Seborrheic dermatitis is a skin condition that affects many people and is characterized by red, scaly, and itchy patches on the face, scalp, and other oil-producing areas of the body. Finding the right treatment can be challenging, but azelaic acid has emerged as a promising solution.
In this blog post, we will delve into the science behind azelaic acid and its potential to treat seborrheic dermatitis. We will look at the evidence supporting its use, as well as any potential side effects. By the end, you will have a clear understanding of whether azelaic acid is a good fit for you as a treatment for seborrheic dermatitis.
What is Azelaic Acid?
Azelaic acid is a naturally occurring compound found in various plants, such as wheat, barley, and rye. It has a unique molecular structure, which gives it both anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties. These properties make it an ideal ingredient for skin care products and a potential treatment for various skin conditions, including seborrheic dermatitis.
Aside from its potential as a treatment for seborrheic dermatitis, azelaic acid has been used for other skin concerns, such as acne, hyperpigmentation, and rosacea. It is considered a safe and effective option for those with sensitive skin, as it is gentle and non-irritating. However, it is always best to consult with a healthcare provider before using azelaic acid for any condition.
How Does Azelaic Acid Help with Seborrheic Dermatitis?
Azelaic acid has several properties that make it an effective treatment for seborrheic dermatitis. These include its anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and normalizing keratinization effects.
- Anti-inflammatory Properties: Inflammation is a key component of seborrheic dermatitis and other skin conditions. Azelaic acid has been shown to reduce inflammation by inhibiting the production of certain enzymes and cytokines that contribute to the inflammatory response.
- Antimicrobial Properties: Seborrheic dermatitis is often associated with an overgrowth of yeast on the skin, which can contribute to the symptoms of the condition. Azelaic acid has antimicrobial properties that can help to control this overgrowth, reducing the severity of symptoms.
- Normalizing Keratinization: Keratinization is the process by which skin cells mature and become more dense and resilient. In seborrheic dermatitis, this process can become disrupted, leading to scaly, flaky patches of skin. Azelaic acid has been shown to normalize keratinization, helping to improve the appearance of the skin.
Benefits of using Azelaic Acid for treating Seborrheic Dermatitis
Azelaic acid has several benefits as a treatment for seborrheic dermatitis. These include:
- Ease of use: Azelaic acid is available over the counter in various forms, making it easy to find and use. It can also be used in combination with other treatments, such as topical steroids or anti-fungal medications.
- Safe for sensitive skin: Azelaic acid is generally well-tolerated and has few side effects. It is also considered safe for those with sensitive skin, as it is non-irritating and gentle.
- Anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties to control underlying causes
- Cost-effective: Azelaic acid is relatively inexpensive, making it a cost-effective option for those looking for an affordable treatment for seborrheic dermatitis.
- Improves skin appearance by normalizing keratinization
- Established safety profile
Evidence Supporting the Use of Azelaic Acid for Seborrheic Dermatitis
Current treatments for seborrheic dermatitis include medications that have antifungal, anti-inflammatory and antikeratinizing properties. Azelaic acid has all three of these properties and may be a useful addition to current treatments although there is very limited evidence currently available and further research is needed.
One study showed that azelaic acid 15% gel is effective and safe for treating seborrheic dermatitis. Azelaic acid is a good choice for this because it can help treat rosacea and acne at the same time.
There is also one case report of a patient with both papulopustular rosacea and seborrheic dermatitis who was successfully treated with a combination of topical azelaic acid and oral medication.
Azelaic Acid gel 15% was used twice a day and isotretinoin 40mg twice a week. This treatment approach reduced the number of medications needed and simplified treatment, resulting in lower costs. Isotretinoin was used for its benefits for both rosacea and seborrheic dermatitis, while Azelaic Acid gel has multiple properties, including anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and anti-keratinizing effects, making it useful for treating both conditions.
Although more research needs to be done on the effectiveness of azelaic acid for treating seborrheic dermatitis, current evidence suggests that it may be a useful addition to current treatments.
Side effects of using Azelaic Acid for treating Seborrheic Dermatitis
Azelaic acid is a safe and effective option for treating Seborrheic Dermatitis. Side effects are generally mild, but can include itching, burning, stinging, tingling, or redness of the skin where the medication is applied. These side effects usually go away on their own after a few days of use
In rare cases, azelaic acid can cause more serious side effects, including an allergic reaction, difficulty breathing, and hives. If you experience any of these symptoms, it is important to seek medical attention immediately.
To minimize the risk of side effects, it is important to follow the instructions for use provided by your doctor or pharmacist. You should also avoid using azelaic acid on broken or irritated skin. If you experience any skin irritation, reduce the frequency of use or discontinue use altogether. It is important to protect your skin from the sun, as azelaic acid can increase your skin’s sensitivity to the sun. Finally, it is important to avoid using azelaic acid during pregnancy, as its safety during pregnancy has not been established.
Tips on how to use Azelaic Acid properly when treating Seborrheic Dermatitis
To get the best results, it is important to properly apply and use azelaic acid.
First, wash the affected area with mild soap and water. Then, apply a thin layer of azelaic acid cream or gel to the affected area twice a day. Gently massage the product into your skin until it is fully absorbed. Avoid getting the product in your eyes, nose, or mouth. After application, be sure to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water.
It may take a few weeks to see an improvement in your skin. If you do not see any results after 4-6 weeks, contact your doctor for further instructions.
In conclusion, azelaic acid is a naturally occurring compound that has anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and normalizing keratinization properties. These properties make it an ideal ingredient for skin care products and a potential treatment for various skin conditions, including seborrheic dermatitis.
Although there is limited evidence available on the effectiveness of azelaic acid for seborrheic dermatitis, current research suggests that it may be a useful addition to current treatments. Azelaic acid is easy to use, safe for sensitive skin, cost-effective, and has few side effects. However, it is always best to consult with a healthcare provider before using azelaic acid for any condition.
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.