Azelaic Acid: A topical gel that fights acne, rosacea, and aging!

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Azelaic acid (commonly prescribed under the brand name Finacea) is an FDA approved prescription topical that fights acne and rosacea. In addition, as it is a dicarboxylic acid, azeleic acid also helps with discoloration and rejuvenation– making it a great treatment to add to your daily regimen!

How does Azelaic Acid work?

Azeleic acid is a natural acid found in whole grain cereals and animal products.  For topical prescription purposes azeleic acid is formulated safely, under sterile techniques, in the laboratory.  Azeleic acid works in 3 ways:

  1. Azeleic acid helps slow the growth and eventually helps kill the 2 bacteria that can reside on the skin surface and lead to acne (Propionibacteria acnes and Staphylococcus epidermis).
  2.  Azeleic acid also helps to improve blocked pores by decreasing the production of dead skin cells (keratin).
  3.  Azeleic acid helps slow the production of abnormal melanocytes (the pigment producing cells), helping to minimize unwanted discoloration.

Why is Finacea a great treatment for acne?

One of the biggest problems for my patients are the dark brown and red spots  of discoloration that develop after an active acne lesion resolves.  Finacea does double duty:  it reduces the acne break-outs and treats the discoloration!

What are some good products containing Azelaic Acid?

Azeleic acid only is available by prescription. The 2 products on the market are:

During your office visit, we will discuss which type of azeleic acid is better for your skin type.

What are some of the side effects of AA?

Like most topical acne treatments, the most common side effects of Finacea or Azelex include redness, dryness, and irritation. Unlike benzoyl peroxide however, Finacea and Azelex do not bleach clothes or towels.  In addition, both Finacea and Azelex have a preservative called propylene glycol – this may cause allergic reactions in some patients.

An extra bonus:

Azeleic acid is safe to use during pregnancy! I have prescribed it to thousands of patients who are actively pregnant or planning pregnancy and used it myself to keep my skin healthy and glowing during 2 pregnancies 🙂


Azelaic acid is effective at treating acne, rosacea, limiting discoloration, and rejuvenating — let us discuss if you can  incorporate azeleic acid into your regimen today!

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