If you’re looking for solutions to skincare concerns like hyperpigmentation or melasma, you may be wondering if azelaic acid is right for you. Read on to learn about how azelaic acid works and how it can help melasma and hyperpigmentation.
Azelaic acid is derived from a yeast that lives on normal skin. It is used to treat a variety of skin conditions due to its many skincare benefits, including:
Azelaic acid topicals come in gels, creams, or foams and may be used as a monotherapy or in combination with other skincare ingredients. Azelaic acid products are available over-the-counter at concentrations of 10% or less. While this may address minor issues like blackheads and brighten your complexion, it is not a concentration potent enough to address serious acne or hyperpigmentation issues.
To treat hyperpigmentation, prescribed concentrations are usually 15-20%. A study showed a 20% concentration caused a decrease in the appearance of postinflammatory hyperpigmentation after 24 weeks with mild and temporary side effects (Davis).
Several other studies reflect that azelaic acid is a safe and effective treatment for melasma. It is important to note that azelaic acid only affects abnormal melanin production, which means surrounding skin will not be affected by treatments (Bandyopadhyay).
This ingredient is often used in combination therapies to treat melasma. Other ingredients may include glycolic acid or retinoids, which help achieve the desired results more quickly.
The side effects of azelaic acid are typically mild and temporary as the skin adjusts to treatment. People with sensitive skin or eczema are more likely to experience side effects. Common side effects in the treatment area include:
If side effects don’t subside or get worse, you should consult your dermatologist about what to do next.
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Some people may be allergic to azelaic acid, which may result in serious side effects. If you have any of the following symptoms, you should stop using the product immediately and seek emergency medical treatment:
Regardless of whether you are using azelaic or another type of acid, some lifestyle changes can help increase the likelihood of success with your treatment for hyperpigmentation.