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Azelaic acid
Azelaic acid

Azelaic acid, a naturally occurring dicarboxylic acid, is an effective ingredient in dermatological treatments, particularly for acne, rosacea, and hyperpigmentation with both antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties.

Acne: Azelaic acid functions by inhibiting the proliferation of acne-causing bacteria on the skin’s surface, thereby reducing bacterial growth and inflammation. Its antibacterial activity is primarily against Propionibacterium acnes, a key bacterium involved in the development of acne. Furthermore, azelaic acid helps to unclog pores and reduce skin cell buildup, making it effective in treating mild to moderate acne.

Rosacea: Azelaic acid's anti-inflammatory action helps to reduce redness and swelling associated with rosacea. In addition, azelaic acid's ability to reduce keratinization (the process by which skin cells become more fibrous and less flexible) contributes to its effectiveness in this condition.

Pigmentation: Azelaic acid effectively treats melasma and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation by inhibiting tyrosinase, an enzyme involved in melanin production. This helps to reduce the formation of excess pigment and can lead to a more even skin tone.

Physiological Effects of Azelaic Acid:
  1. Anti-Inflammatory Properties: Azelaic acid reduces inflammation, making it effective in treating inflammatory skin conditions like acne and rosacea.
  2. Antimicrobial Action: It possesses antimicrobial properties that target acne-causing bacteria (Propionibacterium acnes), helping to reduce acne outbreaks.
  3. Keratolytic Effects: It helps to unclog pores and reduce the formation of comedones (blackheads and whiteheads) by normalizing the shedding of skin cells.
  4. Depigmenting Agent: Azelaic acid is effective in treating hyperpigmentation disorders, including melasma, as it inhibits tyrosinase, an enzyme involved in melanin production.
  • Fitton, A., & Goa, K. L. (1991). Azelaic Acid. Drugs.
  • Gollnick, H., & Schramm, M. (1998). Topical drug treatment in acne. Dermatology.
  • Passeron, T., et al. (2019). Melasma treatment: A novel approach using a topical agent that contains an anti-estrogen and a low-dose retinoid. G Ital Dermatol Venereol.
  • Wolf, J. E., Kerrouche, N., & Arsonnaud, S. (2006). Efficacy and safety of once-daily metronidazole 1% gel compared with twice-daily azelaic acid 15% gel in the treatment of rosacea. Cutis, 77(4 Suppl), 3-11.
  • Hollinger, J. C., Angra, K., & Halder, R. M. (2018). Are natural ingredients effective in the management of hyperpigmentation? A systematic review. The Journal of clinical and aesthetic dermatology, 11(2), 28.