How to Use Azelaic Acid and Vitamin C For Flawless Skin 

It can be challenging to figure out the ideal combination of ingredients, particularly when it comes to the most popular – Azelaic acid and Vitamin C. These potent ingredients have earned significant love from skincare lovers.

Dermatologists highly recommend Azelaic acid and Vitamin C because they are both powerful skincare components that can improve the skin in various ways.

Suppose you’re looking for a way to reduce the complexity of your skincare routine. In that case, you may ask yourself which ingredient is more effective – Azelaic acid or Vitamin C? Can they be employed together? 

This article will discuss the uses and side effects of azelaic acid and vitamin C, whether you can use them together, and tips on using them in your skincare routine. 

What does azelaic acid do for your skin?

Azelaic acid is a dicarboxylic acid, distinct from other alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) and beta-hydroxy acids (BHAs). 

It offers a relatively gentle topical solution, often prescribed for tackling hyperpigmentation related to dark spots, acne scarring, and other skin-tone issues. 

This acid is typically used at a 15-20% concentration in topical treatment for acne, as it contains antibacterial properties that can kill acne-causing bacteria.

It is safe for all skin types, even though it is a potent acid, and although it is not technically a chemical exfoliant, it does work to remove dead skin cells, promoting a more even complexion. 

What makes azelaic acid stand out is its gentleness compared to AHA acids like glycolic, lactic, and mandelic.

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Main skin benefits of azelaic acid

Studies have explored the advantages of utilizing prescription-level azelaic acid concentrations of 15-20%, but even lower doses can yield astonishing skin advantages. 

This acid is suitable for all skin types, including those prone to rosacea, and offers various benefits such as:

  • Mild exfoliating action that assists in unclogging pores and refining skin’s surface
  • Beneficial skin-calming factors in decreasing sensitivity and bumps
  • Antioxidant power that contributes to healthier-looking skin
  • Helps minimize the observable signs of dark spots and acne scarring
  • Supports the skin’s ability to clear congestion, including decreasing the buildup of dead skin cells
  • Contributes to the appearance of a radiant, even complexion
  • Reduces inflammations and soothes acne and rosacea breakouts 

Although azelaic acid has a mild exfoliating effect suitable for delicate skin, it can initially worsen breakouts. As a precaution, it’s always a good idea to check with your physician to ensure it won’t disrupt your skin and lead to undesired reactions.

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Potential side effects of using azelaic acid

Azelaic acid is a mild skin care product suitable for any age and skin type. However, if you have sensitive skin or a weakened skin barrier, applying the active ingredient may lead to burning, tingling, peeling, dryness, or redness. 

Therefore, observing your skin’s reaction when introducing a new element into your regimen is essential. If you experience any adverse effects, discontinue using azelaic acid and seek medical advice.

What does Vitamin C do for your skin?

Ascorbic acid, or Vitamin C, is a potent antioxidant that serves many purposes in the body. When it comes to the skin, Vitamin C increases collagen production and guards existing collagen from damage. 

In addition, it is the ideal component for diminishing hyperpigmentation and encouraging a brighter, more even complexion. It also defends the skin from free radicals and external stressors,  such as pollution and UV exposure. 

It’s worth noting that Vitamin C is renowned for its quick loss of efficacy when exposed to oxygen and sunlight. However, Vitamin C products are typically packaged in a way that allows you to use them before they become oxidized.

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Main skin benefits of vitamin C

Vitamin C is the most plentiful antioxidant in your skin and is indispensable in producing collagen. The more collagen present, the more youthful and supple the skin appears. In addition to its powerful anti-aging qualities, this vitamin also provides the following benefits:

  • Helps vanish dark spots and hyperpigmentation 
  • Boosts the formation of collagen for better and youthful-looking skin
  • Tightens the skin and decreases the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles
  • Soothes inflammation and redness on the skin
  • Works alongside sunscreen actives to defend the skin from UV rays 
  • It reduces transepidermal water loss in the skin to hold its hydration levels.
  • Brightens the skin by accelerating the turnover of skin cells
  • Replenishes vitamin E, another antioxidant that lowers oxidative stress

Vitamin C is a fantastic antioxidant in your skin, making it great for all skin types. Its range of uses and protective qualities make it an excellent choice for any age group with different skincare needs.

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Potential side effects of using vitamin C

It’s normal to have a few reactions when trying out a new skincare ingredient – and that includes vitamin C. Itching, redness, and skin irritation are just a few of the most typical side effects. 

Although you may experience a mild burning or tingling sensation when applying the product, this should only be temporary. If the burning or any allergic reactions, like hives or swelling, persist, wash your skin to remove the product thoroughly.

Azelaic acid vs Vitamin C: Which is better for hyperpigmentation?

When treating hyperpigmentation, experts commonly recommend Azelaic acid and Vitamin C. However, research suggests that Azelaic acid is more effective than Vitamin C. 

Not only that, it is worth noting that L-ascorbic acid, a form of Vitamin C, is an unstable molecule and may need to be paired with other depigmenting agents to be effective. 

On the other hand, Azelaic acid is as potent as 4% hydroquinone and more effective than 2% hydroquinone, yet without the associated side effects.

Can you mix azelaic acid and vitamin C together?

Combining azelaic acid and vitamin C can be an excellent solution for your skincare regimen. 

It’s a great, pregnancy-friendly substitute for retinol and retinoids, and azelaic acid and vitamin C work at similar pH levels – azelaic acid is most effective when at a pH of 4.0-5.0. In contrast, vitamin C works best at pH levels under 3.5.

Bear in mind that azelaic acid and vitamin C are powerful, so it’s best to use them at different times of the day. 

For the best results, use vitamin C in the morning to shield your skin from free radicals and the sun’s UV rays, and apply azelaic acid at night.

How to use azelaic acid and vitamin c in your skincare routine?

Discovering the optimal way to layer azelaic acid and Vitamin C for your skin depends mainly on personal preference. One solution is finding a product that features azelaic acid and vitamin C in one blend, making it a convenient part of your skincare regimen. 

Alternatively, you can combine the individual components separately. Generally, Vitamin C is recommended for morning use since it helps shield the skin from environmental factors. You can also include azelaic acid in your morning routine or opt for its use in the evening. 

It is essential to consider the consistency of the formulas you are using. To ensure optimal absorption, always start with the products of the thinnest consistency, then proceed to the thicker ones.

How often can you use azelaic acid and vitamin c together?

Azelaic acid, known for being relatively mild, can be applied twice daily. Experts often recommend Vitamin C for morning use, but you can also apply it in the evening to restore the levels of this vitamin in your skin which were reduced due to external factors such as the sun. 

The mixture of azelaic acid and vitamin C is safe even if you’re expecting, so you can make it part of your daily regimen.

What should you not mix with azelaic acid?

Using azelaic acid in combination with other beneficial skincare ingredients such as niacinamide and peptides is perfectly safe. However, we don’t advise combining azelaic acid with Beta Hydroxy Acids (BHAs) like salicylic acid, as both of these ingredients can lead to dryness and discomfort. 

If you are using a prescription version of the product, it is wise to get advice from your doctor on the best way to include it in your skincare regimen. 

What should you not mix with vitamin C?

Vitamin C is widely known for its instability, making it necessary to be aware of certain elements to avoid when using the ingredient in skincare. 

AHAs and retinol are usually exfoliating agents, while niacinamide is hydrating. Although niacinamide can provide moisturizing benefits, combining it with Vitamin C renders both of their properties ineffective. 

AHAs, BHAs, and retinol can lead to increased skin sensitivity, peeling, irritation, and redness when used alongside Vitamin C, so it is advisable to alternate between these ingredients when creating a routine.

Wrapping Up

Combining azelaic acid and vitamin C can offer various benefits for your skincare routine. The recommended way is to use vitamin C in the morning and azelaic acid at night. 

If you’re trying to choose between the two, azelaic acid is better for treating breakouts, while vitamin C is more effective in combating signs of aging. 

We hope our guide answers most of your azelaic acid and vitamin C queries and whether or not they can be used together.

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