Your Guide to Brighter Underarms with Azelaic Acid

Have you been among the many reaching for glycolic acid to lighten dark underarms, but perhaps found it a bit too much for your skin? You’re not alone, and there’s a gentle alternative that might just be your new go-to – azelaic acid.

This understated acid is not only suitable for all skin types but is especially kind to our sensitive underarm area. A little word of caution: while azelaic acid is a milder choice, our underarm skin is delicate, so a mindful approach is key.

If you’re thinking about trying azelaic acid for dark underarms, you’re in the right spot! Let’s explore together how azelaic acid can help you, investigate its additional benefits, and learn the correct application methods to effectively address underarm hyperpigmentation.

Discovering Azelaic Acid: A Gentle Giant in Skincare

Azelaic acid, found naturally in grains like wheat and barley, quietly champions skincare by addressing concerns with a gentle touch. Notably recognized for mitigating acne and lightening hyperpigmentation, it provides a subtle, yet effective, approach to enhancing skin’s clarity and brightness without undue harshness.

As a dicarboxylic acid, azelaic acid operates with a stable and skin-friendly pH level, subtly inhibiting melanin production and gently lightening hyperpigmentation, ensuring our skin’s health and radiance are front and center.

Why Consider it for Underarms?

When it comes to underarm care, azelaic acid steps forward as a gentle yet effective solution. It provides a subtle, yet impactful, approach to managing dark underarms, ensuring the sensitive area is lightened and brightened without the harshness often associated with other treatments.

How Azelaic Acid Works

Azelaic acid, while gentle, plays a crucial role in managing melanin production in our skin. It subtly interferes with the melanocytes, the cells that produce melanin, ensuring they don’t go into overdrive and cause further darkening, particularly in our underarm area. It’s a delicate balancing act, providing enough intervention to lighten the skin while ensuring no harsh reactions.

Expected Results

Using azelaic acid typically results in a gradual lightening of the underarm area. Consistent use is key to observing a shift towards an even-toned and smoother appearance.

It’s important to note that azelaic acid does not provide immediate results; instead, it progressively lightens dark areas with steady use over time. Always prioritize consistent and correct application to observe optimal results.

Safety First: Using Azelaic Acid Mindfully

Is it Safe for All Skin Types?

Azelaic acid, known for its gentle nature, is generally suitable for all skin types, including the most sensitive ones. It provides lightening benefits across various skin tones and types. However, conducting a patch test with any new product is always recommended to ensure it aligns with your unique skin.

Application Dos and Don’ts

When introducing azelaic acid to your underarm care, mindful application is key. A pea-sized amount is typically all you need, gently massaged into clean, dry skin. While it’s a milder acid, ensuring you follow up with a soothing, fragrance-free moisturizer can offer additional comfort. Remember, consistency rather than quantity brings forth the gentle, brightening results azelaic acid is loved for.

A Step-by-Step Guide: How to Use Azelaic Acid for Underarms

Starting Right: The Patch Test

Initiate your azelaic acid journey with a patch test, applying a small amount to a discreet area, and observing for 24-48 hours to ensure no adverse reactions unfold.

Preparing the Skin: Exfoliation for Optimal Results

Exfoliating the underarm area can be a beneficial step before applying azelaic acid. Using a gentle exfoliant can help remove dead skin cells, allowing the azelaic acid to penetrate more effectively.

Ensure to choose a mild exfoliating product to avoid irritation and always follow with a rinse. If you’ve recently shaved the area, it’s wise to wait a day post-exfoliation to avoid any potential irritation.

The Application Process

With clean and prepped underarms, gently massage a pea-sized amount of azelaic acid into each underarm. Ensure even distribution and allow it to fully absorb before proceeding to the next step.

Follow-up Care

Opt to layer a gentle, fragrance-free moisturizer post azelaic acid application, offering your skin an extra bout of hydration and comfort.

Consistency is Key

Embed azelaic acid into your regular skincare routine, ensuring consistent application as directed by the product guidelines, to witness optimal, gentle brightening results over time.

Beyond Lightening: Other Benefits of Azelaic Acid

Azelaic acid does more than just lighten; it brings along a suite of benefits for your underarms:

  • Reducing Odor: The antibacterial properties of azelaic acid can manage odor-causing bacteria, indirectly aiding in controlling unpleasant underarm odors.
  • Smoother Skin: Through gentle exfoliation and promoting cell turnover, azelaic acid reveals smoother, fresher skin, enhancing the tactile feel of your underarms.
  • Minimizing Irritation: Its anti-inflammatory properties can soothe the skin, especially post-shaving or waxing, reducing redness and providing comfort.
  • Managing Bumps: By gently exfoliating and smoothing the skin, azelaic acid can help manage any small bumps or textural issues in the underarm area.
  • Addressing Underarm Acne: Azelaic acid can be beneficial in managing underarm acne or pimples by reducing inflammation, targeting acne-causing bacteria, and gently exfoliating to prevent pore-clogging, thereby providing a clearer underarm skin.

In Your Overall Skincare Routine

Azelaic acid, recognized for its versatility in facial skincare, addresses various concerns including minimizing blemishes, easing rosacea symptoms, smoothing skin texture, and lightening hyperpigmentation. Its wide-ranging applications make it a valuable addition to skincare routines, providing gentle and effective results.

Choosing the Right Product: Recommendations and Reviews

Best Azelaic Acid Products for Underarms

Navigating through the myriad of skincare products can be a daunting task. Let’s simplify it by spotlighting three azelaic acid products that have been making waves in the skincare community:

What to Look for in a Product?

When selecting an azelaic acid product, it’s crucial to consider a few key aspects to ensure it aligns with your skincare needs and preferences:

  • Concentration: Ensure the product has an effective azelaic acid concentration, typically between 10% and 20%.
  • Formulation: Look for formulations that complement your skin type, whether you need something lightweight or a richer cream.
  • Additional Ingredients: Consider products that combine azelaic acid with other beneficial ingredients like salicylic acid, niacinamide, or vitamin C to enhance the overall skincare benefits.
  • Brand Reputation: Opt for brands that are reputable and have positive reviews to ensure product efficacy and safety.
  • Skin Compatibility: Always prioritize products that are compatible with your skin type to avoid potential irritations or adverse reactions.

Remember, the best product for you is the one that aligns with your skin’s unique needs and your skincare goals. Always patch test new products and gradually introduce them into your routine to monitor how your skin responds.

FAQs and Myths Busted

Can azelaic acid irritate my skin?

While azelaic acid is generally well-tolerated and is often suitable for sensitive skin, there is always a potential for irritation, which might present as redness, itching, or dryness.

It’s crucial to conduct a patch test before fully integrating it into your routine and to introduce it slowly, perhaps using it every other day to start, to monitor how your skin reacts.

If you notice any signs of irritation, it may be helpful to reduce frequency of use or discontinue the product and consult a healthcare professional or dermatologist.

How quickly can I expect results?

Patience is key! Visible results might take a few weeks as your skin acclimates and responds to the ingredient. According to Dr. Sam Bunting, a reasonable improvement can typically be observed around the 6-week mark. However, fully clearing pigmentation can take considerably longer due to the gradual and gentle nature of the acid in lightening hyperpigmentation.

Can I use azelaic acid with other active ingredients?

Yes, azelaic acid is known for its compatibility with various active ingredients, such as hyaluronic acid, which can provide additional hydration, and niacinamide, which can further support skin barrier function and improve the appearance of enlarged pores.

However, while azelaic acid is generally well-tolerated alongside other actives, it’s always wise to proceed with caution and consult a dermatologist when introducing new combinations into your skincare routine to avoid potential irritations or adverse reactions

Busting Myths

In our journey through skincare, we often encounter various myths that can create confusion. Let’s debunk a couple related to azelaic acid:

  • Myth: Azelaic acid bleaches the skin.
    Truth: It doesn’t bleach the skin but helps in reducing hyperpigmentation by inhibiting melanin production.
  • Myth: It’s not safe to use azelaic acid during pregnancy.
    Truth: Azelaic acid is considered safe during pregnancy, but always consult with your healthcare provider before incorporating any new ingredient into your routine during this time.


Navigating through the world of underarm care, we’ve uncovered the gentle yet effective powers of azelaic acid together. From lightening hyperpigmentation to smoothing and soothing the delicate underarm skin, this unassuming acid offers a kinder path to brighter underarms.

Remember, your journey with azelaic acid is uniquely yours—patience, consistency, and mindful application are your companions along the way. May your steps towards lighter, more confident underarms be gentle and rewarding. Here’s to embracing a skincare journey that uplifts and celebrates your skin in all its natural beauty!

Related content:

Decoding Glycolic Acid for Underarms: The Ultimate Guide
The Ordinary Products for Underarms: A Comprehensive Guide
The Ultimate Guide to Azelaic Acid for Hyperpigmentation

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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.