Meds and you

Updated 11 February 2013

Azelaic acid

Azelaic acid is used in the treatment of mild to moderate acne vulgaris. It is a substance found naturally in wheat and barley.

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Azelaic acid is the active ingredient of Skinoren.

General information

Azelaic acid is used in the treatment of mild to moderate acne vulgaris. It is a substance found naturally in wheat and barley.

When using this product, contact with the eyes should be avoided to prevent irritation. Sun exposure should also be kept to a minimum.

How does azelaic acid work?

Azelaic acid has an antibacterial effect on follicles; and it keeps shedding of skin cells under control, preventing clogging of pores, and also preventing inflammation and unsightly red areas. It also plays a role in reducing pigmentation formed as a result of acne.

Fast facts

Drug schedule: Schedule 1

Available as: Cream and gel

What does it do? Azelaic acid has an anti-acne effect

Overdose risk: Low

Dependency risk: Low

Available as a generic ? No

Available on prescription only? No

User information

Onset of effect: Improvement should occur within 4 weeks.

Stopping: You can safely stop using this product when it is no longer needed.

Prolonged use: The safety and efficacy of azelaic acid have not been proven for more than 6 months.

Special precautions

Alert your doctor before using this drug if you have had an allergic reaction to azelaic acid before.

Minimise sun exposure when using this medication.

Pregnancy: Avoid. It is unknown how this medication may affect your baby. Consult your doctor before using this drug, or if you are planning to fall pregnant

Breastfeeding: Avoid. It is unknown how this medication may affect your baby. Consult your doctor before use.

Porphyria: Avoid. It is unknown how this medication may affect your condition. Consult your doctor before use.

Infants and children: This medication is not usually used in children.

Elderly: No special precautions need to be taken.

Possible side effects

Side effect

Frequency

Consult your doctor

Common

Rare

Only if severe

In all cases

Local skin irritation

x

x

Photosensitivity

x

x

Overdose action

On accidental ingestion of largish amounts, vomiting is possible. Contact your doctor.

Recommended dosage

Apply to skin twice daily (maximum 10g/day).

Interesting fact

Studies have shown that azelaic acid may be useful as a hair growth stimulant if used in combination with zinc and vitamin B6.

This material is not intended to substitute medical advice, but is for informational purposes only. Please consult a physician for specific treatment and recommendations.

 

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