Guide To Azelaic Acid

Azelaic acid is a prescription medication. Patients with acne are prescribed azelaic acid as a topical cream. Individuals with rosacea use a topical foam or gel. Doctors typically advise patients to apply a thin layer of cream to the affected area twice a day. Doses for children are determined on an individual basis. Patients should let their doctor know if their acne does not improve after one month. Individuals with rosacea should check with their doctor if they do not see any improvement after three months. Patients need to attend regular follow-up appointments during treatment so that doctors can monitor their progress. 

It is clear that azelaic acid is a prescription acne treatment. Some reports indicate that it also treats acne scars. Patients may try other treatments, include antibiotics for acne or home remedies for acne. As mentioned, this medication is also used as a rosacea treatment. Ultimately, patients need to understand how azelaic acid cream works before they consider using it for their condition.

How It Works 

Azelaic acid belongs to a group of medicines called dicarboxylic acids. These acids reduce the amount of keratin an individual's body makes. Keratin is believed to encourage the growth of certain types of bacteria that cause acne. Azelaic acid prevents the hyperactive protease action responsible for converting cathelicidin into a skin peptide called LL-37. This mechanism is particularly helpful for the reduction of swelling associated with rosacea. 

Additionally, azelaic acid is classified as a tyrosinase inhibitor. These medicines reduce the body's synthesis of melanin. This reduction makes azelaic acid particularly helpful in treating hyperpigmentation and skin discoloration. 

Continue reading to reveal the major uses and benefits of this medication next.

Uses And Benefits 

Azelaic acid is intended to treat acne that is mildly or moderately inflamed. It is also approved to treat mild to moderate rosacea. By reducing inflammation, azelaic acid reduces the skin redness and irritation associated with acne. Ultimately, this medication helps make acne less visible. It destroys bacteria in the pores that may contribute to acne. In addition, this medication can minimize acne scarring. It does this by allowing the skin to heal more quickly by improving the turnover rate of skin cells. Doctors may prescribe azelaic acid to individuals without active acne who are struggling with severe acne scarring. 

The medication is also used to lighten the skin in patients who have hyperpigmentation. It can help individuals with melasma as well. For patients with rosacea, azelaic acid helps to reduce swelling. This medication also reduces the visibility of blood vessels at the treatment site. Sometimes, azelaic acid is used in the place of hydroquinone. Patients should always ask their doctor about the risks and benefits of using azelaic acid for their particular health concern, especially if it is being recommended for 'off-label' use. 

Discover the potential side effects next.

Potential Side Effects 

Azelaic acid can cause several side effects, such as skin changes. It is common to experience a burning or tingling sensation after applying it. The patient's skin may become dry, red, or itchy. In some cases, skin peeling occurs. Patients should let their doctor know if they experience any of these skin changes. Less commonly, blisters may form on the skin. There may be skin flaking, swelling, soreness, or severe redness also. This medication can also cause the skin at the treatment site to become lighter than usual. If this occurs, patients should let their doctor know immediately. It may be necessary to stop this medicine. 

Some patients could be allergic to this medication. Potential signs of an allergic reaction include hives, breathing difficulties, and swelling of the lips, face, or tongue. Patients need emergency medical care if these symptoms are present. Some individuals have noticed an elevated heart rate, joint pain, chest tightness, and vocal hoarseness. Fever and eye swelling have been reported as well. Although these side effects are rare, patients who experience these effects should be evaluated by their doctor.

Get information on the precautions linked to this medication next.

Precautions To Remember 

Azelaic acid may not be safe for patients with certain medical conditions. It may worsen the symptoms of asthma. Thus, individuals with this condition may need close supervision during treatment. Since this medication can cause skin dryness or irritation, it is essential to avoid using over-the-counter skin products with the same side effects. For example, patients should not use astringents or cleansers that contain alcohol. Individuals who use the foam or gel form of this medicine should avoid using abrasive products and chemical peels too. 

The foam form is flammable. Thus, patients need to avoid smoking and open flames when they apply it. It is safe to apply makeup at the treatment site after the azelaic acid has dried. However, patients should not wrap or bandage the treatment area unless their doctor has asked them to do so. Doctors recommend that patients avoid alcohol, spicy foods, and hot drinks while using azelaic acid.

Uncover the potential medication interactions next.

Potential Medication Interactions 

Azelaic acid may interact with isotretinoin, another prescription acne medication. Patients who use both of these medicines may experience an increase in side effects. This includes increased skin dryness, redness, and peeling. Doctors may recommend that these medications are not used at the same time. Patients should let their doctor know about all of the over-the-counter and prescription medicines they use. They should also inform them about their use of herbal supplements, vitamins, and minerals. It may be necessary to stop some of these medicines during treatment with azelaic acid. Patients may be advised to reduce their dose of certain drugs as well. 

Azelaic acid is not associated with any severe medication interactions. However, patients who believe that they are experiencing side effects due to drug interactions should let their doctor know as soon as possible.