Azelaic acid

  • Apply twice each day - in the morning and evening.
  • Do not use this preparation near your eyes or mouth, or on any sore areas of skin.
  • If your skin problem has not improved within four weeks, speak with your doctor.

About azelaic acid

Type of medicine Topical preparation for acne or rosacea
Used for Acne
Also called Finacea®, Skinoren®
Available as Cream or gel

Acne is a common cause of spots and is usually treatable. About 9 in 10 teenagers develop some degree of acne. It is often mild and can be treated with preparations applied directly to the skin, such as azelaic acid. Azelaic acid has two actions - it kills bacteria and it helps to unplug blocked pores.

Azelaic acid is also used for rosacea. It is thought to work by reducing inflammation.

Before using azelaic acid

To make sure this is the right treatment for you, before you start using azelaic acid it is important that your doctor or pharmacist knows:

  • If you are taking or using any other medicines. This includes any medicines you are taking which are available to buy without a prescription, such as herbal and complementary medicines.
  • If you have ever had an allergic reaction to a medicine.

How to use azelaic acid

  • Before you use azelaic acid, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from inside your pack. The leaflet will give you more information about the brand of azelaic acid you have been given, and a full list of possible side-effects from using it
  • It is usually recommended that you use azelaic acid twice each day (morning and evening). Before you apply it, wash the area with soap and water and gently dry it with a towel. Then apply the preparation and rub it in gently. After you have finished applying it, wash your hands again.
  • As you apply it, try to keep it away from any sensitive areas of your skin such as around your eyes and mouth, and the inside of your nose. Do not apply it to any areas of skin which are irritated or sore.
  • If you forget to use it at the usual time, just apply it as soon as you remember and then continue as before.

Getting the most from your treatment

  • If you do not notice any improvement after using this preparation for a month, speak to your doctor who may recommend an alternative preparation.
  • Rarely, azelaic acid can cause some people to become more sensitive to sunlight than they are normally. Take care in strong sunlight until you know how your skin reacts.

Can azelaic acid cause problems?

Along with their useful effects, most medicines can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. These usually improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine, but speak with your doctor or pharmacist if any of the following side-effects continue or become troublesome.

Common azelaic acid side-effects What can I do if I experience this?
Dry skin and irritation If this becomes troublesome, reduce the number of times you use the preparation, or stop using it altogether for a few days. When your skin has recovered, start using it again, but less frequently

How to store azelaic acid

  • Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
  • Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.