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What Is Azelaic Acid Cream?

Mary McMahon
By
Updated May 17, 2024
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Azelaic acid cream is a topical medication available for the treatment of skin and hair conditions. One common use of this drug is in the management of acne, but it can also be used for hair loss, rosacea, and pigmentation problems of the skin. Availability of the drug can vary by region. In some cases, it requires a prescription, while in others, patients may be able to buy it directly.

This medication kills bacteria on the surface of the skin to cut down on inflammation and irritation caused by bacterial colonies. It also keeps the pores clear, which can be important in the management of acne. It appears to reduce inflammation, although the mechanisms through which the medication does this in conditions like rosacea is not clear. On the scalp, it can facilitate regrowth after hair loss, depending on the cause of the thinning.

Patients may notice some tingling and stinging when they apply azelaic acid cream. In some cases, their reactions are intense, and they may need to stop using the medication. Signs of an allergy, like swelling, redness, and extreme pain, should be reported to the doctor. Certain preexisting conditions like herpes infections, asthma, and pregnancy can also interact poorly with azelaic acid cream. A doctor may recommend abstaining from the medication in these cases to limit the risk of complications, or may need to monitor the patient closely.

It is also not safe to use azelaic acid cream with isotretinoin, another acne medication. The two drugs together can potentially cause a harmful reaction and may make the acne worse, or cause further skin irritation. Patients using topical preparations may want to consult their doctors about potential interactions with herbal drugs, moisturizers, and makeup. It may be necessary to keep the skin clear while using azelaic acid to prevent clogged pores and other issues that might make the patient’s skin worse.

For safety, patients should store this medication out of the reach of children and animals, because it can be toxic when ingested. In cases of suspected consumption, patients can contact their doctors and a poison control center to determine if any special treatment is necessary. It is advisable to choose a cool, dry place to store the drug, and to discard it if it separates, becomes discolored, or smells off to the patient. These can be signs that the azelaic acid cream is contaminated and may not be safe to use.

WiseGEEK is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a WiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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Mary McMahon

Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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