The Ingredient You Never Heard Of That Could Save Your Skin


The Ordinary Azelaic Acid

Earlier this year, we got a package full of skincare formulas from a new beauty brand on the block, The Ordinary. Among their potions of acids, vitamin C, niacinamide, and hyaluronic acid formulas were something we hadn’t come across before: Azelaic acid. Naturally, we were very intrigued – we love their affordable skincare solutions. The Ordinary explains that Azelaic acid is “found in grains and produced naturally by yeast that lives on normal skin. It brightens the skin tone while visibly improving the evenness of skin texture and softening the look of blemishes. It is a multi-functional support ingredient for all skin types and also acts as an effective antioxidant.” We’re SO here for that! It’s most commonly used to treat rosacea and correct skin tone, but it can also help diminish blemishes and reduce redness and sensitivity. This is why it’s a staple in our beauty cabinet, and it should be in yours too!

What is Azelaic Acid?

Azelaic acid is derived from grains like wheat, rye, or barley and is also produced within the skin’s microbiome (the healthy bacteria living on the surface of our skin). It’s part of the dicarboxylic acid family, which means it has both antibacterial and antioxidant properties. It’s most effective in skincare when the concentration is between 15 and 20%, but there’s research to suggest that even at lower concentrations, it’s still impactful.

How can it help my skin?

Azelaic acid is super powerful; it’s an anti-inflammatory, which will reduce swelling and redness, making it ideal for sensitive skin. It’s also antimicrobial, so it helps treat the bacteria that cause blemishes. Finally, it’s packed with antioxidants that help your skin maintain a healthy glow, as well as protect it from free radicals that can cause premature aging. On top of this, the acid formula works as a gentle chemical exfoliant to loosen the skin cells, unblocking your pores while killing any lingering bacteria. This is what makes it such an effective treatment for acne. It has also been shown to seriously help with pigmentation issues as it prevents the production of melanin (what causes dark patches to form).

How should I apply Azelaic Acid?

You can use Azelaic acid during your morning or evening skincare regime. It should be applied to cleansed skin and you should always use a hydrating moisturizer after application as it can be drying on your skin. Our go-to products that contain azelaic acid are The Ordinary’s Azelaic Acid Suspension 10%, $13, or the PCA Skin Acne Gel, $47. If rosacea, acne, uneven skin texture, or redness are one of your concerns, then this is definitely a formula worth trying. Be sure to use SPF 30 during the day.