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 • Opinion  • Columnists  • Skincare Agony Aunt  • “Can Azelaic Acid Help Whiteheads?” We Ask Our Skincare Agony Aunt Dr Sonia

“Can Azelaic Acid Help Whiteheads?” We Ask Our Skincare Agony Aunt Dr Sonia

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Dr Sonia Khorana is a GP with a special interest in dermatology and Live That Glow’s own skincare agony aunt. She is passionate about helping people feel confident in their own skin.  Here, she advises a reader concerned about how to choose the right chemical exfoliant.
 
Does azelaic acid gel help whiteheads and acne prone areas?

Dr Sonia says:

I often get a lot of patients asking me about azelaic acid in my clinic as it’s becoming better known through social media and several brands are incorporating it in their products. Azelaic acid has a host of benefits and is useful for everything from acne to rosacea, perioral dermatitis to hyperpigmentation.

Regular use can make breakouts less likely as azelaic acid has antibacterial properties (which reduces acne-causing bacteria) and gentle exfoliating properties which keeps pores clear and helps eliminate whiteheads/blackheads. This makes azelaic acid a great ingredient for acne prone skin types.

Azelaic acid is an acne fighter that’s much gentler than many other active ingredients we use for acne prone skin (like salicylic acid/retinoids) and is safe to use with a variety of additional products and active ingredients. It’s even considered generally safe to use during pregnancy.

It is common to find azelaic acid in 10% concentrations in over-the-counter products and 15-20% concentrations in prescribed products. It often comes as gels or creams. 15% and 20% prescribed strengths have more research to back up their efficacy in treating acne but OTC products that have a 10% strength or lower can still be effective.

It is really important to remember that most acne treatments take time to work and if you’re trying azelaic acid for the first time, I would advise that you continue the treatment for at least twelve weeks before deciding whether or not it has worked for you.

If you’re new to azelaic acid – I would recommend applying a small amount on the inside of your arm for a patch test and observing for 24 hours. 

 

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Columnist

Dr Sonia is an Aesthetic Doctor and Laser Specialist who is also a GP with a special interest in dermatology, offering laser and dermatology consultations at UK-based clinics, MediZen and Kat & Co. She discusses the holistic needs of patients linked to their appearance on her Instagram @dermgp and is Live That Glow's resident skincare agony aunt, answering readers' questions on all things skin related.

Education: University of Liverpool Medical School and Queen Mary University, London
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