Acne Home > Azelex Uses

If you have acne, your healthcare provider may prescribe Azelex. This medication is specifically used to treat mild-to-moderate inflammatory acne in adults and children as young as 12 years old. A healthcare provider may also recommend "off-label" (unapproved) uses for Azelex, such as treating rosacea and dark spots caused by hormonal changes.

What Is Azelex Used For?

Azelex® (azelaic acid cream) is a prescription medication licensed to treat acne. Specifically, it is approved to treat mild-to-moderate inflammatory acne.
There are two main categories of acne: inflammatory acne and noninflammatory acne. Noninflammatory acne involves just whiteheads and blackheads. Inflammatory acne involves larger, more painful, and redder lumps and bumps. Inflammatory acne is more painful, serious, and obvious than noninflammatory acne.
Azelex is one of many different prescription acne medications currently available. Unlike many other acne medications, Azelex does not bleach fabrics. This can be a major advantage, especially for people who need to treat the back or chest. Also, many people find Azelex to be gentler to the skin than most other acne medications.

How Does Azelex Work?

At this time, it is not exactly clear how Azelex works for treating acne. The active ingredient, azelaic acid, may have some antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, and may also help to normalize hyperkeratinization (a problem with skin cells that leads to pimples and other bumps).

Can Children Use It?

Azelex is approved for use in children as young as 12 years old. Talk with your child's healthcare provider about the benefits and risks of using Azelex in children.

Are There Off-Label Uses for Azelex?

On occasion, your healthcare provider may recommend this product for something other than acne treatment. This is known as an "off-label" use. Sometimes, Azelex is used off-label for the treatment of dark spots caused by pregnancy or other hormonal changes (known medically as melasma). Using Azelex to treat rosacea is also considered an off-label use. There is actually a gel version of azelaic acid (Finacea®) approved for rosacea treatment.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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