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How does azelaic acid work and for whom is it suitable?

Azelaic acid is considered a medical power drug in the fight against pimples and pustules. But the active ingredient can allegedly do much more, and many people also swear by the additive in cosmetics. How to use the acid correctly and which skin type can benefit most – Tikbow asked an expert.

Säure sounds in the truest sense of the word first of all quite schön ‚ätzend’, but "Azelainsäure is a pharmacological active substance, which is used both in the medical and cosmetic area for a long time", knows Dr.. Isabell Sick, owner of the Munich Isarderma Center for Dermatology and Aesthetics.

Azelainsäure for acne and rosacea

Acne and rosacea are inflammatory diseases of the sebaceous glands,” explains the dermatologist. "In contrast to acne, rosacea does not cause blackheads, but small pustules. Rosacea is more common in adults, while acne is more common in adolescents. But there are also mixed forms." According to a report in the "Deutsche Apotheker-Zeitung" up to five million people in Germany suffer from rosacea. Women are affected more often than men, says Dr. Isabell Sick, adding that the typical rosacea symptoms on the face, especially on the forehead, nose and cheeks, are exacerbated by internal and external stimuli such as stress or sport.

"The skin vessels are dilated by the increased blood circulation, the face becomes bright red. This is very unpleasant for those affected. Azelaic acid is used for both conditions: a gel with 15 percent azelaic acid is used for rosacea and can also be used for acne. For acne, however, there is also a cream with 20 percent azelaic acid. Both products are available only on prescription.

Effect and application

Azelain’s acid inhibits the formation of blackheads and at the same time has an anti-inflammatory effect,” explains Dr. Isabell Sick. The gel or the cream is applied daily in the morning and in the evening dünnn on the cleaned skin " In order to see first successes, it requires however somewhat patience. A first improvement of the skin picture occurs after eight weeks", says the Dermatologin. The preparations are usually well tolerated, but can occasionally cause itching or dry out the skin. In this case, the azelaic acid treatment should be discontinued for one or two days.

More beautiful thanks to azelaic acid?

Azelainsäure is not only used in the medical field. There are also over-the-counter cosmetic care products, but these are in lower doses than the preparations for acne and rosacea (less than 10%). But what exactly does Azelainsäure do? It smoothes and rejuvenates by exfoliating the top layer of skin,” explains Dr. Isabell Sick. With longer, regular use, pimple marks and skin discolorations also disappear. In principle, these cosmetic products with azelainic acid are suitable for all skin types, but anyone with very sensitive and dry skin or who suffers from atopic dermatitis should be careful.


With expert advice from Dr. Isabell Sick, owner of the Munich Isarderma Center for Dermatology and Aesthetics.
– Azelainsäure now also for rosacea treatment