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Ingredient Highlight: Azelaic Acid

What it is: anti-acne, anti-inflammatory & skin-brightening

You can find it in: Face Foam

You may have heard about AHAs (Alpha Hydroxy Acids) and BHAs (Beta Hydroxy Acids). Did you know that azelaic acid is related to them? Yup! All of these acids are considered carboxylic acids, which is a class of organic acids, making them distant relatives to each other.

Azelaic acid is a superstar ingredient that is derived from grains, but don't worry it's gluten-free! You can naturally find it in wheat, rye and barley. Nature’s power, baby!

So what makes azelaic acid such a wonderful ingredient? 

There are 3 reasons why azelaic acid is such a skin wizard:

Reason 1: It helps to reduce blemishes

Azelaic acid has amazing antibacterial properties. It fights against multiple types of ‘bad’ bacteria that enjoy wreaking havoc on your skin, including the acne-causing P. acnes bacteria. In fact, dermatologists sometimes prescribe 15% or 20% prescription-strength azelaic acid as an acne treatment. 

This powerhouse ingredient also helps to produce healthy skin cells in your pores and prevents dead skin cells from clogging your pores. So what does this mean for you? No more blackheads, whiteheads or inflamed acne lesions! Say hello to a more even-looking complexion!

Reasons 2: It’s anti-inflammatory

Azelaic acid also has anti-inflammatory properties. It reduces cathelicidin upregulation, which is the peptide that modulates host immune responses. In some people, such as those with rosacea for example, cathelicidin can become overactive and cause your skin to become inflamed. By reducing this pathway, azelaic acid can help to relieve redness. 

A dermatologist might prescribe individuals with rosacea 15% prescription-strength azelaic acid as a means to regulate their symptoms.

A close-up of a dark-skinned woman's face whose skin is healthy and glowing.

Reason 3: It brightens the skin

This is another property that makes azelaic acid such a fantastic ingredient.

It’s quite effective against the post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation that can occur as a result of acne. It also helps with melasma - a skin condition that causes brown and/or blue-gray patches or freckle-like spots. 

So, who is it good for?

Basically, if you’re someone with acne-prone skin, if your skin is dealing with the aftermath left by pesky blemishes or if you’re prone to skin redness, then you should definitely give azelaic acid a try. Our Face Foam acts as a gentle introduction to this ingredient should you want to incorporate it slowly into your routine. And in true Graydon fashion, this product is multifunctional. It can be used as a cleanser and as an exfoliating and brightening mask!


Even though Aloe Milk Cleanser doesn’t lather, it still effectively cleanses the skin of impurities. Click here to learn how it does this!


Schulte BC, Wu W, Rosen T. Azelaic Acid: Evidence-based Update on Mechanism of Action and Clinical Application. J Drugs Dermatol. 2015 Sep;14(9):964-8. PMID: 26355614.

Liu H, Yu H, Xia J, Liu L, Liu GJ, Sang H, Peinemann F. Topical azelaic acid, salicylic acid, nicotinamide, sulphur, zinc and fruit acid (alpha-hydroxy acid) for acne. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2020 May 1;5(5):CD011368. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD011368.pub2. PMID: 32356369; PMCID: PMC7193765.

Faghihi G, Taheri A, Shahmoradi Z, Nilforoushzadeh MA. Solution of Azelaic Acid (20%), Resorcinol (10%) and Phytic Acid (6%) Versus Glycolic Acid (50%) Peeling Agent in the Treatment of Female Patients with Facial Melasma. Adv Biomed Res. 2017 Feb 22;6:9. doi: 10.4103/2277-9175.200784. PMID: 28299301; PMCID: PMC5343614.

Sofen B, Prado G, Emer J. Melasma and Post Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation: Management Update and Expert Opinion. Skin Therapy Lett. 2016 Jan;21(1):1-7. PMID: 27224897.

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