Acne Home > Azelex

Available in the form of a cream, Azelex is a medicine that is applied to the skin to treat acne. It is thought to work by reducing inflammation and slowing down the rapid growth of skin cells. In most cases, this prescription skin cream is applied to the affected areas twice daily. Possible side effects include stinging, itching, and burning.

What Is Azelex?

Azelex® (azelaic acid cream) is a prescription acne medication. It comes as a cream that is applied to the skin twice daily.
(Click Azelex Uses for more information on this topic, including possible off-label uses.)

Who Makes This Medication?

Azelex is made by Allergan, Inc.

How Does Azelex Work?

At this time, it is not exactly clear how Azelex works for treating acne. Azelaic acid, the active ingredient in it, 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).
Interestingly, azelaic acid is found naturally in wheat, barley, and rye.

When and How to Use It

Some general considerations to keep in mind during treatment with Azelex include the following:
  • Apply this medication to the face twice daily, after washing with a mild cleanser. Apply it before applying any cosmetics.
  • Unlike many other acne medications, Azelex will not bleach fabrics. This can be an important advantage, especially for people who need to treat areas other than the face.
  • Keep this medication out of the mouth, nose, and eyes.
  • Wash your hands after applying the cream.
  • For Azelex to work properly, it must be used as prescribed.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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