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Using Azelaic Acid With Vitamin C: Here’s How to Do It

by Ella Goodman 01 Nov 2023

Picture this: You’re scrolling through your Insta-feed, and every other beauty guru is raving about azelaic acid and vitamin C.

Sound familiar?

You're not alone, my skincare-savvy friend.

These ingredients are having a moment.

But there's a difference between hopping onto a trend and truly understanding it. And that's where we come in.

Ready to learn the ins, outs, and rockin’ combos of these super ingredients?

Perfect. Let's get glowing!

Can You Use Vitamin C and Azelaic Acid Together?

First things first: YES! You absolutely can.

But here's the catch – it’s all about how you use them.

The Beauty of Vitamin C

Let’s start with our OG, Vitamin C.

This citrusy gem is like that trusty friend who always has your back, rain or shine. Beyond its zesty origins, Vitamin C is packed with antioxidants.

Why should you care? Because these antioxidants are like the superheroes of your skin. They ward off those pesky free radicals that result from sun exposure, pollution, and even stress.

Yep, those culprits can cause premature aging, and nobody's got time for that!

Now, let's chat collagen—the protein that keeps our skin plump and youthful. Vitamin C is like the cheerleader that shouts, "Go, Collagen, Go!" It helps boost collagen synthesis, which means fewer wrinkles and more radiance. Mic drop.

Azelaic Acid: The Unsung Hero

Enter Azelaic Acid.

Now, if Vitamin C is the lead singer, Azelaic Acid is the unsung hero playing the drums, setting the beat, and making everything flow.

It's a gentle exfoliator, but there's more to this story.

Derived from grains like barley and wheat, Azelaic Acid has antibacterial properties that are a game-changer for acne-prone skin.

Those red, angry spots? Azelaic Acid calms them down and shows them the door.

Moreover, it targets the production of melanin. Overproduction of this pigment can lead to uneven skin tone and dark spots. By putting a check on melanin, Azelaic Acid ensures your skin's evenness, giving you that Insta-filter glow IRL.

Marrying The Two: The Science Behind The Magic

Alright, lab coats on! Let's geek out for a moment.

Our skin's pH level is a balancing act. It usually hovers around 5.5, making it slightly acidic. Now, Azelaic Acid, despite its name, is pretty neutral when it comes to pH. This neutrality helps in optimizing our skin's natural pH levels.

When this happens, our skin becomes more receptive, like a sponge ready to soak up the goodness.

Enter stage left: Vitamin C.

With the pH optimized by Azelaic Acid, Vitamin C can penetrate deeper into the skin, working its antioxidant magic at a cellular level. The result? A supercharged glow that's not just surface-level but emanates from deep within.

To Blend or Not to Blend?

Now, it's not about hastily mixing the two and expecting a miracle. The skincare world is nuanced.

To reap the best rewards, use a Vitamin C serum first. Let it absorb - become one with your skin, if you will.

Then, as the grand finale, layer on the Azelaic Acid. This way, you’re giving each ingredient its moment to shine, ensuring maximum absorption and efficacy.

Does Vitamin C Go Before or After Azelaic Acid?

In the fascinating world of skincare, sequence isn't just about vanity—it's about chemistry, consistency, and unlocking maximum benefits.

So when it comes to the power duo of Vitamin C and Azelaic Acid, the burning question remains: Who gets the first dibs on your skin?

Let's unravel the mystery.

Understanding the Basics: The Consistency Factor

At the heart of the "who goes first" conundrum is a principle many skincare aficionados swear by: Go from light to heavy.

And no, this isn’t about life advice. It's the cardinal rule of skincare layering.

Why does it matter? Think of your skin as a canvas. Applying products in the right order ensures each layer gets absorbed properly without any barriers.

So, let's talk textures.

Vitamin C serums typically have a more fluid, watery base. They're designed this way for quick absorption and to deliver potent antioxidants straight into your skin.

Azelaic acid, on the other hand, often comes in formulations that are a tad more robust—think creams or gels. These products are crafted to provide a sustained release of the ingredient, allowing it to work its magic over time.

Why Sequence Matters: The Science Breakdown

There's a logic to the layering.

You see, the skin is a barrier, and its primary job is to protect the body from external aggressors. However, this means it’s also a tad selective about what it lets in.

By starting with a thinner product like a Vitamin C serum, you're ensuring rapid penetration. The smaller molecules are quickly absorbed, diving deep into the skin to fend off free radicals and boost collagen production.

Now, if you were to put Azelaic acid on first, its denser consistency might pose a minor roadblock. Think of it as trying to water a plant with a sheet of plastic on the soil. Some of the water might eventually seep through, but a lot will be lost on the way. You want to ensure that every drop of that precious Vitamin C gets its rightful place under your skin.

Once Vitamin C is fully absorbed, introducing Azelaic acid becomes a breeze. Its richer consistency doesn't disrupt the already absorbed serum. Instead, it builds upon it, ensuring you get the anti-inflammatory and skin-evening benefits it's celebrated for.

Getting It Right: The Application

So, here’s your game plan: Start with a cleansed face. This is your blank slate. Then, take a few drops of the Vitamin C serum, warming it between your fingers.

Gently press and massage it into your skin, ensuring even coverage. Take a moment. Maybe sip your coffee, check your texts, or simply enjoy the sensation of the serum soaking in.

Now, it's time for Azelaic acid.

Remember, a little goes a long way. Dot it across your face and then blend, allowing the cream or gel to envelop your skin. This layering method ensures both ingredients work in synergy, rather than competition.

Is Azelaic Acid or Vitamin C Better for Dark Spots?

Ever stared at your reflection, wondering which of these two superheroes to summon for those stubborn spots?

We’ve all been there. But fear not, because by the end of this, you'll have a clear game plan for this common skincare woe too.

Dark Spots: What's the Deal?

Before we jump into the ring, let's understand our opponent.

Dark spots, or hyperpigmentation, occur when an excess of melanin forms deposits in the skin. Factors? Sun exposure, hormonal changes, acne scars, or just the wear and tear of life. Regardless of the cause, the goal remains: to fade 'em and keep 'em away!

Vitamin C: The Brightening Maven

Enter Vitamin C, often hailed as the brightening mastermind.

Here's what's epic about it: Vitamin C not only shields your skin from damage by free radicals and UV rays but actively repairs it.

How? By accelerating the production of collagen and elastin, keeping your skin firm and reducing any discolouration. It’s like that friend who not only stops you from texting your ex but also takes you out for a mood-lifting ice cream treat!

The nitty-gritty: Vitamin C inhibits an enzyme called tyrosinase, which plays a key role in melanin production. This means fewer dark spots now and in the future.

It’s proactive and reactive!

Azelaic Acid: The Melanin Moderator

Now, onto Azelaic Acid, the lesser-known yet equally powerful contender.

While it's renowned for reducing redness and acne, its prowess against dark spots is a tale worth telling in itself.

Deep dive alert: Azelaic Acid works by targeting abnormal melanocytes (cells that produce melanin). These cells are often overactive in hyperpigmented areas.

By normalizing these rogue cells, Azelaic Acid ensures a more even melanin distribution, giving your skin a more consistent tone. Plus, like Vitamin C, it also dabbles in inhibiting tyrosinase. It's like having a security guard who checks both your ID and guest list!

Blend, Baby, Blend: The Power Combo

Now for the million-dollar question: Which one’s better?

The plot twist here isn’t about picking a side. The magic lies in combination.

By blending the reparative capabilities of Vitamin C with the melanin-moderating effects of Azelaic Acid, you’re hitting two birds with one stone.

Imagine this: A duo that works 24/7, with Vitamin C defending and rejuvenating by day and Azelaic Acid optimizing and balancing by night.

The results? Faster, more potent, and lasting.

And, because we love you, we’ve captured this essence in our celebrated Ultra-Potent Brightening Serum - a formula that celebrates the harmonious blend of both ingredients.

What Should You Not Mix with Azelaic Acid?

While azelaic acid is a rock star, it doesn't jive well with everyone on the skincare stage.

Here’s a quick list:

1. Retinoids: The Clash of the Titans

Retinoids, derivatives of Vitamin A, are often celebrated for their anti-aging properties and the ability to enhance cell turnover. While both retinoids and azelaic acid aim to refresh the skin, they have differing approaches. Using them simultaneously is like having two quarterbacks on the field - chaos can ensue!

The science-y bit: Both retinoids and azelaic acid accelerate the skin's exfoliation process. When they're teamed up, there's an increased risk of irritation, dryness, or even peeling. It's a little like overtraining in the gym; muscles (or in this case, your skin) need time to recover.

2. High-concentration AHA/BHAs: Doubling Down on Exfoliation

Alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) and beta hydroxy acids (BHAs) are other exfoliating favorites. They dive deep into pores, banishing dead skin cells and welcoming radiant, new ones. Sounds good, right? But pair them with azelaic acid, and you're venturing into over-exfoliation territory.

Let's get technical. AHAs, like glycolic acid, unglue the bonds between skin cells on the surface. BHAs, such as salicylic acid, are oil-soluble, penetrating deeper to unclog pores. Adding azelaic acid to this mix is akin to triple-layering peeling treatments. While each ingredient has its merits, together they might leave your skin crying out for a time-out.

3. Physical Scrubs: A Turbulent Affair

Scrubs with gritty particles aim to slough off dead skin cells mechanically. Think of it as a mini workout for your skin, with you guiding the motions. Azelaic acid, with its exfoliating properties, can make this workout more intense than intended.

Imagine scrubbing a surface that's already been chemically primed for exfoliation – it's an overkill. That gentle glow you're aiming for? It might be overshadowed by redness or sensitivity if azelaic acid and physical scrubs cross paths too often.

Tying It All Together: Make It Work for Your Lifestyle

Here's the thing: Skincare isn't just about ingredients; it's about making them work for you. Whether you're a busy bee, a laid-back lounger, or somewhere in between, the azelaic acid and vitamin C combo can fit seamlessly into your routine.

For the always-on-the-go hustler, consider a combined dark spot corrector for maximum benefits in minimum time.

For the meticulous skincare junkie, get playful. Test out different products, layer them up, and see what magic they create.

The key? Listen to your skin and be patient.

Parting Words

We’ve dished out the science, the steps, and the secrets.

But remember, the most beautiful skin is healthy skin.

So, experiment, learn, and most importantly, enjoy the journey. And hey, next time you're scrolling through that Insta-feed, you'll not only be in the know but glowing from within.

Here's to brighter, radiant, and informed skin days ahead. Stay fabulous!

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