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What Is Azelaic Acid Gel Used For?

If you have rosacea and are at least 18 years old, a healthcare provider may prescribe azelaic acid gel. Although it is not known exactly how this medication works, it is thought to have some anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. Treating acne and dark spots on the skin caused by hormonal changes are possible off-label uses of azelaic acid gel.

An Introduction to Uses for Azelaic Acid Gel

Azelaic acid gel (Finacea®) is a prescription medication licensed to treat rosacea. Specifically, it is approved to treat the bumps and pimples caused by rosacea. It may also help somewhat with redness, although it is not approved for this specific problem.
Rosacea is a chronic disease that affects the skin and sometimes the eyes. Characteristics of the condition include redness, pimples, and, in advanced stages, thickened skin. Although rosacea usually affects the face, it can affect parts of the upper body. Despite how common the condition is, many people with rosacea go undiagnosed.
Rosacea treatment may involve several options, including:
  • Good skin care (see Rosacea Skin Care)
  • Medications -- either applied directly to the skin, like azelaic acid gel, or taken by mouth
  • Other treatments, such as laser surgery.
Even for people using rosacea medications, it is important to try to avoid triggers, such as alcohol, hot beverages, or spicy foods.

How Does This Medication Work?

At this time, it is not exactly clear how azelaic acid gel works for treating rosacea. The active ingredient, azelaic acid, is also effective for treating acne. 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).

Azelaic Acid Gel Drug Information

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