Azelaic acid is a naturally occurring dicarboylic acid that is able to assist in normalisation of the microflora on the skin. Organisms that have become opportunistic are normalised to their normal level, including P.acnes, and it thus assists in many cases in clearing and preventing acne. Azelaic acid is used mostly in cream form and works well in mild to moderate outbreaks of acne; it does not work for forms of acne that have a different origin. Studies have shown that azelaic acid works as well as creams containing benzoyl peroxide, tretinoin and antibiotics (D.Thiboutot, Versatility of azelaic acid 15% gel in treatment of inflammatory acne vulgaris, J.Drugs Derm., 7, 13,(2008). It takes 1-2 months before azelaic acid starts to show its performance and the acne lesions to start disappearing. Azelaic acid occurs naturally in cereals such as wheat, rye and barley. It may be produced by fermentation technology, but preferably by ozonolysis of oleic acid. It is a white solid, melting point 110°C. It is poorly soluble in water, but its mono- and disodium salt are reasonably soluble in water. It acts as a weak acid with pKA-values of 4,55 and 5,50. Commercial personal care preparations contain 8-12% azelaic acid, enabling to better control undesired side reactions.
The many Azelaic Acid uses are unique in the cosmetic & pharmaceutical marketplace. The abstract of Azelaic acid has several medically proven uses unlike most ingredients. The most common uses are:
- Treatment of acne
- Skin Lightening
- Aid in the growth and regrowth of hair
- Control of rosacea
No other single ingredient has so many proven uses in the human physiology nor can may others be used across the pharmaceutical/ cosmetic range with only variance in purity and particle size.
Even in ancient times, over 3,000 years ago, the “doctors” of the day used mixed grains to aid in their treatment of hyperpigmentation. Now we have recognized this is done with Azelaic acids ability to reduce the production of tyrosinase which is what causes melanin to form and lead to hyperpigmentation.
Today most Azelaic acid is manufactured by oxidation of Oleic acid, mainly obtained from sunflowers or milk thistle oil. This will yield an Azelaic acid that is normally offered in a purity range of 90% – 95%.