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Azelaic acid. What is it good for?

Azelaic acid is good and for several skin problems. Why?

Azelaic acid is a saturated dicarboxylic acid found in wheat, rye, and barley. Like most (but probably not all) chemicals, azelaic acid can also be made in a lab by a good organic chemist.

Figure: Azelaic acid


Azelaic acid and more soluble derivatives like azeloyl glycine (a.k.a. Potassium Azeloyl Diglycinate) can be used to treat some skin problems, usually as part of a combo with other chemicals.


Azelaic acid is used to treat mild to moderate acne, it works by killing acne bacteria that multiply within blocked pores.


Azelaic acid decreases inflammation in rosacea. The mechanism of action is thought to be through the inhibition of hyperactive protease activity that converts cathelicidin into the antimicrobial skin peptide LL-37.

Hyperpigmentation and melasma

Azelaic acid is tyrosinase inhibitor. Azelaic acid has been used for the treatment of skin pigmentation including melasma and postinflammatory hyperpigmentation, particularly in those with darker skin types.

What does azelaic acid do for the plant that makes it?

Secondary metabolites (those the plant does not use for a basic living) cost energy and carbon. In plants, azelaic acid serves as a “distress flare” involved in defense responses after infection. It serves as a signal that induces the accumulation of salicylic acid an important component of a plant’s defensive response.

Azeloyl glycine (Potassium azeloyl diglycinate)

This derivative of azelaic acid with the amino acid glycine is more soluble in water, a great advantage over azelaic acid. Azeloyl glycine normalizes sebum production and has activity as antifungal, antiacne, and skin lightener.

We use azeloyl glycine in SAS T-zone serum, Skin brightening cream, and more.


Rigano, L.; Cucchiara, M (2003) Azeloyl – glycine : a new active in skin disequilibrium. Journal of Applied Cosmetology, 21: 177-188.

Berardesca, E., Iorizzo, M., Abril, E., Guglielmini, G., Caserini, M., Palmieri, R., & Piérard, G. E. (2012). Clinical and instrumental assessment of the effects of a new product based on hydroxypropyl chitosan and potassium azeloyl diglycinate in the management of rosacea. Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, 11(1), 37–41. doi:10.1111/j.1473-2165.2011.00598.x


Claims on this page have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent any disease.

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