Does Azelaic Acid Cause Purging? | What’s The Truth? 

You must be acquainted with various actives like Salicylic Acid or Glycolic Acid, or at least read them on our blogs. One of the skincare ingredients that has recently come into the spotlight is Azelaic Acid. Even though its versatility and multi-functionality are in discussion now, it may have noticeable side effects like skin purging and breakouts.

Does Azelaic Acid Cause Purging

But does Azelaic Acid cause purging? To answer questions like these and bust myths with relevant information, I bring you an article backed up by in-depth research and clinical analysis.

Does Azelaic Acid Cause Purging? | Is It Safe?

What Is Azelaic Acid?

Before starting, let’s get familiarized with the ingredient and then magnify them into further detail. 

Azelaic Acid is a dicarboxylic acid that occurs naturally. Typically, it is found in cereal grains like wheat, rye, and barley and produced by animals. Its antibacterial and soothing properties make it a significant ingredient in skincare products. 

azelaic acid

Azelaic Acid is known to combat many skin conditions, especially acne, melasma, and rosacea. Melasma is the occurrence of grey patches and freckles, while rosacea is the appearance of blood vessels on the face. 

Azelaic Acid also works wonders for people with acne-prone and sensitive skin. It is a clean and safe ingredient that treats acne, erases acne scars, and deeply penetrates the skin to eradicate bacteria that cause acne. 

Reactions Of Azelaic Acid On Various Skin Types

In this section of the article, we shall analyze the reaction of Azelaic Acid on various skin types.

Acne-prone skin: Azelaic Acid is generally a key ingredient in skincare products explicitly catering to acne-prone skin. With its antifungal and calming properties, it can control the reproduction of acne-causing bacteria and soothe the burning sensation. Also, it helps reduce excess sebum production, which may lead to acne.

Hyperpigmented Skin: People with hyperpigmented skin issues like melasma may use Azelaic Acid. It is beneficial as it lessens the chances of excess pigment generation, fades dark spots, and gives an even skin tone.

benefits of azelaic acid

Sensitive Skin: Azelaic Acid is comforting and alleviates redness and irritation. It heals disturbed skin and has a lower chance of leaving your skin dry. Due to these power points, individuals having sensitive skin can use Azelaic Acid without any hassle.

Oily Skin: Azelaic Acid manages sebum production, so it can easily fit into an oily skincare routine. Also, it helps with balancing the skin tone and preventing usual breakouts.

Benefits Of Azelaic Acid As Noted By Dermatologists

Dr. Heidi Goodarzi, board-certified dermatologist and founder of Juvive Women’s Pediatric Dermatology, states the following

  • Azelaic Acid is in the good books of most dermatologists, given the various skin concerns it caters to.
  • Its antimicrobial, antioxidant, and anti-irritating properties effectively heal comedonal and burning acne.
  • It helps rectify skin pigmentation and melasma and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH) among patients with a darker complexion.
azelaic acid before and after

While New York-based board-certified dermatologist and Clinical Assistant Professor of Dermatology at Cornell University,  Dr. Marisa Garshickasserts the following

  • Azelaic Acid is a gentle exfoliant that fits perfectly into a sensitive skincare routine.
  • Its selective cell action has proven to be safe. Selective cell action is an activity where the acid selectively treats abnormal pigment cells and leaves out the rest of the normal cells without any impact.
  • Lastly, it is mainly for people intolerant to active ingredients like Benzoyl Peroxide and Retinoids. The topical is also a potential solution for people who face skin discoloration.

Side Effects of Azelaic Acid

No matter the number of positive points you count, there is always a possibility of having drawbacks. Although, in the case of Azelaic acid, it has a few cons. The possible disadvantages of Azelaic Acid include the following- 

  • Irritation
  • Redness and Soreness
  • Burning and Tingling sensation 
  • Purging

Out of these few negative points of Azelaic Acid, the one underlined drawback is purging. Does Azelaic Acid cause purging? Let’s find out!

What Exactly Is Skin Purging?

People often misinterpret skin purging as a permanent reaction to specific active ingredients. However, as a reaction to a new product, our skin retaliates in the form of breakouts, dryness, flaking, peeling, and scaling. In the case of appearance, it entirely depends on the individual’s complexion and skin type. 

skin purging

To prevent skin purging, the American Academy of Dermatology Association has recommended conducting a patch test on a small area of the new skincare products or ingredients before incorporating them into your skincare regime.

Does Azelaic Acid Cause Purging?

Coming to the article’s highlight, we will see if Azelaic Acid causes skin purging.

Azelaic Acid is said to impact skin cell turnover and unclog pores. In this case, the acid demands time to adapt to the skin and work effectively. During this period, you might feel an increase in the appearance of acne or feel like a breakout. However, knowing that this reaction is natural and temporary is crucial.

People often misunderstand purging as a breakout or an allergy. But in reality, they are just the skin’s reaction to a new chemical or acid. Skin purging usually dissolves within a month and a half when the acid gets consistently incorporated into the skincare routine. If the reaction persists for more than 4-6 weeks, there should be no delay in consulting a dermatologist.

azelaic acid causes purging

How To Soothe Skin Purging?

We all are destined to go through this disturbing experience as we constantly try on new products. Doing the following things below may help calm down the skin.

  • Refrain from touching your face directly as it might irritate your skin and spread bacteria.
  • Follow a skincare routine that is simple enough. Sticking to primary skin care is best.
  • Cleanse your skin regularly with mild cleansers to remove dirt and impurities. Immediately use a gentle moisturizer to keep your skin hydrated.
  • Avoid exfoliating with physical exfoliators as it may worsen skin purging.
  • Using a toner is a must to balance the pH level and keep your skin healthy.
  • A mild sunscreen is essential to prevent skin irritation caused by harsh sunlight.
  • Calming products like Peptides, Ceramides, Hyaluronic Acid, Jojoba oil, and Aloe Vera can significantly relieve your skin.

Frequently Asked Questions | Does Azelaic Acid Cause Purging?

What is Azelaic Acid?

Azelaic Acid is an organic compound derived from wheat, barley, and rye. It is known for its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. It is usually infused in gels, foams, and serums and is available as a prescription.

Does Azelaic Acid Cause Purging?

Yes. As I said earlier, incorporating Azelaic Acid may cause purging as it stimulates skin cell turnover and unblocks pores.

How long does Azelaic Acid purge?

Purging caused by Azelaic Acid should not remain for over 4-6 weeks. If it exceeds this limit, immediately consult a dermatologist.


How to use Azelaic Acid?

Using Azelaic Acid is a simple task. First, you need to conduct a patch test, and if successful, use it after cleanser and toner. Layer it with sunscreen if it is a morning routine.

Can I use Azelaic Acid daily?

Yes. You can use Azelaic Acid daily; experts advise using it consistently to experience enhanced results.

Is Azelaic Acid Vitamin C?

No. Even though Azelaic Acid and Vitamin C have similar properties, they are different. Moreover, Azelaic Acid is more effective.

vitamin c vs azelaic acid

Which ingredients should be avoided with Azelaic Acid?

Including more than one chemical in your skincare routine might be harmful. AHA (Alpha Hydroxy Acids), BHA (Beta Hydroxy Acids), and Retinols should be kept away if you already use Azelaic Acid. However, it wholly depends on the skin’s tolerance level. Suppose one is a regular retinol user, and including Azelaic Acid is not causing an issue. In that case, you may continue using both.

The Final Say

We are constantly racing to find out about skincare products that provide us with quality results. In the quest to use cult favorites, we miss out on the research of the ingredients. When Azelaic Acid came into the limelight, I expected a huge fandom. To guide my readers and followers, I wanted to present an article that provides clarity and busts misconceptions. 

In this write-up, I gave a recap of Azelaic Acid and answered one of the most asked questions: Does Azelaic Acid cause purging? In a nutshell, it does cause slight purging and is regular and temporary. However, it entirely depends on your skin type and your health. Lastly, you should carefully check your product labels and research the ingredients. 

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About Rosaline Smith

Rosaline Smith, a vibrant and passionate woman in her early thirties, is the creative force behind the widely adored beauty blog, Lavenderous. With her radiant personality, Rosaline has effortlessly built a loyal community of beauty enthusiasts who eagerly await her opinions on newly launched beauty products.

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