Alpha Arbutin vs. Azelaic Acid: Which One Is Better!

Alpha Arbutin vs. Azelaic Acid: Which One Is Better! 2022

If you’ve been looking at products to reduce your dark spots, age spots, freckles, and sun damage, then you may be familiar with two popular options – Alpha-Arbutin and Azelaic Acid. Both effectively reduce those unsightly discolorations, but which one should you choose? Let’s take a closer look at what both ingredients can do for your skin so that you’ll know how they compare when deciding between them.

What is alpha arbutin suitable for?

It has an anti-inflammatory effect on the collagen levels within our skin. This helps increase elasticity and reduces wrinkles by boosting collagen production. It also prevents the breakdown of collagen due to UV exposure.

In addition, it repairs damaged cells and protects against the free radical formation. Free radicals cause oxidative stress, leading to cancerous tumors, premature aging, and other health problems. By repairing these cells, we protect ourselves from future cell mutations.

It works best if used daily instead of just once every few weeks like most over-the-counter lotions. This occurs because it takes time before any noticeable results regularly arise from using the product. However, after several months of consistent usage, you will notice positive changes in your skin tone.

What is azelaic acid good for?

Azelaic acid acts as an exfoliant to remove dead skin cells while stimulating the new growth of healthy ones. It does not contain salicylic acid (found in many facial scrubs) or lactic acid (found in some gels). Instead, it contains alanine, an amino acid found naturally in broccoli, spinach, potatoes, avocados, lemons, peaches, papaya, eggplant, strawberries, tomatoes, carrots, onions, cabbage, cucumbers, and garlic.

This ingredient improves the texture and firmness of the skin without drying out the surface layer too much. Studies show that people who use it experience more minor irritation than others who don’t.

Azelaic acid seems to work more quickly than alpha-arbutin. It usually provides results after three days, whereas alpha-arbutin requires four weeks.

Since it only penetrates about 2mm into the skin, its effectiveness diminishes over time since there isn’t enough concentration to continue working below the top layers. Users must keep applying the cream consistently each day to get optimal benefits.

Side Effects of alpha arbutin

The biggest downside to using alpha-arbutin is that it causes mild redness, stinging, burning sensations, dry, sensitive skin, flaking, itching, swelling around the eyes, lips, nose, mouth, throat, chest, nipples, genital area, back, buttocks, shoulders, neck, feet, ankles, hands, waistline, arms, knees, thighs, hips, and/or stomach areas. Those experiencing severe side effects need to see their doctor immediately.

Side effects of azelaic acid

Although azelaic acid doesn’t seem to irritate the skin quite as much as alpha-arbutin, it still produces similar symptoms, including redness, stinging, burning sensations, dry, sensitive skin, flaking, itching, swelling around the eyes, lips, nose, mouth, throat, chest, nipples, genitals, back, buttocks, shoulders, neck, feet, ankles, hands, waistline, arms, knees, thighs, hips, and/or stomach areas. If you’re allergic to sulfa drugs, contact your physician first before trying to apply azelaic acid yourself. People who suffer severe reactions might want to stop taking the drug altogether.

Combination of alpha arbutin and azelaic acid

When taken together, alpha-arbutin and azelaic acid provide even greater protection from sunburns and skin cancers. They act synergistically to block UVA rays and prevent DNA damage. They help minimize skin inflammation caused by acne breakouts, eczema flareups, psoriasis outbreaks, and rosacea when applied topically. As mentioned earlier, neither ingredient appears to have negative interactions or side effects when combined. For example, they won’t hurt your sunscreen application or make your face burn worse during intense sunlight exposure.

Alpha Arbutin vs. Azelaic acid: Which One To Get?

Both alpha-arbutin and azelaic acid are popular choices for treating skin conditions related to pigmentary disorders. Although they both lighten the complexion, they differ slightly in potency and efficacy. With all things considered, choosing between the two involves weighing which option suits your lifestyle best. While both agents effectively improve the overall appearance of your skin, some individuals may prefer one over the other based on personal preference. Below is a list comparing the pros and cons associated with each type to hopefully help you decide whether alpha-arbutin or azelaic acid would benefit you more.

Alpha Arbutin Conclusion

Pros of alpha-arbutin

  • effective treatment for hyperpigmentation
  • no known serious adverse reaction
  • greater penetration depth
  • reduces fine lines and wrinkles
  • improves skin hydration
  • consistent use required
  • less likely to aggravate existing skin issues

Cons of alpha-arbutin

  • more common side effects include redness, stinging, burning, dry, sensitive skin, flaking, itching, swelling around the eyes, lips, nose, mouth, throat, chest, nipples, genitals, back, buttocks, shoulders, neck, feet, ankles, hands, waistline, arms, knees, thighs, hip, and/or stomach areas
  • limited ability to penetrate deeper layers of the skin
  • slower onset of action compared to azelaic acid
  • longer recovery period needed before returning to normal activities
  • prohibitive cost
  • poor shelf life

Azelaic acid Conclusion

Pros of azelaic acid

  • fastest acting agent available
  • minimizes sensitivity
  • better tolerated on sensitive skin types
  • little chance of irritation
  • fewer side effects
  • quick improvement in appearance
  • the best choice for daytime use

Cons of azelaic acid

  • potential for photosensitivity
  • not recommended for pregnant women
  • unable to treat certain forms of melanoma
  • a severe form of dermatitis treated with oral corticosteroids
  • slow healing process
  • requires long term use
  • low bioavailability
  • Slow onset of action (usually takes 3-4 weeks)
  • Poor shelf stability

Conclusion

While both azelaic acid and alpha-arbutin are beneficial for improving skin coloration, alpha-arbutin is superior in terms of providing faster relief of dark spot concerns. Azelaic acid tends to produce fewer unwanted side effects on the flip side. Since both perform similarly well, either could be suitable for you, depending on your individual needs. Remember that nothing lasts forever…so expect minor adjustments along the way! Happy tanning, everyone!

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