Azelaic acid is an active ingredient that is not yet well known. However, it is full of benefits to effectively fight against acne, hyperpigmentation and rosacea. It is found in topical medications. This article provides a definition of rosacea and how azelaic acid can help to fight it.
What Is Rosacea?
Rosacea, also known as couperose, is a chronic skin disorder that can become permanent without proper treatment. It is a disorder of the facial blood vessels. The majority of people with rosacea are women. This skin condition often occurs after the age of 30 and is characterized by widespread redness. Today, the physiological causes are still poorly identified. However, several factors can aggravate it, such as a disturbance of the immune system or a skin reaction following exposure to the sun.
Azelaic Acid, Overview.
Azelaic acid is a dicarboxylic acid derived from cereals (wheat, rye and barley). Nowadays, it can also be made synthetically in the laboratory. It has excellent anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties, allowing it to fight acne and rosacea.
Depending on its concentration in a product, azelaic acid can be a medicinal active ingredient used in the treatment of rosacea and acne vulgaris or a cosmetic ingredient used to regulate sebum, lighten the complexion and fight blemishes. In dermatology, azelaic acid is used at a concentration generally between 15 and 20% and falls into the category of drugs. In cosmetics, its concentration is lower (generally less than or equal to 10%) and it is used to mattify the complexion, fight effectively against imperfections and reduce pigmentation spots.
Azelaic Acid, an Effective Treatment for Rosacea.
In pharmacies, azelaic acid was first formulated in an anti-acne cream in the early 1980s. Then, reports indicated its potential effectiveness in treating rosacea. For example, one study demonstrated a significant continuous improvement in the number of inflammatory lesions and erythema over a 15-week period of treatment with a gel containing 15% azelaic acid.
Today, the exact mechanism of azelaic acid in rosacea remains unclear. Nevertheless, it is highly likely that the anti-inflammatory properties of azelaic acid, which acts by neutralizing reactive oxygen species, also known as free radicals, are responsible for such effectiveness. In addition, azelaic acid has an antimicrobial action and can inhibit the production of inflammatory mediators by follicular bacteria, resulting in the relief of redness and irritation.
In addition, side effects associated with 15% azelaic acid gel are usually mild and/or temporary. They usually do not require discontinuation of treatment.
Thus, an azelaic acid cream is a relevant first-line solution when you want to fight rosacea.
VAN ZUUREN E. J. & al. Interventions for rosacea. Cochrane Review (2003).
ELEWSKI B.E. Azelaic acid 15% for treatment of rosacea. Expert Opinion on Pharmacotherapy (2006).
LAYTON A. & al. Azelaic acid 15% gel in the treatment of rosacea Harald. Expert Opinion on Pharmacotherapy (2008).