Azelaic acid: Properties and mode of action

Skin Pharmacol Physiol. 2014:27 Suppl 1:9-17. doi: 10.1159/000354888. Epub 2013 Nov 13.


Acne is a common skin disorder that can be problematic for adults as well as for adolescents. It has several key pathophysiological features such as follicular hyperkeratosis, elevated Propionibacterium acnes proliferation, and reactive inflammation, all of which should be targeted for an optimal outcome. Azelaic acid (AzA) has profound anti-inflammatory, antioxidative effects, and is bactericidal against a range of Gram-negative and Gram-positive microorganisms as well, including antibiotic-resistant bacterial strains. In addition, AzA's antikeratinizing effects are inhibitory toward comedones. AzA is effective overall in targeting multiple causes of acne and has been proven to be well tolerated in numerous clinical trials.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acne Vulgaris / drug therapy
  • Acne Vulgaris / metabolism
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology*
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / pharmacology*
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / therapeutic use
  • Dermatologic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Dermatologic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Dicarboxylic Acids / pharmacology*
  • Dicarboxylic Acids / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Melanins / metabolism
  • Skin / metabolism


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Dermatologic Agents
  • Dicarboxylic Acids
  • Melanins
  • azelaic acid