Azelaic Acid vs Salicylic Acid – Difference and Which Is Better?

Are you having a problem with acne and looking for the best solution for your skin type?

It’s not just you.

Many people who struggle with acne or other skin problems look for products that will improve their outcomes.

You could be thinking about experimenting with salicylic acid or azelaic acid, but how to do these two work?

What distinguishes azelaic acid from salicylic acid, and which is better for your skin?

When it comes to treating obstinate acne and promoting healthier, smoother skin for people who frequently break out in pimples, facial care acids are miraculous cures.

Even though the word “acid” might be unsettling and dubious, these substances perform wonders when combined with the appropriate goods and concentrations.

Azelaic acid and salicylic acid are two popular powerful acids used to treat acne.

Despite having similar titles, they differ in some significant ways.

What are these variations?

Can azelaic acid and salicylic acid be combined?

Depending on your skin type, needs, and current skin problems, you may choose which is best for you.

Continue reading to learn more about these two components so you can choose which is ideal for you! 

What Is Azelaic Acid?

Azelaic acid is a substance that naturally exists in grains including rye, barley, and wheat.

Though it occurs naturally, it is typically found in synthetic form in cosmetic products.

Because it may destroy the germs that cause acne while also lowering inflammation, azelaic acid is a successful acne therapy.

Ten percent or less of over-the-counter medications or larger quantities in medicines available only on prescription can include azelaic acid.

Azelaic acid aids in the breakdown of dead skin cells and enhances the texture of the skin by acting as a keratolytic, antibacterial, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory.

Azelaic Acid is a powerful component, yet despite this, it is quite mild on the face and one of the finest exfoliants for those with sensitive skin since it is a lot kinder to the skin than other ingredients like retinoids or BHAs.

The beneficial bacterium Malassezia furfur that resides on your skin produces azelaic acid.

Positive skin effects require sufficient good microorganisms on your skin, which is typically not the case with problematic skin.

Azelaic acid is a favorite among dermatologists for its gentleness and adaptability, even though it may not be the first substance that comes to mind.

It helps a lot more than simply acne outbreaks, thus it could also aid in eradicating other types of bacteria and reducing the redness caused by other skin diseases like rosacea or hyperpigmentation.

Benefits Of Using Azelaic Acid

Azelaic acid has recently gained popularity due to its seemingly limitless list of advantages for skin care.

Here are some of the benefits that you can get while using this product:

It is anti-bacterial. Due to its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial characteristics, azelaic acid is perfect for skin that is prone to acne.

It cures existing acne and aids in the prevention of future outbreaks by eliminating the germs that cause acne.

It reduces inflammation. Since azelaic acid has anti-inflammatory properties, it can lessen inflammation, swelling, and redness.

As a result, it’s ideal for those with sensitive skin or conditions like rosacea or eczema.

However, it can also help lessen acne-related inflammation.

It smooths out the texture. The linkages that keep dead skin cells together are broken down with the help of azelaic acid, leaving behind smoother, lighter, and softer skin.

It’s keratolytic. The keratolytic characteristics of azelaic acid aid in the breakdown of dead skin cells that can cause clogged pores, acne, closed comedones, and other textural problems.

It treats rosacea. Rosacea is a typical skin ailment that can lead to irritation, pimple-like lesions, and redness.

One of the most effective rosacea remedies is azelaic acid since it eases the redness, swelling, and pimples that are brought on by the condition.

Hyperpigmentation is reduced. By preventing the development of an enzyme called tyrosinase, which is crucial for melanin formation, azelaic acid is also excellent for lightening dark spots and hyperpigmentation, including acne scars.

What Is Salicylic Acid?

Salicylic acid, one of the most well-known skincare substances on the market, has long been admired for its advantages for the skin as well as its capacity to cure and prevent acne.

It has become a mainstay in the treatment of acne and other associated skin disorders due to its inclusion in hundreds of over-the-counter and prescription medicines.

A chemical exfoliant derived from the Willow Bark plant is salicylic acid, sometimes referred to as beta-hydroxy acid.

Because it is an oil-soluble exfoliator, it may penetrate the thick layer of oil on your face and get deep into the pores to clear them and prevent acne.

This is just one of the reasons it’s the greatest component for those with acne and oily skin.

Blackheads, sebaceous filaments, and blocked pores can all be treated with it.

You need a good exfoliator to prevent your pores from becoming blocked with dead skin cells since they tend to want to hang around on the skin and sort of clump together, and salicylic acid has a role in it.

Salicylic acid works by ‘ungluing’ dead skin cells from one another so they may be easily scrubbed away.

Salicylic acid can assist in reducing blackheads, controlling oil production, unclogging pores, and dissolving dead skin cells.

If you choose a salicylic acid treatment, it’s important to use the correct dilutions and not overdo it since as your skin loses its natural oils and barrier, it becomes more vulnerable to future bacterial development and free radical damage.

Benefits Of Using Salicylic Acid

Here, we will list a few benefits of using salicylic acid, which might be beneficial:

It deals with acne. Salicylic acid contains anti-inflammatory characteristics that can speed up the healing of acne by reducing the inflammation that causes pimples.

The acne can be prevented. Salicylic acid can cure acne that is already present, but it can also stop acne from developing by eradicating acne-causing bacteria, regulating oil production, and clearing clogged pores.

Given that it is a comedolytic agent, it inhibits comedolytic acne, such as blackheads or closed comedones.

It makes skin softer. Salicylic acid can remove the top layer of dead skin since it is a keratolytic agent.

This can aid in removing persistently closed comedones and improve the texture of rough skin.

Production of oil is reduced. The potential of salicylic acid to balance and control oil production is well documented.

It accomplishes this by controlling sebocytes, the skin’s oil-producing cells.

It reduces the number of pores. Salicylic acid aids in maintaining clean pores, and smaller-looking pores are those that are clear.

Differences between Azelaic Acid and Salicylic Acid

You might be asking what makes each component different and unique, now that you are aware of what it does for your skin.

Azelaic acid is mild and good for delicate skin, but salicylic acid is a much stronger exfoliator that frequently irritates the skin.

This is the fundamental difference between azelaic acid and salicylic acid.

Salicylic acid is an excellent choice for oily skin because it also works well to reduce oil production, but it may be too drying for dry skin.

On the other hand, some study points to azelaic acid as possibly increasing oil output.

There is little to no evidence, if any, to support the use of azelaic acid as a wrinkle and fine-line therapy.

However, it can alleviate certain early aging symptoms, including hyperpigmentation.

In general, if you have oily, acne-prone skin, salicylic acid could be a better option for you, but azelaic acid might be a better choice if you have sensitive, acne-prone skin.

However, it’s crucial to keep in mind that product composition greatly influences how useful or annoying a certain chemical might be.

Acne may occasionally be mistakenly identified as papulopustular rosacea.

Azelaic acid can cure both skin diseases, however, salicylic acid may exacerbate rosacea if you are unsure whether your spots are caused by acne or rosacea.

Similarities Between Azelaic Acid and Salicylic Acid

Okay, let’s do a fast review.

In essence, azelaic acid targets the bacterium itself and concentrates on preventing it from accumulating in the first place, whereas salicylic acid targets the sebum that mixes with dead skin and bacteria to clog your pores.

But, what are the similarities now that we know the differences?

Keep reading and find out!

Both of these acids are:

Keratolytics. Both acids are useful in treating problems brought on by the accumulation of skin because keratolytic, which are chemicals that act to dissolve skin scales and flakes, are present.

This procedure may also promote the development of new skin and lighten scars and dark patches left over from acne flare-ups.

Antibacterial. Salicylic acid’s antimicrobial qualities, however secondary to its capacity to break down sebum, are crucial for preserving healthy skin after acne has been treated.

The major attraction of azelaic acid is its antibacterial qualities.

Anti-inflammatory. In opposition to your own best interests, when a pimple emerges, you pick at it, which exposes bacteria and encourages further picking.

Both acids, then, aid in reducing the inflammation that might occasionally cause persistent picking.

Using Azelaic Acid and Salicylic Acid For Acne

Understanding how acne functions are the first step to comprehending the function of salicylic and azelaic acid in the treatment of acne.

When dead skin cells and oil combine to obstruct hair follicles, acne develops.

Our sebaceous glands, which release sebum to moisturize the hair and skin, are attached to the hair follicles.

Those glands occasionally secrete an excessive amount of sebum, which provides the ideal conditions for our natural oils to interact with dead skin cells and clog our hair follicles.

The bacteria that normally reside on human skin may occasionally join the party when these plugs develop, penetrating the skin’s surface to create inflammation and papules, pustules, nodules, or cysts.

Especially in situations of severe acne, acne can be difficult to cure, cause discomfort and anguish, and even affect confidence.

Here is how azelaic acid and salicylic acid cure it.

Both salicylic acid and azelaic acid are efficient and secure treatments for controlling and preventing acne.

Their anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial capabilities provide the skin with a boost to settle down.

Which acne treatment is ideal for your skin type and any potential problems you may be having will be determined by your dermatological physician.

Consult a dermatological professional to learn about your alternatives if you feel like you might benefit from some advice and techniques for treating your acne.

Just remember to use patience as you work toward having healthier skin. 

Who Should Use Azelaic Acid and Salicylic Acid?

First, let’s discuss azelaic acid.

Nearly everyone may take azelaic acid since it is a safer, kinder acid than others on the market.

Azelaic acid defies the advice of many acids on the market that they shouldn’t be used by women who are pregnant or nursing because they may seep into the pores and have negative consequences.

It is quickly rising to the top of the beauty sphere due to its adaptability and the outcomes it yields.

It not only effectively treats and prevents acne, but it also has less severe side effects than the majority of other acids available for skin care.

What about salicylic acid, though?

While salicylic acid can be helpful for all skin types depending on the concentration and precise usage, a face wash as opposed to a leave-on serum, for example, is often more helpful for individuals with acne-prone or oily skin types who need additional assistance bringing oil production under control.

Keep in mind that not all breakouts are the same and that exceptionally dry skin types might occasionally have them too since their skin is attempting to make up for a lack of lubrication.

Dead skin cells trap more oil, which causes acne to develop below and dry, flaky skin to persist on the surface.

In certain situations, salicylic acid could exacerbate acne by sometimes drying up the skin even more.

What To Do After Using Azelaic Acid and Salicylic Acid?

With tremendous strength comes great responsibility, therefore you should use caution when adding salicylic acid or azelaic acid to your skincare regimen.

The following are some things to watch out for after taking azelaic acid and salicylic acid:

Put on sunscreen. Azelaic acid does not carry the same risk as salicylic acid, which makes your skin more susceptible to sun damage.

Sun exposure, though, can erase all of your good work if you’re using azelaic acid for hyperpigmentation, so take additional care to protect your skin with sunscreen.

Be patient. After the two acids have finished working for a few weeks, you can keep using the product to keep your skin healthy.

Consequently, practice patience with your new regimen.

Test it first. You should always conduct a test run before using a new skincare product, as with everything new.

If the test on a tiny patch of skin goes smoothly, incorporate the new product gradually at first to give your skin time to become used to the change.

Irritation can happen. Leaving aside the previous point, skin irritation is frequently experienced while using azelaic and salicylic acids.

Both products are harsh on the skin, but if the effects become overwhelming, get advice from your dermatologist professional.

Moisturize. Both acids can have a drying effect since they aid in removing flaky skin and so promote the development of new skin.

If you have naturally dry skin, make sure to apply a moisturizer to give it the boost it needs to recover completely.

Can You Use Azelaic Acid and Salicylic Acid Together?

Can’t decide whether to use salicylic acid or azelaic acid?

You can take advantage of using them both, then!

According to certain research, treating inflammatory acne with azelaic acid and salicylic acid together is helpful.

But is doing so a good idea?

According to general skincare wisdom, irritation is more likely to occur with harsher treatments.

While combining azelaic acid and salicylic acid may yield quicker results, it also raises the possibility of dryness and irritation.

Our advice is to only use azelaic acid if your skin is sensitive.

However, we advise choosing salicylic acid and combining it with azelaic acid if, after a few months of usage, you are unsatisfied with the results.

How can you combine them?

These items are designed to be as effective as possible on their own.

There is a greater chance of irritability when you stack them, so try using the two of them on different days if you want to go this way.

Salicylic acid for one day and azelaic acid for another.

By doing this, you get the best of both worlds with the least amount of irritation.

Additionally, we advise you to incorporate each one into your regimen over at least one month.

In this manner, you’ll be able to identify the offending item and trash it without delay if one of them causes you to react negatively.

Which Is Better – Azelaic Acid or Salicylic Acid?

Which one is better when it comes to skincare products is a frequent debate.

However, the reality is rarely black or white but always gray.

Several things must be taken into account while choosing the one that is best for your skin.

You must first determine what you need right away.

Are you aiming for active breakouts and acne?

Are you making an effort to combat hyperpigmentation?

Selecting the best product will depend on your understanding of your skin issues.

Your skin type must also be taken into account.

Salicylic acid has strong exfoliating qualities and may go deeper into your skin to remove oil and impurities, making it a good choice if you want to battle acne.

However, if you have dry or sensitive skin, salicylic acid could irritate or dry up your skin more than usual, which might lead to further breakouts.

Instead, if you have dry, sensitive skin, choose azelaic acid.

Salicylic acid, on the other hand, is a fantastic option for oily skin since it can treat acne and help control oil production.

Choosing the ideal skincare product also requires understanding how your skin type responds to certain triggers and products.

Based on the skin issues you wish to treat and your skin type, you may decide which option is ideal for you.

In Conclusion

We concluded that if you have oily acne-prone skin, salicylic acid is your best chance, whereas azelaic acid has several advantages, like smoothing the skin’s surface and achieving an even skin tone, that you may enjoy even if you have sensitive skin.

They are both skilled at what they do, though.

So, pick your chosen component after taking your skin’s needs into account!

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