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The Ordinary Azelaic Acid Suspension 10% Review

This $10 serum cleared my acne—and it feels gentle on my skin

A gray and white tube standing next to a white box. Credit: Reviewed / Fabiola Mejia

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  1. The Ordinary Azelaic Acid Suspension 10%

    Pros

    • Reduces acne and scarring

    • Easy to use

    • Feels gentle on skin

    Cons

    • Texture is too thick

No one likes having acne, but it’s a reality that many deal with. My own frustration began when my “teenage” acne didn’t completely disappear by the time I was 23 and I felt just as self-conscious about my skin as I had in high school. This led to me researching and trying a variety of products that promised any sort of solution to my stubborn acne. And while I fell in love with pimple-killing effects of products containing salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide, I learned a little too late that they were harsh and drying on my skin, leading to discomfort.

At the time, I believed the dryness was a sign of the products working and kept on using acne treatments that only aggravated my skin more, while assuming I would never find a better solution. Thankfully, a few years of trial and error later, I discovered an alternative that works great for me: azelaic acid. Even better, I found a product with this ingredient that cost only $10 and was just the thing I had been searching for: The Ordinary’s Azelaic Acid Suspension 10%.

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What is The Ordinary’s Azelaic Acid Suspension 10%?

One left: A gray and white tube of serum in someone's hand. On the right: The back of someone's hand with a dollop of white cream on it.
Credit: Reviewed / Fabiola Mejia

The Ordinary’s Azelaic Acid Suspension 10% has a paste-like texture.

Azelaic acid is similar to a chemical exfoliant in that it helps to remove dead skin cells and unclog pores, leading to clearer skin. It’s also proven to reduce the swelling and redness associated with acne. In searching for an azelaic acid-containing product that didn’t break the bank and didn’t need a prescription, I stumbled onto skincare brand The Ordinary. A big part of the appeal: The brand offers no-frills skincare at affordable prices—most items range from $5 to $20.

The Ordinary calls its Azelaic Acid Suspension 10% a “multifunctioning brightening formula” and claims that it improves uneven skin texture and reduces the likelihood of new blemishes. It also claims to have antioxidant properties, meaning it helps to prevent skin damage and the signs of aging caused by outside factors such as free radicals.

After reading the benefits of azelaic acid, I felt comfortable trying out The Ordinary’s Azelaic Acid Suspension at its 10% concentration, which is a common strength for over-the-counter products containing this ingredient. You would need a prescription for a stronger concentration of 15%, and it can potentially be more irritating to the skin.

What I liked about The Ordinary’s Azelaic Acid Suspension 10%

It’s easy to integrate into my routine

The best way to refer to this is as a serum because I use it in between cleansing and moisturizing, though it differs from one in that it’s not watery like most serums—it’s more like paste. The Ordinary’s Azelaic Acid Solution 10% comes in a squeeze tube, which allows you to dispense the dime-sized amount needed.

After double cleansing with the Hadalabo Gokujun Cleansing Oil then the CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser, I prepped my skin with my Isntree Hyaluronic Acid Toner. Next, I squeezed the solution onto my index finger and applied it all over my face, paying close attention to areas with active break-outs and other scars.

I was pleasantly surprised that I didn’t experience any burning or stinging sensations on contact, as that’s typically what I experience with other acne products. I then followed up with my Pyunkang Yul Ato Cream, my current moisturizer of choice.

I saw a reduction in my acne and scarring

After a few months of using The Ordinary’s Azelaic Acid Suspension 10%, I was blown away by the results! During the first few days of using this product, I noticed some slight “purging” (i.e., tiny whiteheads) near my chin and around my nose, which is normal for me when using acids and other exfoliants. By the following week, I started to see clearer skin. My face appeared brighter on the days after I used the serum compared to those when I didn’t. I could also count on seeing much less inflammation after using this product even if I had picked at my skin the day before (a bad habit, I know).

Before finding this product, my raised and bright red scars took months to heal, but with this azelaic acid suspension, I see them start to fade in just a couple of weeks.

It’s so gentle

After using many harsh acne treatments, it felt refreshing to find a product that was both gentle and effective on my skin. I also found that adding in a hydrating serum, like the Beplain Bamboo Hyaluronic Acid & Ceramide Serum, before using The Ordinary’s Azelaic Acid Suspension 10% or using a thicker cream a few minutes post-application helped my skin absorb the product better.

What I disliked about The Ordinary’s Azelaic Acid Suspension 10%

The texture feels uncomfortable on my skin

The texture of this solution is a little… quirky. It’s supposed to be a gel-cream but it goes on more like a pasty-thick moisturizer and leaves a powdery finish on my skin once it dries. I also noticed that if I rubbed the product in too much or applied my moisturizer immediately, it began to pill.

The directions on the packaging state it can be used both day and night, but I used it at night only, as I didn’t like how it made my sunscreen and make up feel cakey. Though I like being able to use a generous amount of this solution without sensitizing my skin, it feels heavy and silicone-y, so I’m eager to rinse it off right after waking up.

Should you try The Ordinary’s Azelaic Acid Suspension 10%?

The author's face as her hand reached up and applies a dollop of white cream on her cheek.
Credit: Reviewed / Fabiola Mejia

I used a dime-sized amount of The Ordinary’s Azelaic Acid Suspension 10% review.

Yes, because you may see similar results to mine

This product brightens my complexion and keeps acne at bay without stripping or sensitizing my skin. If you can get past the way it applies and use it only at night, this product is worth it, especially given its lower price and effectiveness—assuming you see similar results to mine.

I recommend The Ordinary Azelaic Acid Suspension 10% to anyone who struggles with acne, redness, scarring, or a dull complexion. But if you are someone who likes fast-absorbing, zero-fuss serums and creams, you may want to skip this one completely and try something else containing the active ingredient. But for me, The Ordinary’s product has proven its multifunctional abilities and its stellar value for the price, so it will remain a permanent addition to my skincare treasury.

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Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.

  1. The Ordinary Azelaic Acid Suspension 10%

    Pros

    • Reduces acne and scarring

    • Easy to use

    • Feels gentle on skin

    Cons

    • Texture is too thick

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