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Written for dermatologists by dermatologists. Indexed by the US National Library of Medicine.
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Azelaic Acid

Azelaic acid is a naturally occuring dicarboxylic acid that is found in grain. In the 1970’s an Italian dermatologist, Dr. Marcella Nazzarro Porro investigated its therapeutic potential and found that it has the ability to reduce pigment formation.

How Do I Use This Medication?

Apply a thin film of the cream to the affected area twice a day. Reducing the quantity used, and the frequency of applications, can increase tolerance if it causes irritation. Occasionally the product has to be discontinued.

How Well Does It Work?

You should see an improvement in terms of pigmentation and a reduction in inflammation in 4-8 weeks.

How Does It Work?

It is of benefit in reducing pigment formation in the skin by its anti-tyrosinase action in hyperactive melanocytes. It therefore is useful in the treatment of melasma.

The activity against Proprionibacteria acnes and Staphyloccocus epidermidis makes it active in the treatment of acne and rosacea. It appears to inhibit bacterial protein synthesis. It has mild anti-comodone action. The anti-inflammatory properties are a result of its oxy radical scavenging action.

Will There Be Side Effects?

You may experience itching due to irritation and subsequent dryness. Hypopigmentation may be rarely seen in darker skinned individuals. The drug is listed in FDA Pregnancy Category B – this means, that the drug levels that are passed into breast milk are insignificant.

Which Brands Are Available?

  • Azelex® 20% cream 30, 50 gms (Allergan)
  • Skinoren® (Shering AG)
  • Finnevin® (Berlex)