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Should You Use Azelaic Acid Before or After Kojic Acid?

by Ella Goodman 30 Jan 2024

Hey there, skincare aficionados!

Are you ready to mix up your routine with some serious skincare magic?

Today, we're diving deep into the world of azelaic and kojic acid.

Forget the confusion and contradictory advice; we're about to spill the real tea on how these ingredients can be the game-changers you've been looking for.

Let's embark on this journey to unlock the brightest, most radiant version of your skin yet!

Which Goes First: Azelaic Acid or Kojic Acid?

So, you’ve got your hands on both azelaic and kojic acid, and you’re standing in front of your mirror wondering, “Which one do I slap on first?”

Let’s get into it!

Azelaic acid is like your skin's first line of defense. It’s a multitasker – reducing inflammation, killing acne-causing bacteria, and gently exfoliating your skin.

Its molecular structure allows it to penetrate your skin without causing irritation, making it the perfect prep step in your skincare routine.

Think of it as priming your canvas, ensuring that everything you apply afterwards is more effective.

Now, enter kojic acid, the secret weapon in your skin-brightening arsenal.

Derived from fungi, kojic acid’s primary role is to fade hyperpigmentation and even out your skin tone.

It works by inhibiting the production of melanin, the pigment that gives your skin its color.

When applied after azelaic acid, it's like adding high-definition details to your already primed canvas. The azelaic acid has paved the way, reducing inflammation and smoothing the skin, allowing kojic acid to penetrate more effectively and work its brightening magic.

But here’s the real game-changer: consider using a serum that combines both azelaic and kojic acids. Not sure where to start? Our ultra-potent Brightening Serum is your pick. It’s the skincare equivalent of a power-packed smoothie.

Not only do you get the inflammation-busting, bacteria-fighting prowess of azelaic acid, but you also get the pigmentation-fading, skin-brightening benefits of kojic acid, all in one go — plus a myriad of other glow-boosting goodies to boot.

This isn't just convenient; it's a strategic move to get the best of both worlds.

However, if you're a purist at heart and love your layering ritual, stick to this order: azelaic acid first, followed by kojic acid.

Here’s a pro tip: give each product enough time to absorb into your skin. Patience is key – it’s like letting each coat of paint dry before applying the next in your art masterpiece.

Remember, skin sensitivity varies. While this dynamic duo is generally a match made in skincare heaven, always listen to your skin.

If you experience any irritation, stagger their use (azelaic acid in the morning, kojic acid at night, perhaps). It's all about finding that skincare rhythm that works in harmony with your skin's needs.

To sum up — whether you're layering or opting for a combined serum, azelaic and kojic acid are a formidable pair in the quest for flawless skin.

Start with azelaic acid to lay a solid foundation, and then bring in kojic acid for that luminous finish. Or, embrace the ease and efficacy of a combined serum.

This isn't just skincare; it's skin artistry, where you're the master of your glowing, radiant masterpiece.

Can I Layer Azelaic Acid and Kojic Acid?

Stepping into the world of layering skincare products can feel like being a conductor orchestrating a skincare symphony.

The instruments? Azelaic and kojic acid, of course.

But before you start layering these power players, let’s turn the volume up on some skincare science. This isn't just about slapping one product over another; it's about understanding how they interact on your skin’s stage.

First up, azelaic acid.

Think of it as the soothing opener in your skincare concert.

Known for its gentleness, azelaic acid is a real crowd-pleaser for sensitive skin types. Its composition allows it to tackle several skin concerns simultaneously.


Well, azelaic acid is a dicarboxylic acid (which may ring some bells from high school chemistry!) that works wonders in reducing inflammation and killing bacteria that cause acne.

Plus, it’s a gentle exfoliant, helping to unclog pores and refine skin texture. When you apply azelaic acid first, you're setting up a calm, clean base for the next act.

Now, enter kojic acid, the showstopper of skin brightening.

Kojic acid’s claim to fame is its ability to fade hyperpigmentation and even out skin tone.

To refresh your memory on the key need-to-knows: Kojic acid works its magic by inhibiting the production of melanin. By applying kojic acid after azelaic acid, you're ensuring that your skin is primed and ready to fully absorb and benefit from its melanin-inhibiting properties.

It's like laying down a smooth, calming track with azelaic acid before kojic acid comes in with its vibrant melody.

But here’s where it gets exciting: timing is everything.

After applying azelaic acid, give your skin a moment to breathe. Imagine a brief intermission in your skincare routine – this pause allows azelaic acid to fully absorb and start working its magic.

Then, when the stage is set, bring in kojic acid. This not only maximizes each ingredient's effectiveness but also minimizes potential irritation. It's about creating harmony, not chaos.

Also, consider the texture of your products.

If your azelaic acid is in a heavier cream form and kojic acid in a lighter serum, reverse the order.

Lighter textures first, heavier ones after. Think of it as dressing for a fancy event – you wouldn’t wear your coat under your dress, right?

What to Pair with Azelaic Acid for Hyperpigmentation?

So, you're on a mission to fade those stubborn dark spots and hyperpigmentation, and azelaic acid has entered your skincare lineup.

But wait, there's more!

Imagine azelaic acid not as a solo artist but as the lead singer of a supergroup, where each member brings their unique talent to the stage.

We're talking about a blend of vitamin C, lactic acid, and salicylic acid, all teaming up to give you that spotlight-worthy glow.

Now, there are also certain backup singers it doesn’t harmonize so well with — but that’s another story

Let's break down this ensemble and discover how azelaic acid and its BFFs create skincare harmony.

Vitamin C: The Radiant Riff

Think of vitamin C as the guitarist, laying down the riffs that catch everyone's attention.

 In skincare, vitamin C is the ultimate brightener and antioxidant. It’s like your skin’s personal bodyguard against environmental aggressors.

When combined with azelaic acid, vitamin C works to fade hyperpigmentation while also giving your skin an overall bright, even tone. It's like adding a high-energy solo that gets everyone on their feet.

Lactic Acid: The Smooth Bassline

Now, enter lactic acid, the bassist of the group, providing the smooth undertones.

As a milder alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA), lactic acid gently exfoliates the skin, sloughing off dead skin cells to reveal brighter, newer skin underneath.

It works in tandem with azelaic acid, enhancing the fading of dark spots while ensuring your skin remains hydrated and supple.

Think of it as the bassline that’s subtle but essential, keeping everything in rhythm.

Salicylic Acid: The Percussive Beat

Salicylic acid steps in as the drummer, setting the beat and keeping the rhythm tight.

As a beta-hydroxy acid (BHA), it’s oil-soluble, penetrating deep into pores to clear out excess oil and dead skin cells.

This is particularly beneficial if your hyperpigmentation is post-acne, as salicylic acid helps prevent future breakouts. It’s the percussive element that ensures the skin stays clear and the texture refined.

Is Kojic or Azelaic Acid Better?

Asking whether kojic or azelaic acid is better is like asking if chocolate or vanilla is tastier – both are amazing in their own right!

But which one takes the cake for your skin? Let's break down their superpowers and see how they can be the heroes in your skincare saga.

Kojic Acid: The Brightening Maestro

Picture kojic acid as the maestro of brightening, wielding its baton to orchestrate a flawless, radiant complexion.

Now, what makes kojic acid a standout? It's its ability to tackle hyperpigmentation and age spots with the precision of a skilled artist, of course.

Imagine kojic acid as a gentle but effective eraser, gradually fading away those unwanted marks and blemishes, leaving your skin looking like it’s lit from within.

It's particularly effective for those who want to address sun damage, melasma, or those post-acne marks that just won’t bid adieu.

Azelaic Acid: The Inflammation Whisperer

Now, let's turn the spotlight to azelaic acid, the inflammation whisperer.

Forgotten this multitasker’s claim to fame? Its ability to calm inflammation, reduce acne, and even treat rosacea. It works like a skilled diplomat, negotiating peace between your skin and irritants, reducing redness and swelling with ease.

Plus, it's an ace at unclogging pores and keeping acne at bay. If your skin is prone to breakouts or has a red, angry demeanor that needs soothing, azelaic acid is your go-to hero.

Customizing Your Skincare Routine

So, which is better?

The answer lies in your skin's unique story. It's about tuning into your skin's needs and orchestrating your skincare routine accordingly.

If hyperpigmentation and age spots are your main concern, let kojic acid take the lead.

But if acne and redness are crashing your skin party, azelaic acid is your bouncer.

Crafting Your Skincare Symphony

Whether you choose to combine them in a serum or layer them separately, the goal is to listen to your skin and treat it like the VIP it is.

Skincare is not just a routine; it’s a form of self-love and expression.

So, experiment with confidence, embrace the journey, and get ready to flaunt that radiant, envy-inducing skin.

Remember, in the realm of skincare, you’re the maestro, and with the right ingredients, you can compose a masterpiece!

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