Does Azelaic Acid Cause Purging?

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If you have frequent skin breakouts, determining the cause can be daunting. Some people blame imbalanced hormones, allergic reactions to specific foods, or using the wrong skincare products. If you have breakouts, the worst thing you can do is test different products without your dermatologist’s approval. One of the best products dermatologists can attest to for treating acne and other skin problems is azelaic acid. If your skin doctor has already prescribed it, your first question will be; does azelaic cause purging?

Read on to learn about purging and whether Azelaic acid can cause it.

Does Azelaic Acid Cause Purging?

Skin purging is the process that might happen to your skin when you use products containing certain ingredients. These ingredients speed up the rate at which skin cells turn over, causing your skin to exfoliate and bring all impurities from deeper layers to the surface.

Your skin’s cell turnover cycle is typically 28 to 40 days, but chemical exfoliants and retinoids can speed it up, which can lead to breakouts.

After noticing your skin purging, it’s easy to ditch a natural exfoliation skincare product like Azelaic acid. Most dermatologists attest that full recovery takes around eight weeks, depending on your skin type and body response. Unless your dermatologist asks you to stop the treatment, the only solution you have to end the breakouts is to be patient enough, so the pimples disappear for good.

How to Tell If Your Skin Is Purging or Breaking Out?

Purging is not the same as having an adverse reaction from a new topical product. The following are the tell-tale signs that indicate whether your skin is purging or breaking out.

Occurs in areas prone to pimples and acne.Occurs in areas where breakouts are unusual.
Fades much more quickly than a usual pimple.Takes long to heal.
Does not swell, itch, or hurt.Feels inflamed and painful.
Doesn’t leave marks on the skin.Leaves marks and scars on the skin.

Does Azelaic Acid Cause Purging?

If you’re using an azelaic-acid containing product and noticing an increase in breakouts, your skin might be experiencing purging. Since azelaic acid is a gentle exfoliator that clears the pores of built-up dirt and dead skin cells, it is likely to trigger purging when you first start using it.

But if the product makes you break out in areas you don’t usually break out, or if your acne gets inflamed, there’s a high chance that you have an adverse reaction. In this case, you should stop using the product.

How Long Does the Purging Last?

Breakouts during azelaic acid treatment should last up to 30 days. It depends on the condition of your skin when you first introduced the topical ingredient and the percentage of the acid in the formulation.

What to Do While Skin Is Purging?

To diagnose the cause of purging, analyze these two factors:

  • Where is the purging most prevalent? Is it on your cheeks, chin, or spread down your neck? Naturally, breakouts emanating from purging affect skin areas vulnerable to breakouts. These areas include your forehead, cheeks, and chin. In that case, keep using the product until the breakouts disappear.
  • If you have breakouts in other skin areas that aren’t prone to them, the purging is due to irritation. Perhaps the product you combine with the azelaic acid isn’t suitable for your skin. Check the product’s ingredients for glycolic acid, salicylic acid, retinoids, and microdermabrasion. The only solution is to see a dermatologist recommend a skincare product that doesn’t counteract azelaic acid’s healing action.

There are two ways of reducing purging during azelaic acid treatment:

  • Gradually introduce the skincare product to your skin so that it can acclimatize to it. Your skin’s natural exfoliation cells can fight off barrier damage and sensitivity if you start slowly. The best time to apply it to your skin is in the morning, once you’ve washed your face.
  • Go for mild skincare products that don’t interfere with Azelaic acid’s healing action. Also, it’s not advisable to use physical exfoliation products like facial scrubs as this will worsen the breakouts.

Benefits of Azelaic Acid for Skin

Benefits of Azelaic Acid for Skin

Azelaic acid is a keratolytic, comedolytic, and antibacterial ingredient for treating acne, rosacea, blemishes, and mild melasma. It’s safe for use on all skin types. However, the treatment requires consistency, so you will need to keep using it for 6-8 weeks.

The benefits of using azelaic acid include:

• Getting rid of dead skin cells

One way to reduce dead skin cells is by opening your skin’s pores through scrubbing. However, this method might not be helpful if you have sensitive skin. Fortunately, azelaic acid has keratolytic properties that increase the dead skin cells’ turnover rate. It works by triggering your skin’s natural exfoliation response, leaving you with unclogged and smoother pores. Plus, its effectiveness reduces your skin’s proneness to developing acne in the future.

• It’s effective for people battling stubborn acne

Pimples all over your face can weigh down your physical confidence. Your best bet is azelaic acid, as it works like an antiseptic that fights acne bacteria if you’re in this predicament. Its healing action goes beneath your skin, thus controlling factors that worsen acne. Some studies also suggest that it interferes with the acne bacteria, killing it from the inside.

• It prevents and treats hyperpigmentation

Hyperpigmentation is when excess melanin forms in certain areas of your skin. Azelaic acid disrupts an enzyme that triggers melanin production, called tyrosinase. Once it disrupts melanin production, you won’t have to worry about hyperpigmentation.

• It’s safe for all skin types

If you have sensitive skin and acne, your skin will likely get irritated with physical exfoliation techniques. Consequently, your skin experiences redness, pain, and many types of inflammation. Redness in your skin is also a symptom of rosacea, which worsens with prolonged exposure to the sun and using products with harsh ingredients.

Azelaic acid also soothes the redness and reduces breakouts. After treatment, you won’t have to worry about your skin enduring redness or developing fresh pimples. This product is FDA-approved and has scientific backing, guaranteeing safety for all skin types.

• It prevents whiteheads and blackheads

Acne can come in two forms; whiteheads and blackheads. Popping pimples is one way of worsening the breakouts because they will appear in other vulnerable areas. Azelaic acid works by cleaning your pores, preventing blackheads and whiteheads from forming in the future. For the best results, keep applying the topical product to affected areas for eight weeks. Also, apply it to your face while avoiding your eyes, lips, and mouth.

FAQs - Does Azelaic Acid Cause Purging?

Is azelaic acid safe for the face?

Yes. It’s FDA-approved and scientifically tried-and-tested for treating acne, rosacea, hyperpigmentation, and other skin conditions. It works on all skin types, including dry, oily, and sensitive skin. The treatment works best between six and eight weeks.

Is skin purging good?

It’s neither good nor bad. It depends on the state your skin was in when you introduced azelaic acid and its overall percentage. The best hack to reducing the purge is to gradually introduce the treatment in your routine.

Can azelaic acid cause breakouts?

It depends on your skin’s state when you introduce azelaic acid and its percentage. Combining products containing ingredients that conflict with it can also cause breakouts.

Does azelaic acid help acne?

Yes. It’s an antiseptic product that reduces acne bacteria, smoothing your skin. It has keratolytic acid that ignites your skin’s natural exfoliation mechanism and prevents acne from returning in the future.

Can azelaic acid remove acne scars?

Yes. It works by triggering cell turnover, reducing acne scarring severity. Its powerful action also prevents melanin production, reducing hyperpigmentation and also leading to significant stability and overall effectiveness.

Conclusion: Does Azelaic Acid Cause Purging?

According to WebMD, of all the skincare treatment methods for acne, rosacea, and hyperpigmentation, azelaic acid is the best. Your skin might purge during the treatment, but the problem will disappear if you stick to the treatment for six to eight weeks.

Judy Rose

Hi, it’s Judy!

I’m a passionate skincare specialist and writer. I have more than 7 years of experience as a beauty, fashion, and lifestyle writer and editor, and I’m extremely passionate about what I do.