What to Combine (and never) With Azelaic Acid for Radiant Skin

Azelaic acid is a multi-tasking ingredient that’s identified for bettering situations like zits, hyperpigmentation and rosacea. It’s additionally thought-about a gentler acid (in comparison with AHAs and BHAs, for instance).

Now, though azelaic acid is a gentler acid, it’s nonetheless a good suggestion to know what to mix with azelaic acid.

This will make it easier to maximize the outcomes from this famous person ingredient and your skincare routine as a complete.

So, with out additional delay, let’s get proper to it!

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1. Gentle Retinoids

Azelaic acid and mild retinoids (like retinyl palmitate and retinaldehyde) have an identical motion on the pores and skin: they handle points like hyperpigmentation and zits (source).

In addition, since mild retinoids are much less irritating, they are often paired with azelaic acid with much less fear of unwanted effects.

How to make use of: 

  • When layering these merchandise, comply with the usual guidelines of layering: apply the thinnest (or water-based) product first, adopted by heavier or oil-based merchandise.
  • Most retinoids and azelaic acid merchandise have a thicker consistency, making them appropriate for the tip of your skincare routine. 
  • Retinoids are delicate to mild, so that they’re often greatest to your night routine. As for azelaic acid, it may be used each morning and evening.

2. Niacinamide

Azelaic acid and niacinamide may be a wonderful duo whenever you’re coping with hyperpigmentation.

This is as a result of azelaic acid is a tyrosinase inhibitor, which implies it blocks the enzyme tyrosinase, which is chargeable for melanin manufacturing.

As for niacinamide, it’s an environment friendly UV blocker and prevents UV micro injury (source). These UV protectant properties might help forestall additional worsening of hyperpigmentation (aspect word: that is additionally why niacinamide is commonly included in some moisturizing sunscreens).

In addition, niacinamide helps to forestall moisture loss. As such, it’s a great complement to an acid like azelaic acid.

How to make use of: 

  • These two substances are so appropriate you should use them collectively in your morning and nighttime routine. 
  • Layer them based on their thickness and consistency. If you’re utilizing a moisturizing sunscreen with niacinamide, then apply that final.

3. Polyhydroxy Acids

Polyhydroxy acids (PHAs) have a big molecular measurement in comparison with BHAs and AHAs. This means they work on the pores and skin’s floor and are much less irritating (not like BHAs and AHAs which penetrate the deeper layers of pores and skin and are extra irritating).

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Overall, PHAs assist the motion of azelaic acid by serving to to exfoliate and handle pigmentation, with much less irritation (source).

How to make use of:

  • PHAs are appropriate for each morning and night use. 
  • Some PHAs should be rinsed off, whereas others are left on the pores and skin. If you’re utilizing a PHA that’s left on the pores and skin, then comply with the fundamental guidelines of product layering: apply the thinner product first.

4. Hyaluronic Acid

Hyaluronic acid balances out the motion of azelaic acid as a result of it helps hydrate the pores and skin and improve moisture, whereas azelaic acid exfoliates. 

This is certainly a no brainer combo!

How to make use of:

  • Hyaluronic acid merchandise are often water-based formulations so they need to be used earlier than azelaic acid. 
  • Avoid mixing pure hyaluronic acid and pure azelaic acid collectively within the palm of your hand. Instead, layer your merchandise based on their consistency.

5. Moisturizer

Although it’s not as sturdy as different acids, azelaic acid nonetheless has comedolytic (unclogs pores) and keratolytic (breaks down outer pores and skin layers) properties.

Therefore, it’s a good suggestion to at all times pair it with a wealthy, moisturizing cream or lotion. This will assist treatment any dryness that will happen from utilizing it.

How to make use of:

  • You can moisturize earlier than or after making use of azelaic acid (source). If your pores and skin is very dry you’ll be able to experiment with making use of moisturizer first, ready a couple of minutes after which making use of azelaic acid. This might enhance dryness. If this strategy doesn’t work, then merely adhere to the usual tips for product layering (primarily based on consistency.)
  • If you select to use azelaic acid first, wait about quarter-hour (relying on how thick your azelaic product is) then apply your moisturizer.

6. Alpha Arbutin

If you’re utilizing azelaic acid to fight pigmentation and different pores and skin situations that affect melanin manufacturing, then contemplate pairing it with alpha arbutin.

Also, combining azelaic acid with alpha arbutin may be particularly helpful for zits since azelaic acid prevents and treats zits, whereas alpha arbutin can fade left-over scarring.

How to make use of:

  • Azelaic acid and alpha arbutin can be utilized alongside one another within the morning and night.
  • After cleaning, firming and utilizing any exfoliating merchandise, apply alpha arbutin, adopted by azelaic acid.
  • Because alpha arbutin can restrict melanin manufacturing, make sure you take precautions to guard your pores and skin from the solar. Alpha arbutin is warmth delicate.
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7. Sunscreen

If you’re utilizing azelaic acid to deal with hyperpigmentation or solar spots, then sunscreen will present added safety and assist the pores and skin discoloration from getting worse.

Sunscreen may also assist azelaic acid’s exfoliating motion and shield newly revealed pores and skin cells from damaging UV rays.

How to make use of:

  • Sunscreen ought to at all times be the final step in your routine (earlier than make-up).


1. BHAs (Beta Hydroxy Acids)

Experts have differing opinions about whether or not it’s good to mix azelaic acid and BHAs in the identical skincare routine.

For some folks this mixture works very well however for others, it could be an excessive amount of.

This is especially related in case you have delicate pores and skin. In this case, you’ll positively need to keep away from pairing azelaic acid with BHAs.

How to make use of:

  • If you don’t have delicate pores and skin, think about using azelaic acid with salicylic acid. It’s a gentler BHA that exfoliates and targets redness, with much less irritation (source).
  • You can use azelaic acid and BHAs twice a day, but when your pores and skin responds negatively, you might house them out to alternate days or completely different instances of day.

2. AHAs (Alpha Hydroxy Acids)

Like BHAs, utilizing AHAs – similar to glycolic or lactic acid – with azelaic acid might trigger over-exfoliation. This could also be too harsh for sure pores and skin varieties. 

How to make use of:

  • If you need to strive an AHA with azelaic acid, mandelic acid is the gentlest type as a result of its bigger molecular construction.
  • After you’ve used your AHA product, apply azelaic acid and comply with with a nourishing moisturizer to seal within the lively substances.

3. Vitamin C

Even although L-ascorbic acid is probably the most potent type of vitamin C, it may be irritating for some folks (particularly at excessive concentrations).

In addition, L-ascorbic acid and azelaic acid have a decrease pH. This means they’re each acidic.

So, utilizing them collectively might result in irritation and in addition have an effect on their efficacy.

How to make use of: 

  • Gentler vitamin C derivatives (similar to sodium ascorbyl phosphate or tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate) could also be a safer mixture with azelaic acid (source).
  • In normal, you’ll need to apply vitamin C first, then comply with up along with your azelaic acid product.

4. Retinol

Since retinol is a reasonably potent exfoliant, combining it with azelaic acid could possibly be too harsh for some folks, particularly these with delicate pores and skin.

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How to make use of:

  • As at all times, contemplate whether or not you’re utilizing a cream or serum. Because serums have a thinner consistency they can be utilized earlier in your skincare routine. This will assist decide whether or not you apply retinol or azelaic acid first.
  • Use retinol as soon as a day (nighttime is commonly preferable) and azelaic acid twice.
  • If your pores and skin is struggling to regulate to retinol it’s possible you’ll discover the mild retinoids talked about firstly of this text much less irritating. Experiment to seek out the best choice for you.


1. Paula’s Choice 10% Azelaic Acid Booster

Formulated with skin-brightening licorice and salicylic acid, this 10% azelaic acid cream is designed to enhance texture, steadiness pores and skin tone and soothe irritation.

Based on person suggestions, this method is a winner for anybody battling inflammatory situations like rosacea or zits.

Get Paula’s Choice 10% Azelaic Acid Booster.

2. The Ordinary 10% Azelaic Acid

At a ten% focus – one of many highest concentrations of azelaic acid that you may get with no prescription – this gel is a well-liked selection amongst skincare lovers.

Users report that though it has a really thick consistency, the product spreads properly and leaves a matte end.

Get The Ordinary’s 10% Azelaic Acid.


Can I take advantage of azelaic acid within the morning and adapalene at evening?

Since adapalene is a retinoid, combining it with azelaic acid might not be appropriate for all pores and skin varieties. There is a threat of over-exfoliation, even when they’re used at completely different instances of the day. So, it’s greatest to examine along with your physician to ensure you should use them (and to get the suitable power).

Can you utilize azelaic acid with clindamycin, benzoyl peroxide or tretinoin?

Research signifies that the results of azelaic acid may be boosted when it’s used with 4% benzoyl peroxide, 1% clindamycin gel and 0.025% tretinoin cream (source). However, since everybody’s skincare wants are completely different, it’s best to get a personalised advice out of your physician earlier than making an attempt to mix these substances.


With anti-inflammatory, comedolytic, keratolytic, antioxidant and anti-microbial properties, azelaic acid is among the most versatile skincare substances you should use (source).

While it does play properly with most substances, it’s a great to contemplate your specific pores and skin sort earlier than mixing with sturdy actives like retinoids and different acids.

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