Azelex is a prescription-only cream for the topical treatment of acne. The main ingredient, azelaic acid (20%), is thought to accelerate exfoliation as well as helping to kill the P. acnes bacteria that cause acne infections. It is normally applied twice per day.
The active ingredient in Azelex is azelaic acid, a naturally-occurring acid found in many animal products and grains. It seems to have an action similar to alpha-hydroxy acids. Azelaic acid helps to speed the body's natural exfoliation processes, which helps to keep dead skin cells from clogging the pores. It is worth notice that alpha-hydroxy acids are only rarely used in such a high concentration (20%) and then only under close supervision of a dermatologist.
Azelaic acid also helps to kill acne-causing bacteria. Possibly it does this by making the skin a less-than-hospitable place for bacteria to live.
Azelex should only be applied to clean, dry skin. A thin film should be applied to affected areas. It is important to gently, but thoroughly, rub this cream into the skin.
Azelex should be used twice per day.
Slight itching or burning may occur, as well as dryness of the skin. These are common side-effects. Less common, in patients with dark complexions, is a visible lightening of the skin. Azelex hasn't been well-studied in persons with dark skin.
While Azelex may be a worthy addition to the arsenal of anti-acne products, it is pricey ($65 for a 30-gram tube), however.