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Acide azélaïque hyperpigmentation.

Azelaic Acid Benefits for Hyperpigmentation.

Hyperpigmentation can occur in all phototypes. It is due to a localized overproduction of melanin. It leads to a disharmony of the complexion, which can be at the origin of physical complexes and a malaise in the subject concerned. Azelaic acid is an effective active ingredient for treating these skin problems.

What Is Hyperpigmentation?

Hyperpigmentation is defined as a disturbance in the pigmentation process: melanin, the pigment responsible for the natural coloring of the skin, is overproduced in certain areas, resulting in the appearance of brown, red or pink spots that can be visible. These spots vary in size and impact the uniformity of the complexion. They can cause some discomfort in the daily life of the subjects concerned. Hyperpigmentation affects all skin tones, but is frequent and pronounced in people with darker skin. Hyperpigmentation-related spots can be classified into three categories:

  • Melasma or pregnancy mask, directly related to hormonal fluctuations;

  • Lentigo, small round or oval spots generally caused by UV radiation;

  • Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, which results from an overproduction of melanin after an inflammation.

The use of certain perfumes and medications can also cause hyperpigmentation.

Note: It also happens that the quantity of melanin produced by the body is not sufficient. In this case, it is a case of hypopigmentation, which results in the appearance of white spots.

Azelaic Acid to Fight Effectively Against Hyperpigmentation.

Azelaic acid is a saturated dicarboxylic acid with 9 carbon atoms. It is derived from cereals (wheat, rye and barley). It has excellent anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties, allowing it to fight against acne and rosacea problems. In pharmacies, it was first integrated in anti-acne products in the form of a cream in the early 1980s; it effectively inhibits the proliferation of pro-inflammatory bacteria, P.acnes and S.epidermidis.

Several studies were then conducted on the action and the benefits of azelaic acid on pigmentation spots. It has been shown that a daily topical application of a cream containing 20% azelaic acid is more effective than a cream formulated with 2% hydroquinone on patients with melasma. In addition, azelaic acid has no adverse effects, unlike hydroquinone, which has a bad odor, can irritate the skin, and can cause immune suppression.

What does azelaic acid do to your skin? The mode of action of azelaic acid for hyperpigmentation has been identified. Azelaic acid reduces the ability of melanocytes to produce melanin by inhibiting the enzyme tyrosinase and by regulating the activity of the enzyme thioredoxin reductase. In addition, it targets only pigment-laden or atypical melanocytes. Therefore, it does not interact with healthy cells. In addition, thanks to its antioxidant properties, azelaic acid protects the skin from free radicals responsible for the appearance of signs of aging, including dark spots.

Thus, in medicine, an azelaic acid products 

are a relevant first-line solution 

when one wants to fight effectively 

against hyperpigmentation.

Side Effects of Azelaic Acid.

Azelaic acid, with all its benefits for hyperpigmentation, is generally well tolerated by all skin types. The main disadvantage of this substance is that it can slightly dry out the skin and cause irritation. However, these azelaic acid side effects are usually mild or transient and do not usually require discontinuation of treatment.


  • LOWE N. J. & al. Azelaic acid 20% cream in the treatment of facial hyperpigmentation in darker-skinned patients. Clinical Therapeutics (1998).

  • BANDYPPADHYAY D. Topical treatment of melasma. Indian Journal of Dermatology (2009).


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