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Should You Use Azelaic Acid on Wet or Dry Skin?

by Ella Goodman 13 Mar 2024

Hey glow-getters!

Ever wondered what the ideal state of your skin would be while applying a skin-brightening favorite like azelaic acid?

Grab your favorite beauty headband, and let's dive deep into this (surprisingly important) topic!

Should you put azelaic acid on damp skin?

Long story short? Make sure your skin's dry before applying azelaic acid.

The reason is that damp skin absorbs ingredients better. Sometimes too well.

Sound confusing? Let's delve a bit deeper into the why.

Skin works as a protective barrier, controlling absorption and loss of water.

Ever notice how a prolonged bath can leave your fingers resembling prunes? This is your skin becoming super absorbent, ready to soak up anything it encounters.

Now, as appealing as it might be to think of your favorite skincare potion sinking in deep, this isn’t always as advantageous as it sounds.

With azelaic acid, over-absorption can in fact backfire, leading to unnecessary skin irritation.

Azelaic acid works by sloughing off dead skin cells, preventing them from clogging pores – a superhero fighting against spots, redness, and inflammation.

But like many superheroes, azelaic acid comes with a potent punch. Apply it on damp skin, and that punch hits too hard, too fast, potentially leading to skin irritation or a sensitivity response.

Skin when wet or damp tends to be more prone to irritation.

If you imagine your skin cells are like bricks, the mortar between them loosens when wet.

So applying azelaic acid then, where it can slip into deeper layers of skin, might just be as smart as detonating a bomb inside a fort. You may be enabling the ingredient to be more effective, but you're also throwing the door wide open for potential discomfort.

Having said that, this superhero can absolutely be tamed.

The method for taming lies within allowing the skin to return to its naturally designed state of readiness to accept new ingredients. After cleansing, get into the habit of gently patting your skin dry with a clean towel.

Also, to help your skin withstand the potent properties of azelaic acid, try sandwiching it between layers of soothing hydrators.

Apply a thin layer of moisturizer before and after the acid. Doing so helps to create a neutralizing buffer, mitigating the chances of your skin throwing a fit.

Yet, care should also be taken with the quantity of azelaic acid you're using. A pea-sized amount is usually more than sufficient.

And remember, persistent redness or prickling sensations are not signs of the product working, but rather indicators that your skin is protesting.

So, attractive as the idea of 'fast-absorbing' may sound, in this case, full absorption is actually not your friend.

By applying azelaic acid on dry skin, you are ensuring a controlled delivery of the acid. This increases its chances of acting on the surface level mainly, mitigating side effects, and maximizing the benefits.

So there you have it; azelaic acid and damp skin are not a match made in skin-heaven.

But with careful application, azelaic acid can be the perfect ally in your skin-perfecting arsenal. All hail controlled delivery!

What is the correct way to use azelaic acid?

The good news? It's not one-size-fits-all.

Maybe you prefer your azelaic acid post-cleanse and pre-zzz's. Or maybe sunrise fits better into your schedule.

That's okay too! It's about finding your rhythm, and sticking to it.

Now, the quantity of azelaic acid used can be a tricky business, but always remember that less is more.

Like the beauty equivalent of a soufflé, the right amount ensures rise and radiance without overdoing it. Think pea-sized, not golf ball-sized.

So, you've cleansed, you've applied, but you're not done yet. Let it dry and soak into your skin before rushing to the next step.

You wouldn’t step out in the pouring rain with freshly painted nails now, would you? It's the same principle here. Patience is a virtue, especially when dealing with azelaic acid.

Once the azelaic acid has had time to get cozy with your skin, you can proceed with the rest of your routine. Perhaps a luxurious moisturizer to seal the deal, or those cooling jade rollers that have taken the Internet by storm. You know your skin best.

However, remember, azelaic acid is your skincare routine’s quarterback.

But just as a successful football team needs a roster of strong players, your skincare routine could benefit from a couple of carefully chosen teammates like a hydrating serum or a retinoid, as long as it doesn’t feel like too many cooks in the kitchen.

And what of those reddish flare-ups, common to rosacea sufferers or those with sensitive skin? Could azelaic acid be the knight in shining armor you've been praying for?

Possibly. Many dermatologists champion azelaic acid as a defence against such nuisances.

But like most things in life, it isn't magic. Regular and disciplined application over weeks is the secret. Do note though - ease it into your routine gradually to avoid any sudden shock to your skin.

Now, let’s chat about possible side effects.

While azelaic acid is pretty gentle, no one is saying there won't be a few minor rebellions from your skin.

You might feel a slight tingling sensation post-application, and that's okay. It’s your skin, getting acquainted with a new ally. If it persists or feels uncomfortable, definitely check in with your dermatologist.

Also, while azelaic acid is often used in the 'acne battle', it's not always about open warfare against those pesky zits.

It's more strategic that - think of it as removing the food source of your enemy, rather than launching a full-blown assault. It dims the acne's life force, sebum production, which leads to fewer breakouts.

Smart, right?

So, to sum up, using azelaic acid correctly is all about setting a rhythm: cleanse, apply, wait, proceed, and repeat. It's an exercise in patience, requiring regular application and time for your skin to adjust.

Respect this, and your skin will thank you.

Do I moisturize before azelaic acid?

When layering azelaic acid, your priority is ensuring that each active ingredient can easily penetrate the skin.

And with that in mind, the order is:

  1. Cleanser

  2. Azelaic Acid

  3. Moisturizer

 ...In that order.

At this point, you're probably wondering, "Why this order?"

So let's break that down in a bit more detail.

First, starting with a good face wash is fundamental. It's like an invitation to a well-ordered skincare party, where all guests (products) arrive clean and ready to mingle.

Our next guest is the azelaic acid. When applied after a cleanse and before moisturizing, it efficiently targets imperfections, as it doesn't have to fight through layers of moisturizer to get to work on your skin.

It’s like getting the first spot in line at a concert - the azelaic acid bouncer steps up to the stage without having to wrestle through a crowd, thereby offering its complexion-perfecting notes without any struggle.

The Science Behind the Order

This isn't just a randomly decreed agenda - there’s solid scientific reasoning backing this order up.

Simply put, the molecule size in azelaic acid is larger than that in your cleanser or toner but smaller than the hydrating ingredients in most moisturizers.

Science says - the larger the molecule, the harder it is for it to sink into the skin. Hence, applying azelaic acid before the moisturizer allows it to be closer to the skin and work its magic effectively.

The Magic of Azelaic Acid

But what does azelaic acid actually do again, you ask?

We get it, some of the science-speak tends to slip your memory after a while.

Azelaic acid is a powerhouse skincare ingredient that helps reduce inflammation, treat rosacea, and lighten dark spots. Essentially, it's that friendly ghost that fights off skin fiends while you're asleep.

Since we don't want anything obstructing this superhero in your skin story, it's crucial to get it in the right order of your skincare regime.

The Elegance of Layering

Returning to our layering philosophy – skincare order is like a regal waltz.

The dancers should flow smoothly, one following the other, gracefully spinning together to create the perfect dance.

As you cleanse, consider it the first step in this beauty waltz, setting the stage.

The azelaic acid twirls in next, commanding the spotlight, dancing away skin impurities.

The moisturizer concludes the dance, like the grand finale, locking in the good work and keeping your skin hydrated and protected.

Remember, your skincare routine isn’t just about the right products, but applying them in the right order.

So, to answer your question, darlings - no, don't moisturize before azelaic acid. Feel the rhythm of your skincare waltz and let it guide you to luminous, healthy skin!

How long should you wait to put moisturizer on azelaic acid?

When azelaic acid teams up with a good moisturizer, this dynamic duo not only treats but nourishes your skin as well.

But timing, as they say, is everything.

So, how long should you wait to apply your moisturizer after the azelaic acid?

Well, the answer isn't cut and dried. Different skin types absorb at different rates, and everyone's skin routine varies in its specific nuances.

The Waiting Game — Or Lack Thereof

The major divergence in skincare rituals lies in "the wait."

To some, this sacred period between applications is the holy grail of skincare routines.

They will let each product simmer, sink, and settle into their skin before introducing the next. It's like a multi-course meal, with each serving savored separately.

Meanwhile, others are the rapid fire skincare aficionados. Their mantra is efficiency – swift, precise, a series of master strokes followed by the next with no time wasted. It's more like a super-packed smoothie than a drawn-out feast.

So, who's right?

The truth is that neither approach is definitively better than the other. The best routine is the one that works for you and your skin.

The Texture Tells the Tale

When it comes to the azelaic acid and moisturizer dance, it's not so much about counting down the minutes as heeding the texture of your skin.

Once you've let the acid sink into your epidermal layer — the outermost layer of your skin — you should notice that it doesn't feel wet or overly tacky.

Instead, it should have a smooth, almost undetectable feel, indicating that your skin has fully absorbed it.

Now, cue the moisturizer.

The Moisturizer Plot Twist

At this point, your skin is primed, prepped and ready to soak up the moisturizer.

When applied now, your moisturizer effectively 'seals in' the azelaic acid, creating a protective barrier that promotes absorption and stops environmental pollutants from barging in.

But remember, timing’s the charm.

Epilogue – The After-bask

The end of your skincare routine isn't merely a mundane ticking off an item on your to-do list. Your skin should now feel like it’s basking in post-spa-afterglow, leaving you with the #BestSkinLifeFeels.

Sure, you might only be standing in your bathroom wearing fuzzy slippers and a bathrobe, but luxury is a state of mind, right?

Now, armed with this skincare wisdom, embrace becoming the skincare prodigy you always wanted to be.

Remember, good skincare is a two-way street – love your skin, and it will love you back, tenfold. Pour the love in and watch it reciprocate.

No rush, no force — just an intimate skincare communion waiting to be explored!

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