Unlocking the Benefits of Azelaic Acid for Acne and Rosacea


What is acne (other than a pain in the you-know-what)?


Acne is caused by clogged skin pores, which can become congested with dead skin cells, oil, and environmental particulates. Sebum, an oily substance excreted from the sebaceous gland connected to each pore, can further exacerbate breakouts with overgrowth's of a bacteria called P. acnes. When your white blood cells attack the bacteria, all hell breaks loose on your face! Whiteheads, blackheads, pimples, redness, and irritation are the result.


What is rosacea?




Sometimes flushed cheeks aren’t a sign of health - skin that blushes very easily can be the first sign of developing rosacea. Cheeks that feel hot, or that sting, can also mean something isn’t quite right. Broken blood vessels, bumps, and breakouts that show up on the surface of the skin are other indications that you could potentially receive a rosacea diagnosis.


Nobody knows the exact cause for rosacea - it’s an inflammatory disease impacted by genetics; some environmental factors (like smoking and pollution); drinking alcohol, especially to excess; and sometimes even occupation - a professional chef in a kitchen setting might be exposed to oils and heat; irritated stomach or bowels; and a weakened immune system. Fair-skinned individuals and women are more likely to develop the symptoms of rosacea.


There’s no real cure for rosacea, but with close management, the identification of personal triggers, and high-quality treatments, you can make sure the condition is under control. One major tool to treat rosacea comes from the ingredient azelaic acid.


What is azelaic acid?


Azelaic acid is an incredible compound that can be found in skincare products like creams and serums - it derives and is naturally extracted from the grains wheat, rye, and barley, and it is produced by Salassezia furfur, a yeast that lives on normal skin. It is derived from Pityrosporum ovale, a form of yeast.


How can azelaic acid help treat acne and rosacea?




Azelaic Acid is often prescribed for acne treatment due to its exfoliating and disinfecting properties - it also possesses mild skin lightening effects, especially on darker skin containing more melanin. It has been proven to also be a topical antiseptic, making it especially well-suited to reduce breakouts that result from rosacea and acne. Azelaic acid is anti-inflammatory and  anti-microbial, so it really targets the causes and symptoms of blemishes and textured, irritated skin.


See our regimen at the end for products we recommend that contain azelaic acid!


Our Azelaic Toner is composed of 10% azelaic acid that comes from grain and 2% of salicylic acid that comes from the willow tree. They are in their purest form, and are then incorporated into a toner, which is always stronger and works better than cream or gel.


Here’s how azelaic acid helps your skin:

  1. Reduces inflammation. Azelaic acid targets the free radicals that lead to inflammation. It calms the skin, improving redness and reducing irritation. 
  2. Evens skin tone. Azelaic acid decreases pigmentation, or darker areas on the face, by inhibiting an enzyme called tyrosinase that causes areas of hyper-pigmentation. This is why azelaic acid is great for acne breakouts, post-acne scarring, and melasma.
  3. Fights acne. Azelaic acid targets the bacteria on your skin that causes acne. It counters Propionibacterium, a main bacteria found in acne, and can be considered a bacteriostatic (limiting the production of bacteria) and a bactericide (killing bacteria).

The Takeaway


Rosacea is an inflammatory disease whose causes aren’t exactly known but whose triggers are both internal (like stress and stomach issues) and external (like the sun or constant heat). Symptoms include red cheeks, broken capillaries, and bumps and breakouts, which can be exacerbated by certain foods and products. Though there’s no cure for rosacea, using a few, high-quality products, especially those with azelaic acid, can do wonders to soothe red and irritated skin.


Acne is caused by a bacteria called P. acnes, and the resulting whiteheads, blackheads, and more are blemishes that some people are just more prone to, due to factors like genetics and environment. Diet can sometimes play a role, and stress can definitely ramp up the breakouts. We’re also all very familiar with how hormonal changes (like your period or pregnancy) can cause pimples to pop up (or disappear!). 


Using azelaic acid to treat both rosacea and acne is simple, budget-friendly, and highly effective. Read on to explore Bellecôte products that use azelaic acid as an active ingredient!


BelleCôte Esthetician’s Advice: Azelaic absolutely helps treat acne, but it also helps you to extract ingrown hairs by exfoliating the surrounding skin. This makes it perfect for men to use after shaving! Azelaic is also a skin lightening component, and has been shown to be effective on scar tissue as well. 2% Salicylic acid is our recommended strength. If you have big pimples, put Azelaic first on the breaking out area, then apply with a q-tip directly on the pimple overnight. 


Spotlight: Bellecôte Azelaic Toner



Our Azelaic Toner targets oily and combination skin, instantly shrinking large pores and reducing redness from irritation. With 10% azelaic acid and 2% salicylic acid sourced from natural grain and willow, these pure ingredients provide results that creams and gels cannot, helping to heal breakouts overnight.


This toner exfoliates and reduces oiliness while helping to discourage the formation of blackheads and pimples. It can shrink large pores immediately and reduce redness on irritated skin. Key ingredients: Azelaic Acid for disinfecting, exfoliating and brightening; Salicylic Acid for clearing and exfoliating; and Allantoin for its soothing and cell regenerating properties.


BelleCôte Esthetician’s Advice: Azelaic toner can be a little drying; for use on sensitive or dry skin, dilute with a little water. 

Directions: Use after cleansing in the morning and evening. Generously moisten a cotton pad and pat on face, concentrating on problem areas. Avoid eye area. For salon settings: recommended use after extractions.

Active Ingredients: Azelaic acid 10%, Salicylic acid 2%, Organic Tea Tree Oil, Allantoin, Calendula, Echinacea. 

If you have normal to oily and combination skin and are looking to achieve clear skin, shrink pores, reduce oiliness and breakouts, in addition to the Azelaic Toner, we recommend to add these healing multi-functional products: 


Bellecôte Drying Lotion



For large blemishes, use this spot treatment after the Azelaic toner. It shrinks your pimples literally overnight. 

Directions: Use a q-tip to dot the solution on the blemish. Use only the pink solution - do not stir or mix. 

Active Ingredients: sulfur, zinc oxide, kaolin


Marine Volcanic Mud Cleanser 




If you are looking for a perfect, medical grade cleanser, this one fits the bill. 

Directions: Gently cleanse the face and rinse with water. 

Active Ingredients: marine volcanic mud. camphor, peppermint


Marine Moisture Gel




Regenerating, soothing and skin strengthening ingredients incorporated in this special oil-free formula effectively hydrate, heal and reduce redness. 

Directions: Apply on clean skin and massage gently to lock moisture in. 

Active Ingredients:  marine collagen, hyaluronic acid, AHA, allantoin.


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