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Azelaic Acid is the Gentler Alternative to Salicylic Acid and Benzoyl Peroxide for Treating Acne

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(Photo : nappy / Pexels) Salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide are acne care staples, but can be harsh on sensitive skin. Try azelaic acid.

Aside from the obvious health concerns, this year has also been tough on our grooming and skin care routines. As trips to salons, barbershops and to the dermatologist have been limited, we've been left on our own devices. From doing our own haircuts and doing chemical peels at home, 2020 has been an educational experience in all the ways.

When it comes to skincare products, women are very keen on trying the latest, especially when they promise smooth and younger-looking skin. Most are no longer strangers to different acids like glycolic acid, lactic acid, hyaluronic acid, and salicylic acid, but maybe you haven't of azelaic acid.

Azelaic Acid Benefits

Azelaic acid has been around for a while but its counterpart in acne care, benzoyl peroxide, is the more popular ingredient.  Dermatologist Dr. Sophie Shotter tells Cosmopolitan that azelaic acid is a naturally-occurring acid in our skin and can also be found in different grains such as wheat, rye and barley. Compared to other exfoliating acids, azelaic acid is milder but has the same skin resurfacing properties minus the irritation. It also doesn't make skin more sensitive to sun exposure like alpha hydroxy acids. Dr. Shotter adds that it's superior to other acids in terms of correction uneven skin tone. In addition, azelaic acid is a powerful antioxidant. It clears acne and rosacea, unclogs pores and refines the skin's surface. Furthermore, azelaic acid is a keratolytic so it can help with inflammatory conditions like keratosis pilaris, more commonly known as chicken skin.

Also read: Dermatologists Recommend These Soothing Moisturizers To Avoid Dry and Sensitive Skin in the Winter

While the FDA has only approved azelaic acid for treating acne and rosacea, Dr. Shotter says that it's very effective for treating dark spots and hyperpigmentation and that's why it is becoming a common additive to skin brightening products.

Azelaic acid is best for sensitive and acne-prone skin and is also safe for pregnant and breast-feeding women. Dr. Shotter recommends including azelaic acid is your nightly regimen and adds that it compliments hyaluronic acid-based products.

Azelaic Acid Skincare Products

The Ordinary Azelaic Acid Suspension 10%

Refinery29 is a fan of The Ordinary Azelaic Acid Suspension 10%. Aside from its super affordable price tag which The Ordinary is famous for, it's also free from parabens, phthalates, sulfates, alcohol, gluten, and fragrance. It's safe for all skin types and is an effective solution to acne, dullness and uneven skin tone and texture.

Typology Mattifying Serum 10% Azelaic Acid

For sensitive and oily skin, try Typology's Mattifying Serum 10% Azelaic Acid. Besides the hero ingredient azelaic acid, it's also formulated with Indian bamboo which absorbs excess sebum and zinc which is well-known for its antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and mattifying properties.

Bliss Green Tea Wonder Clarifying Overnight Gel Mask with Azelaic Acid

This overnight mask combines azelaic acid, aloe vera and green tea to gently exfoliate skin while you're sleeping to reveal softer, smoother, and healthier skin in the morning. The mask is free from parabens, phthalates and SLS. It's also vegan, cruelty-free, and PETA-certified.

Versed Weekend Glow Daily Brightening Solution

The Versed Weekend Glow Daily Brightening Solution is a toner, so use it after cleansing and before your serum or moisturizer. It's specifically formulated for hyperpigmentation and acne marks and is safe for all skin types. However, if you decide to get it, start using it every other day for a few weeks as the potent mix of lactic, kojic, azelaic and glycolic acids might be too much for sensitive skin.

Related article: Exfoliate Your Way Into Glowing Winter Skin

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