Azelaic acid in cosmetology: action and application

Any medicinal product that improves the condition and does not cause harm is unique. Such properties are possessed by acids used in cosmetology.

One of the representatives of acids is azelaic acid. It is friendly to human skin, well tolerated because it is produced by body cells, does not have a teratogenic effect, because it is practically not absorbed due to topical application, and its metabolites are safe – this allows the treatment of pregnant and lactating women.

Structure and properties

Azelaic acid, has the formula HOOC (CH2) 7 COOH, is a carboxylic acid. It is a popular pharmaceutical product for the treatment of skin problems. It is formed in the process of lipid metabolism and is present in a small dose in the human body. During the fermentation of Malassezia furfur bacteria living on the skin, its natural synthesis takes place. Present in wheat, barley and rye. Although acid, but weak, much weaker than vinegar.

The raw material for production is oleic or linoleic acids. For pharmaceutical and cosmetic purposes, it is obtained synthetically.

The properties of azelaic acid are as follows:

  • Antimicrobial – kills the bacteria responsible for acne, so it successfully treats “acne”;
  • Effective – with prolonged use and does not give “addiction”, because there is no resistance of microbes to this acid;
  • Keratolytic – affects the synthesis of keratinocytes and slows down their growth, prevents the thickening of the upper layer of the skin, then the pores perform their function, and black dots (comedones) do not appear on the skin;
  • Depigmentation – removes the formation of pigmented areas;
  • Antioxidant – acts on reactive oxygen species, neutralizing them;
  • Smoothing – removes rough towering inflammatory components of the skin;
  • Anti-inflammatory – blocks the enzymes necessary for the synthesis of inflammatory cells, as well as due to the neutralization of oxygen;
  • Lightening – eliminates age spots on the skin due to the action on melanin, reduces its synthesis;
  • Antiandrogenic – Inhibits the enzyme that converts testosterone to dehydroepiandrosterone.

In the West, it is recommended for the treatment of “acne”. Practice has confirmed its effectiveness in the treatment of hyperpigmentation. The ability of azelaic acid to whiten the skin is known, it interrupts the biochemical processes responsible for the synthesis of melanin in melanocytes. This formed the basis for the treatment of melasma and chloasma.

And American dermatologists prescribe it to treat the redness that accompanies rosacea (rosacea).

Treatment of acne with azelaic acid

Acne – (acne vulgaris, “acne”) develops during puberty and disappears by the age of thirty.


The mechanism of occurrence is as follows: seborrhea (greasy skin and hair) reduces the protective barrier of sebum, which activates the coccal flora and leads to the reproduction of Propionibacterium acnes bacteria, then hyperplasia of the sebaceous glands occurs, secretion of sebum increases, hyperkeratosis appears, comedones are formed – sebaceous-horn plugs in the excretory ducts of the glands. Partially or completely blocking their function, and “black” dots appear on the skin. The sebaceous glands increase sharply.

The sex hormones are also to blame. The accumulated sebaceous secret attracts bacteria, an infected focus appears with pus. When squeezing pustules, in non-sterile conditions, the deep layers of the skin are damaged. This creates even more favorable conditions for the settlement of the skin with bacteria and the progression of the disease.

Considering that azelaic acid works at all stages of this pathological process, it is possible to achieve a stable result of treatment.

Clinical improvement in two to four weeks. Lubricate twice a day. The recommended course is at least 2-6 months. The terms of treatment must be observed in order to avoid the recurrence of “acne”.

Azelaic acid for the treatment of mild to moderate “rosacea” (with or without demodex mites)

Causes of “rosacea” (rosacea): the most likely – vascular disorders, stomach and intestinal disease, immune and endocrine disorders.

There is speculation that “rosacea” is an infectious disease, although the role of bacteria has not been proven. A large proportion of the likelihood of a connection between “rosacea” and the vital activity of the Demodex mite, because antibodies to demodex were found in patients. There is a link between “rosacea” and the gastrointestinal parasite Helycobacter pylori.

The basis of the pathogenesis of the disease is considered to be angioedema with damage to the vessels of the face against the background of vegetative-vascular dystonia.

The disease has four stages: “pre-rosacea”, then vascular “rosacea”, followed by inflammatory “rosacea”, and finally, later “rosacea”. At the stage of “prerosacea” we see redness (erythema), then its intensity increases. A feeling of heat and warmth on the face joins. The second stage is vascular or vascular. The pathological process leads to vasodilatation, which later characterizes “rosacea”. The disease disfigures the nose, cheeks and chin, covers the forehead and ears.

Treatment: with the papulopustular form, a 20% azelaic acid cream is successfully applied.



Melasma is unevenly colored dark spots on the face and neck. This is due to the pathology of melanocytes, the synthesis of which can be blocked by azelaic acid.

Melasma is of three types:

  1. Epidermal – dark brown spots on the skin, with clear contours. This species is well treated;
  2. Dermal – light brown spots on the skin with fuzzy contours. This species is treated with difficulty;
  3. Mixed – light and dark spots are visible on the skin. It is treatable, but the reaction of the affected areas is different.

It is believed that the disease is dormant until the occurrence of predisposing factors: pregnancy, taking hormonal drugs, passion for photosensitizing drugs.

Treatment should continue for at least three months.

Azelaic peeling

Azelaic peeling – “Hollywood” peeling, is popular all over the world and is suitable even for girls with delicate and sensitive skin. Without fear, it can be done almost all year round.

Azelaic peeling is indicated:

  • rosacea;
  • rosacea;
  • melasma;
  • smoothing fine wrinkles;
  • hyperpigmentation;
  • folliculitis.


Peeling lasts 40 minutes. Course: once a week, only 6-10 procedures are allowed.

This peel can be used by anyone who wants to see their face beautiful and have smooth skin.

Thus, azelaic acid, having antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and keratolytic effects, is successfully used in many inflammatory diseases. It is the only non-hormonal drug for external use with antiandrogenic activity – it is the drug of choice for any type of systemic …

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