Fungal acne is a skin condition that can be difficult to diagnose and treat, however, it’s important to address it in order to keep your skin healthy. Luckily, azelaic acid is an effective, natural treatment option for fungal acne. In this blog post, we’ll explore how azelaic acid works and the potential benefits and side effects it can have when used to treat fungal acne.
What is azelaic acid and how does it work to treat fungal acne?
Azelaic acid is an organic compound that can be found naturally in wheat, barley, and rye. It has been found to be an effective treatment for various types of acne, including fungal acne. It works by targeting the two main factors that contribute to the development of fungal acne: the overgrowth of Malassezia yeast and inflammation of the skin.
Antimicrobial Properties of Azelaic Acid
Azelaic acid has strong antimicrobial properties that allow it to inhibit the growth of the Malassezia yeast which causes fungal acne. It works by disrupting the metabolic processes of the yeast, preventing it from reproducing and growing on the skin.
Inhibiting the Growth of Malassezia Yeast
Malassezia yeast is a type of fungus that is found naturally on the skin of most people. However, in some individuals, the yeast can overgrow and lead to the development of fungal acne. Azelaic acid helps to inhibit the growth of this yeast, reducing the number of acne lesions on the skin.
Reducing Inflammation and Redness
In addition to its antimicrobial properties, azelaic acid also has anti-inflammatory effects that can help reduce the redness and inflammation associated with fungal acne. It does this by inhibiting the production of inflammatory cytokines and reducing the activity of certain enzymes that contribute to skin inflammation. As a result, the skin appears calmer, clearer, and more even-toned.
Benefits of Azelaic Acid for Fungal Acne:
Azelaic acid is a versatile skincare ingredient that offers a range of benefits for those with fungal acne-prone skin. It can help to unclog pores, prevent acne, lighten dark spots and hyperpigmentation, and minimize fine lines and wrinkles.
Unclogging Pores and Preventing Acne
One of the key benefits of azelaic acid is its ability to unclog pores and prevent the formation of acne. It does this by regulating the production of sebum, the natural oil that can contribute to acne breakouts when overproduced. Additionally, azelaic acid helps to reduce the growth of the Malassezia yeast which can contribute to the development of fungal acne.
Lightening Dark Spots and Hyperpigmentation
Another benefit of azelaic acid is its ability to lighten dark spots and hyperpigmentation. It does this by inhibiting the production of melanin, the pigment that gives skin its color. This can help to even out the skin tone and reduce the appearance of dark spots and hyperpigmentation caused by acne.
Minimizing Fine Lines and Wrinkles
Azelaic acid has also been found to have anti-aging benefits. It can help to minimize the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles by stimulating collagen production and improving skin elasticity. This can help to keep the skin looking youthful and firm.
In summary, azelaic acid is a highly beneficial ingredient for those with fungal acne-prone skin. It can help to unclog pores, prevent acne, lighten dark spots and hyperpigmentation, and minimize fine lines and wrinkles.
Potential side effects of azelaic acid treatment
While azelaic acid is generally well-tolerated, there are potential side effects that users should be aware of when using it for fungal acne treatment. These side effects can include mild skin irritation and dryness, temporary discoloration of the skin, and sensitivity to sunlight.
Mild Skin Irritation and Dryness
One of the most common side effects of using azelaic acid is mild skin irritation and dryness. This can cause the skin to feel tight or itchy, and in some cases, may lead to redness or flaking. To minimize these side effects, it is recommended to start with a lower concentration of azelaic acid and gradually increase it over time as the skin adjusts.
Temporary Discoloration of the Skin
Another potential side effect of azelaic acid is temporary discoloration of the skin. This may present as lightening or darkening of the skin in the areas where the product has been applied. While this side effect is usually temporary and will fade over time, it is important to speak to a healthcare professional if it persists or causes concern.
Sensitivity to Sunlight
Azelaic acid may also increase sensitivity to sunlight, making the skin more prone to sunburn and other sun damage. It is important to wear sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 when using azelaic acid and to avoid prolonged sun exposure. It is also recommended to use protective clothing and seek shade whenever possible.
How to use azelaic acid safely and effectively
To use azelaic acid safely and effectively, it is important to follow a few guidelines:
- Patch test the product: Before using azelaic acid, it is recommended to patch test a small amount of the product on a small area of your skin to ensure that you don’t have an adverse reaction.
- Start with a low concentration: If you are new to using azelaic acid, it is best to start with a lower concentration and gradually work your way up to higher concentrations as your skin tolerates it. This will help to prevent skin irritation and dryness.
- Apply to clean, dry skin: Azelaic acid should be applied to clean, dry skin once or twice a day. Avoid using other skincare products that may cause irritation or dryness.
- Use sunscreen: Azelaic acid can make your skin more sensitive to the sun, so it is important to use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 30 when using this product.
- Be patient: Azelaic acid may take several weeks to show visible results, so it is important to be patient and consistent with your use.
- Don’t overuse the product: Using too much azelaic acid can cause skin irritation and dryness. Follow the recommended usage guidelines and speak to a healthcare professional if you have any concerns about your skincare routine.
FAQs about azelaic acid as a treatment for fungal acne
How long does it take for azelaic acid to work for fungal acne?
The length of time it takes for azelaic acid to work for fungal acne can vary from person to person. However, many users report seeing improvement in their skin within 4-6 weeks of consistent use. It is important to note that for some individuals, it may take longer to see results. It is recommended to continue using azelaic acid as directed by a healthcare professional to achieve optimal results.
Can azelaic acid be used in combination with other acne treatments?
Yes, azelaic acid can be used in combination with other acne treatments. In fact, some studies have shown that combining azelaic acid with other topical treatments, such as benzoyl peroxide or topical antibiotics, can lead to more effective acne management.
However, it is important to speak to a healthcare professional before combining treatments, as some products may interact or cause irritation when used together. Additionally, it is important to follow product directions and avoid overusing acne treatments, as this can lead to skin irritation and other side effects.
Can azelaic acid cause fungal acne?
Azelaic acid is not known to cause fungal acne. In fact, it is commonly used as a treatment for fungal acne due to its antimicrobial properties and ability to unclog pores. Fungal acne, also known as pityrosporum folliculitis, is caused by an overgrowth of yeast on the skin, specifically the Malassezia fungus. Azelaic acid works by inhibiting the growth of the Malassezia fungus, which can help to reduce and prevent fungal acne breakouts. However, it is important to note that individual skin reactions can vary and some individuals may experience skin irritation or other side effects when using azelaic acid.
Is The Ordinary Azelaic Acid fungal acne safe?
The Ordinary Azelaic Acid Suspension 10% is generally considered safe for use on fungal acne-prone skin. The formula is free from common irritants such as alcohol, fragrance, and oil, making it a suitable option for those with sensitive or acne-prone skin. However, some of its ingredients may potentially aggravate fungal acne so it is important to patch-test the product before use and to speak to a healthcare professional if you have any concerns about ingredients or reactions.
Petra Nakashian (previously Kravos) is a dedicated natural health and beauty blogger, driven by the loss of her parents to cancer, which led her to meticulously research beauty product ingredients. With over 10 years of experience, her in-depth knowledge has made her a trusted expert in the field. Founder of Be Healthy Now and Green Beauty Talk, Petra recently expanded her expertise with Beauty Insights Hub, exploring a wider range of beauty treatments. Committed to transparency and honesty, her work is a vital resource for navigating the complex world of beauty.