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Even those who have merely a passing interest in skincare most likely know about acids. Once reserved exclusively for high school science experiments, we now broadly understand how a salicylic can help unclog pores and a glycolic can banish dullness. And yet, one acid you may not have heard of is one of the very best. Here’s the lowdown on Azelaic acid.

It’s produced by yeast and exists naturally on the surface of the skin, but can be in too low a concentration to deliver benefits. But by adding it into a skincare regime, you can expect brightening, smoothing and blemish busting results. So far, so acidy, right? And yet Azelaic acid is supremely soothing and redness reducing, too – so much so that it is prescribed as a treatment for rosacea.

So, how to get this unsung hero into your routine? Well, as with most all acid options, The Ordinary comes through, with an Azelaic Acid Suspension 10% at just £5.50. The formulation is not my favourite, as it dries quickly and quite matte making layering more tricky, but it’s a great introductory option, particularly for the cost.

On the more medicinal, you have Melazepam, Skinoren and Finacea – all prescription treatments for acne or roseacea. They can be tracked down in various corners of the internet, and will deliver fast and furious results. Again, though, the forumlations on these aren’t totally lovely. They’re medicinal, rather than cosmetic, so you have to forgive some grittiness, greasiness or difficulty of absorption.

A recent discovery of mine is Dermatica, an online prescription service for skincare concerns. You simply answer a questionnaire, upload a photo and they’ll hook you up with the best treatment for you. One such option is their Azelaic Acid, which is a lovely lightweight gel-cream which absorbs easily. The only downside is their subscription only service, which means I can’t buy a massive tube and have it forever, and have to wait month to month for my next bath to arrive in the post.

If this all sounds too complicated for you, though, the Medik8 Blemish S.O.S. is available for regular purchase. Unlike other options, this doesn’t require application over a larger area, and instead simply recommends one drop per blemish, applied directly on top. It’s one of the most effective spot treatments I’ve tried, shrinking blemishes up overnight. Truly an S.O.S. product.

Featured image via Deciem

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