Pregnancy Safe Azelaic Acid

If you’re a big Naturium or Susan Yara fan, you know we love azelaic acid. It’s a multi-benefit ingredient that helps reduce the appearance of redness, uneven skin tone and clears congestion-- it’s also a safe and effective ingredient for pregnancy (of course, we always recommend consulting with your doctor). Read on to learn about some of our favorite azelaic combos!

*Disclaimer: Everyone’s pregnancy is different. We always advise you consult your doctor


Azelaic acid has many unique biological mechanisms to address hyperpigmentation, acne, and skin sensitivity, making it a stellar ingredient to pair with other superstar ingredients for enhanced or synergistic results. For a deep dive into the science of azelaic acid check out our previous article “Meet our Latest Product: Azelaic Acid Emulsion 10%” and "The Complete Guide to Acids." This unique molecule is also pregnancy safe and when paired with other actives offers alternatives to ingredients doctors recommend avoiding during pregnancy.1,2

Azelaic Acid + Niacinamide:

Azelaic acid and niacinamide together are a great alternative to salicylic acid, during pregnancy, to combat breakouts. Layering azelaic acid and niacinamide can improve skin congestion, inflammatory congestion, and fade post-acne marks for even the most sensitive skin. Azelaic acid reduces congestion by inhibiting and killing bacteria and keeping pores clean and clear. Niacinamide normalizes sebum composition and production, targeting a different part of the acne pathogenesis than azelaic acid. Some studies show azelaic acid does not have an impact on sebum secretion composition or rate or size of sebaceous glands, so it won’t cause skin dryness.

The combination of azelaic acid and niacinamide addresses inflammation and redness by reducing proinflammatory cytokines, proinflammatory peptides, and reactive oxygen species. Azelaic acid targets overactive pigment producing cells to reduce dark spots and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. Niacinamide reduces melanosome transfer, addressing a different mechanism in melanogenesis than azelaic acid to further brighten the skin. Pairing these two actives together can minimize and prevent skin congestion, reduce redness, reduce sebum production, and fade post-acne marks.

Azelaic Acid + Glycolic Acid:

A combination of azelaic acid and glycolic acid is a unique pregnancy-safe alternative to retinol and retinoids to address skin aging as well as adult acne. Glycolic acid reduces breakouts by increasing desquamation or shedding of dead skin while azelaic acid has comedolytic, anti-keratinizing, and antimicrobial benefits, in addition to reducing proinflammatory agents. Azelaic acid addresses uneven skin tone and age spots without reducing sebum production while glycolic acid brightens skin by not only increasing desquamation, but also by acting as a tyrosinase inhibitor. Glycolic acid remodels the skin and improves signs of aging, especially photodamage, by increasing production of collagen and hyaluronic acid in the epidermis and dermis while increasing epidermal thickness.3 Skin is more firm and elastic as the skin plumps from within. Layering these two acids can reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, improve texture and tone, reduce age spots, and clear skin congestion.

Azelaic Acid + Vitamin C:

Layering azelaic acid and vitamin C can even skin tone and mitigate the signs of aging, offering a pregnancy safe alternative to retinol and retinoids. Both azelaic acid and vitamin C are potent antioxidants that fight oxidative damage from environmental stressors that lead to sagging, wrinkling, redness, inflammation, and pigmentation of skin. Azelaic acid reduces the production of reactive oxygen species that cause oxidative damage while vitamin C scavenges and neutralizes the free radicals. Ascorbic acid is a skin brightener that reduces sallowness and fades dark spots. One study proposed ascorbic acid reduces melanin formation by reducing dopaquinone, a precursor to melanin, while other studies propose ascorbic acid suppresses tyrosinase either by binding to the copper ions attached to tyrosinase or by acidifying the cytoplasmic environment.4,5 This is different from the tyrosinase inhibitory activity of azelaic acid making the combination a perfect pair for increased skin brightening and age spot reduction. Vitamin C is a crucial cofactor for enzymes responsible for creating stable collagen molecules as well as crosslinking the collagen to improve strength. It also signals collagen genes to begin collagen production necessary for wound healing.6 By neutralizing reactive oxygen species, vitamin C also minimizes collagen degradation. By aiding in the production of collagen as well as protecting it, vitamin C increases skin elasticity and strength and reduces fine lines and wrinkles. Pairing azelaic acid and vitamin C helps fade age spots, improves skin complexion, reduces premature aging, and plumps the skin.

Add our Azelaic Acid Emulsion 10% or Azelaic Topical Acid 10% to your skincare routine to enhance your skin’s complexion or strategically pair with other pregnancy safe actives to replace those products you need to put on the shelf for the next 9 months (or longer if you are breastfeeding).

Originally published May, 20, 2020. Updated July 7, 2021 with additional information.


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.


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