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Azelaic Acid

Veterinarian Reviewed on June 19, 2012 by Paulina Nelega, RH
Posted in Uncategorized

Azaleic Acid


Azaleic acid is a saturated dicarboxylic acid as well as an organic compound. It appears as a white powder in its natural phase and is derived from natural sources such as wheat, barley and rye.
This substance occurs naturally in nature and many experts consider Azelaic acid as a plant’s defense response after it has been exposed to infection or various plant diseases.

Azelaic acid has many therapeutic properties and is mostly found in hair care products and skincare agents.

History and Origin

Azelaic acid occurs naturally in plants after being exposed to infection; it signals accumulation of salicylic acid in plant cells. Azelaic acid can be produced through the ozonolysis of oleic acid that results to nonanoic acid. After bacterial degradation of nonanoic acid by a particular yeast variety, Azelaic acid is produced.

Ancient Uses

The use of Azelaic acid during ancient times was nonexistent but the natural source of this organic compound, wheat and barley; has been used for centuries in making bread and other food stuffs. These are also used in therapies or treatments for illness of the skin, gastrointestinal system and many other diseases.

Modern Uses

Azelaic acid is used in many personal care products such as in hair care and skin care regimens. As an acne treatment, Azelaic acid is effective in the treatment in mild to moderate cases of acne (comedonal acne and also inflamed acne). It also stops bacterial skin growth by cleaning up skin pores removing blocked dirt and excess oil.

Azelaic acid is also a great treatment for unwanted skin pigmentation like hyper pigmentation and hypo pigmentation. It is also an alternative to irritating chemical peel solutions that contain the chemical hydroquinone. Skin lightening treatments are also made of Azelaic acid.

There are many hair loss treatments containing Azelaic acid that can stimulate hair growth. It can be found in hair growth shampoos, conditioners and hair tonics that can help make hair grow back thicker, fuller and shinier.

Azelaic acid is also an ingredient in shampoos that stop premature hair loss in both men and women. Genetic female hair loss and male pattern baldness can easily be treated with regular use of these hair treatments.

Side Effects

Azelaic acid has been known to be safe to use on a regular basis. It is however not tested for use on very young children. It is therefore recommended not to be used for young kids. Pregnant and breastfeeding women are cautioned against the use of Azelaic acid since it may directly affect the developing child.

It is not recommended to use products with Azelaic acid on an injured scalp or onto skin that has any open wounds or an irritation. It is best to consult a dermatologist for the best option for hair loss instead of trying out products without medical supervision.

In using hair loss products and other hair care preparations with Azelaic acid, it is best to try a small sample on your forearm first as a skin test. If scalp irritation and severe itching persists upon use, discontinue taking it immediately and consult a dermatologist for the ideal product to use.

Read also: Sodium Chloride

Our Expert

Paulina Nelega, RH
Paulina Nelega, RH, has been in private practice as a Clinical Herbalist for over 15 years. She has developed and taught courses in herbal medicine, and her articles on health have appeared in numerous publications. She is very passionate about the healing power of nature. Ask Dr. Jan

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