I’ve been using The Ordinary’s products from the past 2 years and most of them have worked really well for my skin. But their 10% Azelaic Acid Suspension is one of the best yet underrated products.
It’s been really helpful in calming down my irritated skin, reducing congestion and redness – all this while making sure there’s no tingling or burning that we usually experience with other acids. So, it was mandatory for me to review it and let the world know how wonderful this is!
What is Azelaic Acid?
Azelaic acid is a dicarboxylic acid that’s made from products like barley and wheat but most brands use lab-engineered form due to stability and effectiveness. Did you know it is produced naturally by the yeast that lives on healthy skin?
It is a gentle exfoliant which helps to unclog pores and refine the skin’s texture. Azelaic acid is an excellent ingredient to calm down inflammation especially for people with rosacea.
Personally, it has worked amazing in helping me with skin congestion and redness.
Unlike direct acids and retinol, it’s pretty gentle on the skin and is considered to be pregnancy safe. It also fights acne, helps in lightening post-acne spots and gives even skin tone.
It’s the most effective when the concentration is between 15 and 20% (prescription based), but there’s research to suggest that even at a lower concentration of 10%, it shows results.
If these are some of your skincare concerns then keep on reading to know how The Ordinary Azelaic Acid helped me to fight these skin issues and the one thing I don’t like about it.
Ingredients & Product Description
It is nut-free, vegan, gluten-free, cruelty-free, alcohol-free, oil-free and has a pH between 4.00-5.00.
Price: USD 10 for 30ml
My Thoughts on The Ordinary Azelaic Acid Suspension
Their Glycolic Acid Toner was my first product from The Ordinary and as soon as I started to see results from it, I bought a bunch of other products.
The Azelaic Acid Suspension was one of them. This underrated ingredient deserves a lot of love and attention, so does this suspension from the brand.
The Ordinary Azelaic Acid Suspension comes in a small grey coloured tube with the flip open cap whose opening is sealed. The packaging is easy to travel with and functional. This tube comes enclosed in a white cardboard box that has all the product details.
Texture & Smell
The gel-to-cream texture for me was the least favourite thing about this product. This azelaic acid has a silicone base and that’s the reason this product doesn’t have a gritty feel. However, it’s too silicone-y and I feel like I’m applying a pore-filling primer on my face.
If you have dry skin, you need to top it off with a rich moisturiser to avoid dryness. I wish it felt a bit more hydrating as I’m not fond of the matte silicone feel I get. But then it’s just $10 right?
I usually use it over the area that needs some attention and haven’t noticed “excessive” pilling. But it doesn’t work well under makeup so the best time to use this is at night.
The Ordinary doesn’t use fragrance in their products and the smell of the azelaic acid suspension is raw but not at all strong. It’s the closest a fragrance-free & essential-oil free product can come to smelling fine.
How to Use?
After cleansing and toner (if you use any) apply a thin layer of azelaic acid all over the areas that need extra help or the entire face if you wish.
Chances are that your skin might feel dry so you can apply moisturiser over it or apply a hydrating serum before the azelaic acid.
The point is to not have a lot of layers between the cleanser and azelaic acid stage so the product reaches your skin and works in the most effective manner.
I have oily skin and this is how I incorporate the azelaic acid in my routine. During summers, I cleanse my face, spray a hydrating face mist/ toner and then apply azelaic acid when the toner is completely absorbed.
During winters, even oily skin needs extra hydration so it’s usually cleansing followed by a calming and moisturising serum and then azelaic acid. If the skin is too dry, I follow up with a moisturiser.
It can be used in the same routine as other acids (tried and tested with both AHA & BHA but check what works for you) and can be used every day, either morning or night.
If you have an extended routine then just remember that it goes after toner, serum, etc and before moisturiser and oil.
This product is like a skincare SOS for me so I mostly use it when my skin starts acting up and gets a lot of whiteheads, painful red bumps and overall redness on certain areas. The sad part is that it’s happening a lot these days (LOL) and this product has helped me immensely!
Does it Work?
YES! I’ll give you my recent experience. My skin basically went down the drain a few weeks ago and I got multiple acne on both my cheeks.
Initially, I used pimple patches (and they worked) but every day I’d get 3 new so the situation was getting out of hand and I’m not rich enough to be using multiple pimple patches daily.
And then there were large areas that were red and painful. Basically, my cheeks would hurt bad on just touching and it was filled with multiple forms of acne.
And this is the nighttime routine I followed to soothe my irritated skin:
In the morning, I’d just use the same cleanser and serum followed by Purito Unscented Centella SPF if I had to go out. (which I didn’t mostly)
And my skin REALLY calmed down within 3-4 days, the whiteheads disappeared, the redness was gone so was the pain and I had 2 active acne that I treated by applying The Ordinary Salicylic Acid as a spot treatment.
Once the skin cleared up with some post-acne spots left behind, I added one of my old products back in my routine.
One use and BAM the same problems came back in a day!! I ran back to the above-mentioned routine and things got better in the next 3-4 days. The propolis ampoule also has been really helpful in making sure my skin stays calm, hydrated and doesn’t itch.
I’m happy that the second encounter showed me the reason (product) that made my skin mad. And that it gave me a chance to click a ‘before and after picture’ to show you guys how the azelaic acid helped to reduce redness overnight!
I only have pictures to show the improvement in redness but trust me I had a lot of bumps and whiteheads too (the first time) that disappeared with sticking to the above-mentioned routine.
Sorry for the strong flash, I had zero will to switch on the lights or remove the blinds.
I’m telling you this entire story so you know how much it has helped my skin. This is the reason why I wanted to write a review on the azelaic acid suspension. If you’ve been facing similar issues, give this product a try. It WORKS!
I’ve been using this more as a treatment when my skin needs it and not once has it caused any sort of burning or stinging which isn’t the case with alpha or beta hydroxy acids.
After my skin became normal, I continued using it to see how it works on lightening the acne spots. And it has been nothing but a delight. I haven’t completely gotten rid of those stubborn marks but they have lightened! Will update the experience here if they completely go away!
I’ve heard some people say that silicone doesn’t work well with their skin so The Ordinary Azelaic Acid might not be the best if you’re one of them.
Is it a dupe for Paula’s Choice 10% Azelaic Acid Booster?
Ah, the famous question! The answer is no, at least not an exact one. While both the products have 10% azelaic acid as their hero ingredient, Paula’s Choice has a lot more to offer (hence more money to take from us).
Paula’s Choice costs $36 while The Ordinary costs $10 for the same quantity. But these are the reasons that make Paula’s Choice 10% Azelaic Acid Booster superior:
- It has 0.5% salicylic acid combined with azelaic acid that will really help unclog the pores and reduce blackheads & acne effectively.
- It also has licorice extract that would help the product in lightening the dark spots at a faster rate.
- But the best part is their formula! It’s not silicone-y in any way, instead, it feels moisturising.
If you’ve been dealing with redness, have rosacea, congested pores and acne – mainly whiteheads, or milia then The Ordinary 10% Azelaic Acid is something you ought to have in your skincare routine.
The product is inexpensive and effective with a balanced pH — isn’t that what we mainly want from skincare?
Why You Should Buy The Ordinary Azelaic Acid?
- Reduces redness
- Reduces whiteheads
- Decongests the skin
- Calms down the skin
- Slowly evens out skin
- Lightens acne spots
- pH 4-5
- Exfoliates mildly
- Travel-friendly packaging
Why You Should Avoid The Ordinary Azelaic Acid?
- Very silicone-y texture