salicylic acid

The Science Behind It...
Overall clinical data on a specific ingredient(s) & how they function.

Can You Use Azelaic Acid and Retinol Together?

Yes, you can combine azelaic acid and retinol as components of a regular skincare routine. These complementary ingredients can help address similar skin concerns, and may even provide increased support when used together, rather than alone.

What Does Azelaic Acid Do for the Skin?

Azelaic acid is a naturally-derived dicarboxylic acid, part of a category of acids that is distinctly different from alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) and beta hydroxy acids (BHAs).

Considered a relatively gentle acid, it can help reduce the appearance of hyperpigmentation, including discoloration stemming from acne scarring and dark spots. Azelaic acid also supports overall improvements in the look and feel of skin’s texture, while minimizing the signs and effects of congestion and inflammation.

Benefits of Azelaic Acid

  • Helps decrease visible discoloration associated with dark spots and acne scarring

  • Supports the process of clearing congestion

  • Contributes to a complexion that appears smoother and more even

  • Helps reduce the visible effects of inflammation

Who Should Use Azelaic Acid?

Azelaic acid can be a good fit for a broad spectrum of skin types, including acne-prone and mildly sensitive skin. Its larger molecular size makes it one of the gentler skincare acids available. Additionally, because azelaic acid does not significantly affect oil production, it may serve the needs of individuals with dry skin.

In some cases, those with extremely sensitive or reactive skin may find azelaic acid to be mildly irritating.

What Does Retinol Do for the Skin?

Retinol is perhaps best known as an ingredient that supports skin’s ability to appear more hydrated, radiant, and even in tone and texture. Sourced from Vitamin A, retinol boosts the production of collagen (an essential component in cell turnover) to elevate the overall look of skin.

Benefits of Retinol

  • Helps improve the appearance of skin’s tone and texture

  • Supports natural collagen production

  • Can help skin appear brighter and more youthful

Who Should Use Retinol?

Retinol is typically suitable for most skin types, and is particularly well-matched to individuals seeking a complexion that looks smoother and more even in tone. Depending on the sensitivity level of skin, some individuals may opt to pair retinol with hydrating and/or skin soothing ingredients.

Layering Azelaic Acid and Retinol

As a rule of thumb, the order of application should be based on the consistency of the products. Begin with thinner products (such as serums), and progress to those with thicker consistencies (such as moisturizers). If you are using both azelaic acid and retinol in the form of serums, it is not necessary to apply them in a specific order.

Keep in mind that if you are new to these two ingredients, introducing just one at a time is the most effective way to determine your skin’s tolerance of each.

How Often Can Azelaic Acid and Retinol Be Used Together?

Azelaic acid can be used up to twice a day, though retinol is ideally applied only once daily (preferably as part of your evening routine). Because both are categorized as active ingredients, some individuals may find they prefer using azelaic acid in the morning and retinol at night. Part of this decision depends on the dosage of azelaic acid and retinol as both are offered in a variety of dosages. Azelaic acid is available up to 10% without a prescription and retinol is available up to 1% without a prescription. Regardless of how you choose to incorporate these ingredients into your daily routine, an effective sunscreen is essential.

DISCLAIMER: Lab Journals are intended to help educate on specific ingredients and skin care topics. Our articles are written to be informative and informational.
Please note any Naturium products with referenced ingredients are formulated for Cosmetic Use Only and NOT intended as replacements for physician pharmaceutical product recommendations.

Azelaic Topical Acid 10%


30 ML / 1.0 FL OZ Our azelaic acid serum contains a high concentration of a glycinated azelaic acid complex, along with niacinamide, vitamin C and ...

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Retinol Complex Serum


30 ML / 1.0 FL OZ Our advanced retinol serum is formulated with a photostable, synergistic blend of encapsulated retinol, a natural bio-retinol and...

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