What is azelaic acid gel, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?

  • Azelaic acid is a topical (applied to the skin) medication used for treating acne. Its exact mechanism of action is unknown. Azelaic acid may work as an antibacterial agent that blocks protein synthesis and therefore growth of Propionibacterium acnes and other bacteria on the surface of the skin that are associated with the development of acne. It may also inhibit follicular keratinization, which prevents development of acne lesions. The FDA approved azelaic acid in September 1995.
  • References: FDA prescribing information

What brand names are available for azelaic acid gel?

Finacea, Azelex

Is azelaic acid gel available as a generic drug?


Do I need a prescription for azelaic acid gel?


What are the uses for azelaic acid gel?

Azelaic acid is used for the treatment of acne vulgaris and treatment of inflammatory papule and pustules caused by mild to moderate rosacea.

What are the side effects of azelaic acid gel?

  • Common side effects include:
  • Burning
  • Stinging
  • Tingling

Other side effects include:

Other less common side effects include:

What is the dosage for azelaic acid gel?

A thin layer of azelaic acid should be applied and massaged into the affected areas of the face every 12 hours.

Which drugs or supplements interact with azelaic acid gel?

There are no drug interactions listed for this azelaic acid.

Is azelaic acid gel safe to take if I’m pregnant or breastfeeding?

  • The safety azelaic acid has not been evaluated. It is not known whether azelaic acid is excreted in human milk. However, laboratory experiments suggest that the small amount of azelaic acid that is absorbed into the body may be excreted in human milk at very low concentrations that may not be significant.

What else should I know about azelaic acid gel?

What preparations of azelaic acid gel are available?

Gel, Foam, Kit: 15%. Cream: 20%

How should I keep azelaic acid gel stored?

Store azelaic acid between 15 C and 30 C (59 F and 86 F).


Rosacea, Acne, Shingles: Common Adult Skin Diseases See Slideshow

Medically Reviewed on 7/9/2019



FDA Prescribing Information