid on before or after moisturizer?

So we know by now that azelaic acid is a superhero in skincare, touted for its ability to brighten skin tone, reduce inflammation, and smooth out your skin's texture. It's quite the all-in-one.

But to allow it to fully perform its powerful deeds, it's essential to let the azelaic acid come into direct contact with the skin. 

If applied after the moisturizer, it'd be like sending our superhero in with a weighted jacket. And we're not sabotaging our skincare here!

Remember, it's all about that 'order of operation.' Generally, skincare goodies are applied in a specific sequence: from the thinnest to the thickest consistencies.

Here's where it gets scientific: it's because of molecular size. Skinny molecules move faster and penetrate better. Chunky ones take their sweet time. 

In the 'skincare relay,' azelaic acid is one of the thin, fast ones. So surrendering it first to your skin just makes sense. 

Plus, moisturizers and creams often have a thicker formula. These act as a 'seal,' locking in all thin consistency products and preventing them from evaporating away. 

Now, let's talk practicalities. 

While applying azelaic acid before moisturizer may seem like a minor change in your routine, it can make a world of difference. So, let's get it right.

The key is to wait a moment. Chances are, you aren't exploiting the power of the pause. After washing your face, apply your azelaic acid (bonus points if it's onto slightly damp skin) and catch your breath. 

Do the dishes, scroll through your phone, read a chapter of your book. Whatever floats your boat. This pause time lets the azelaic acid sink deep into your skin and allows its skin-brightening, bacteria-fighting powers to get to work.

Then... Moisturizer alert! Slathering it on top creates a barrier that locks in the azelaic acid, sealing all that goodness in. So you're not just buffering away any potential irritation, you're also making sure the acid sticks around to do its job.

Word to the wise though: note your skin's reaction. If post-acid, your skin is dry, irritated or experiencing an Indiana Jones-level quest to remove a face mask, reconsider the order. Yes, that means you may need to apply your moisturizer first in this case.

And if you're still left thinking, "But... why?" Remember that skincare is a science, not a one-size-fits-all scenario. 

Skin is your body's largest organ, after all, and as unique as your fingerprint. Making the most of azelaic acid depends on understanding its properties and how to harness its power in the context of your individual skincare routine.

Do you use azelaic acid everyday?

Right, on to the real question: should you have a daily rendezvous with azelaic acid or just occasional catch-ups like a distant relative? 

Well, like a sugar addiction or the use of that catchy pop track, the desire to use azelaic acid daily can be hard to resist. 

However, you may soon realize that the 'sun don't shine every day'. Just as the lyrics suggest, too much of a good thing can sometimes lead to not-so-good repercussions. 

In the vibrant but delicate world of skin care, going overboard might land you into the territory of skin irritation. Not your dream vacation spot, certainly! 

So, how about we play it safe? Switch to a step-by-step approach. Start with occasional applications of azelaic acid, say twice a week, and observe how your skin responds. As it acclimates and grows familiar with the new norm, slowly hike up the frequency.

Next stop, we journey into a very spookily-named section - The Uncharted Territory. 

Let's decode some lesser-known facts about azelaic acid.

The Uncharted Territory: Azelaic Acid and its Influences on Nail Health

Surprised? The plot thickens!

Though azelaic acid isn't directly allied with nail care, its usage has been linked to improved nail health. 

It's all a ‘cycle of life’ thing. Skin cells, nail cells, they're all regenerated regularly, and need proper nutrition to thrive. Azelaic acid comes into play as it promotes healthy absorption of vitamins through the skin which extends a helping hand towards your nails as well.

Sneaky, yet pretty awesome, eh?


1. Can I weave in other active ingredients with azelaic acid?

You bet! It's as sociable as a product can get. Combinations with niacinamide or hyaluronic acid are highly recommended.

2. Can I buddy-up with azelaic acid despite having sensitive skin?

Absolutely yes! Just remember to take it slow - like a gentle waltz rather than a frantic breakdance.

3. Is azelaic acid pregnancy-friendly?

It's generally given a thumbs up for use during pregnancy. However, an expert consultation is always a wise move before incorporating it into your routine.

…Aaaand stop

What a journey! Pat yourself on the back, as you're now armed with a pro-level understanding of azelaic acid. 

Take the reins and harness this knowledge to nurture and illuminate your skin. Now glow forth, you dazzling comet!

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