This post will review the Paula’s Choice 10% Azelaic Acid Booster.
About a month ago, I finally finished my bottle of Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant which I’ve had for about a year. I figured this was a great time to try the Azelaic Acid Booster since it has been on my wishlist forever. Coincidentally, I also started using Tretinoin and purging from it, so it was an excellent opportunity to use and review the product.
I’ve been using it for about six weeks, and I’m ready to share my thoughts.
Paula’s Choice is an indie skincare brand that has been around for over two decades. They pride themselves in formulating quality skincare products that you usually have to invest in. Compared to the price of a lot of drugstore skincare brands at the moment, Paula’s Choice is a lot more expensive.
In their defence, rather than following the trend of single-ingredient products, they prefer complex formulas, which they have doing since day one. So buying a single pricey Paula’s Choice product is often the equivalent of buying and layering multiple products. So, you would love Paula’s Choice if you’re not a fan of multi-layer skincare routines but want to treat various skincare concerns.
Now that I’ve used this product for a bit let’s discuss it.
First Impressions of the Paula’s Choice 10% Azelaic Acid Booster
According to Paula’s Choice;
The Azelaic Acid Booster is a real multi-tasker. The powerful combination of azelaic acid, salicylic acid and plant extracts has multiple benefits for the skin. This booster visibly fades brown spots caused by sun damage, works to reduce breakouts and diminishes red marks from past blemishes. Plant-derived brightening and soothing ingredients reveal a more radiant, even complexion. A perfect alternative for those sensitive to benzoyl peroxide.
Ingredient List & Fragrance
As someone that has used 20% Azelaic Acid in the past with results, I wasn’t particularly keen on 10%. As far as I’m concerned, 10% is only great for people with rosacea. But if you struggle with hyperpigmentation, you should be looking to use 15-20% Azelaic Acid, which studies have shown is more effective.
Asides from the Azelaic Acid, I was a lot more excited about getting results from the Salicylic Acid. As I mentioned earlier, the Paula’s Choice 2% Exfoliant is a staple in my routine, and I expected to perform the same way.
Other ingredients in the formula that makes you wonder if it is worth it include:
- Licorice Root Extract
So you have the combination of 10% Azelaic Acid and Licorice Root Extract to fade dark spots, Salicylic Acid to treat and prevent new acne and Adenosine and Allantoin providing soothing benefits. Sounds like a solid formula to me.
As always, this product is alcohol, essential oil and fragrance-free.
Packaging, Texture & Consistency
Like many Paula’s Choice boosters, this product is packaged in a 30ml tube that looks super tiny. But I’ve been using it daily for six weeks, and I’m not sure I’m halfway done.
The tube dispenses a rich, creamy consistency which immediately feels like a moisturizer upon application. Upon a further look at the ingredient list, I can see it has Dimethicone, an emollient responsible for making this serum feel as good as a moisturizer.
It goes without saying that you can use it alone in the mornings without moisturizer but with sunscreen, as it dries down to a matte finish and feels like nothing on the skin.
Price & Avaliability
This product retails for $39/£40, which is honestly not the most affordable. But thankfully, Paula’s Choice tends to do frequent 20% off sales, which is how I got mine. In fact, I believe nobody should ever have to pay full price for Paula’s Choice products because of how frequently they do sales.
Review of the Paula’s Choice 10% Azelaic Acid Booster
I primarily use this product in the mornings with sunscreen and on my non-Tretinoin/Exfoliation night with Kojic Acid or whatever serum I have in rotation. I use it daily because I’m really purging right now, and I need to get rid of the breakout before it becomes a pigmentation. So, I was really hoping that this would work really well.
In general, especially if your skin has built a tolerance for high percentage of products, this is a very mild product. I had high hopes for it, but after a few weeks, it finally dawned on me that this product was not strong enough for my skin which is perfectly fine. But I just keep using it because I have to exhaust it.
I didn’t expect my pigmentation to lift with the combination of Azelaic Acid and Licorice Root Extract. I just wanted to eliminate my breakouts with the Salicylic Acid, which is not strong enough for further usage.
Based on the level the Salicylic Acid falls on the ingredient list, it is probably around 1-1.5% compared to the 2% I’m used to. Instead of the 2% that clears your breakouts within a couple of days, it feels like my breakouts are stalling and taking forever to clear, further worsening my pigmentation. Yeah, definitely not a fan.
A few Azelaic Acid products have emerged in the last couple of years. If you’re looking to purchase one, here are a few comparisons to help you.
The Ordinary Azelaic Acid Suspension vs Paula’s Choice Azelaic Acid Booster
I’ve used The Ordinary Azelaic Acid Suspension in the past, and while it is not exactly a favourite because of its formula, it is pretty effective. While it didn’t really do much for me on its own, it is excellent for anyone with sensitive skin who can’t use Salicylic Acid or Benzoyl Peroxide.
Asides for Vitamin E, The Ordinary’s formula sticks to one ingredient, 10% Azelaic Acid, compared to Paula’s Choice, which combines 10% Azelaic Acid with Salicylic Acid and Licorice Root Extract.
So, if you’re allergic, your skin can’t tolerate Salicylic Acid, or you’re struggling with redness, and you’re looking for an affordable alternative, I suggest you try The Ordinary Azelaic Acid Suspension instead.
The Inkey List Azelaic Acid vs Paula’s Choice Azelaic Acid Booster
A couple of months ago, The Inkey List launched a new batch of serums. one of which is the 10% Azelaic Acid serum. Similar to The Ordinary, it is formulated with 10% Azelaic Acid and 0.3% Allantoin to soothe the skin.
Compared to the Paula’s Choice Azelaic Acid Booster, targeted to people struggling with pigmentation, this one from The Inkey List is targeted to those prone to rosacea, aka redness.
While it is a lot more pricey than The Ordinary, it is worth trying both out to compare their effectiveness. If they both give you the same results, I suggest you stick to anyone you like.
As you can see, all three Azelaic Acid serums target different skin concerns. It honestly just depends on your choice. Is the Paula’s Choice 10% Azelaic Acid Booster worth it? For me? Not really.
But for someone new to skincare struggling with acne and scarring, has sensitive skin, and wants a simplified routine? Absolutely!
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