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Azelaic Acid

Finacea Gel 

Finacea Gel is a dermatologist-recommended topical treatment containing 15% azelaic acid, primarily used to manage mild to moderate rosacea. This FDA-approved gel helps reduce inflammation, redness, and the formation of pimples by targeting keratin production that clogs pores and combating skin bacteria associated with rosacea. Suitable for adult use, it should be applied twice daily to cleansed skin. While mostly well-tolerated, some users may experience mild side effects like skin irritation or dryness. Always store Finacea at room temperature and away from moisture. Consult your healthcare expert for personalized advice and proper usage instructions.

Finacea Gel Overview

Finacea Gel is a topical medication comprising azelaic acid as its main active ingredient, and it is widely recognized for its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. This gel is primarily used for treating mild to moderate rosacea, a skin condition characterized by redness, pimples, and, in some cases, thickened skin. Azelaic acid functions by inhibiting the generation of keratin skin cells that can block pores, thus reducing the formation of bumps and lesions. Additionally, it combats bacteria linked to acne and rosacea, helping to soothe inflammation and redness. Finacea is FDA-approved for this use, ensuring it meets strict safety and efficacy standards.

Available in a 15% gel formulation, Finacea is designed for easy application. The recommended usage involves applying a thin gel layer to the affected face areas twice daily after cleansing the skin. It is suitable for adults and is generally well-tolerated by most users. When applied, azelaic acid penetrates the skin to lower the number of inflammatory papules and pustules associated with rosacea.

While Finacea Gel is compelling, users may experience side effects like skin irritation, dryness & redness. These are typically mild & often decrease with continued use of the product. Patients are advised to avoid using the gel on sunburned or broken skin and to be cautious of excessive sun exposure. In cases of missed doses, skipping the missed dose and continuing with the regular schedule is recommended without doubling up. Finacea should be stored at an average room temperature, away from moisture and heat & out of reach of children. As with all medications, following healthcare provider instructions and discussing any concerns or unusual symptoms is important.

Uses of Finacea Gel

  • Rosacea

Finacea Gel Dosage

Here are the formulations and strengths:

  • Cream: 20% (Azelex)
  • Gel: 15% (Finacea)
  • Foam: 15% (Finacea)

Recommended Dosage of Finacea Gel to Different Patients

For Acne Vulgaris (using Azelex):

  • Apply a thin layer gently to the affected areas on your face every 12 hours.
  • Before applying, cleanse the affected area with mild soap or a gentle cleansing lotion and gently pat dry.

For Treatment of Inflammatory Papules and Pustules of Mild to Moderate Rosacea (using Finacea):

  • Apply a thin layer of the Finacea gel to the affected areas of your face every 12 hours, massaging gently.
  • Before applying, cleanse the affected area with mild soap or a gentle cleansing lotion and pat dry.

General Administration Instructions:

  • Always cleanse the affected area with mild soap or a soapless cleansing lotion before applying either medication.
  • If you don’t see any improvement after 12 weeks of using the medication, consult your healthcare provider for further guidance.

[Note: Remember, these recommendations may vary from person to person. Discuss it with your doctor, and they’ll customize your dosage accordingly.]

How to Use Finacea Gel?

  • Cleanse the affected area thoroughly and ensure it is scorched before applying Finacea Gel.
  • Apply a thin gel layer to the entire affected area twice daily (morning and evening). Avoid getting it in the eyes, mouth, or other mucous membranes.
  • Massage the gel gently into the skin until it is fully absorbed. Do not rub excessively.
  • Use only enough gel to cover the affected areas lightly. Using too much will not improve the effectiveness and may increase side effects.
  • Allow the gel to dry thoroughly before applying other skincare products or makeup.
  • Wash your hands after applying Finacea Gel.
  • Be patient. It may take 4-8 weeks of regular use to see improvement in rosacea symptoms.
  • Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen daily and limit sun exposure, as azelaic acid can make your skin more sensitive to sunlight.
  • Do not apply Finacea Gel to open wounds, sunburns, or severely irritated skin.
  • If excessive dryness, peeling, or irritation occurs, try applying a moisturizer a few minutes after the gel has dried.

[Note: Your healthcare provider will determine the appropriate dosage for you based on your condition, following established guidelines and clinical studies of the medication. They will adjust it as necessary over time.]

How Does Finacea Gel Work?

Finacea Gel contains azelaic acid, which targets the root causes of acne and rosacea by inhibiting the production and growth of keratin surface skin cells that can clog pores. This action helps to clear blocked pores and sebaceous glands, significantly reducing the likelihood of developing papules, pustules, and spots. Additionally, azelaic acid effectively reduces the swelling and redness commonly associated with rosacea.

The gel also combats skin bacteria linked to acne and rosacea, specifically propionibacterium. This bacteria survives on the sebum produced by the body, creating fatty acids and waste that inflame the sebaceous glands, leading to redness, swelling, and the formation of spots and bumpy rashes on the face. By addressing these bacteria, Finacea helps alleviate these symptoms.

Finacea Gel Side Effects

Common side effects of Finacea Gel may include:

  • Skin irritation, including burning, stinging, or tingling sensation
  • Dryness
  • Redness
  • Itching
  • Scaling or peeling
  • Warmth or slight swelling of the skin
  • Lightening of skin color (hypopigmentation)

Serious Side Effects of Finacea Gel may include:

  • In rare instances, Finacea Gel may trigger severe allergic reactions such as swollen face, tongue, lips, or throat, difficulty breathing, and hives. If you notice any indications of a serious allergic reaction, seek immediate medical attention.
  • Skin discoloration: In some cases, Finacea Gel may cause temporary skin discoloration, including hyperpigmentation (darkening of the skin) or hypopigmentation (lightening of the skin). This is more likely to occur in areas with excessive sun exposure.
  • Eye irritation: Finacea Gel can get into the eyes and cause severe irritation, redness, burning, and potential eye injury. Avoid applying it too close to the eyes, and rinse thoroughly if it does.
  • Worsening of acne or other skin conditions: In some cases, Finacea Gel may worsen existing acne or other skin conditions, especially during the initial stages of treatment.
  • Photosensitivity: Finacea Gel may increase your skin’s sensitivity to sunlight, potentially leading to severe sunburn or skin reactions. Avoid excessive sun exposure & use protective clothing and sunscreen when outdoors.

[Note: Please remember that this list may not include all potential side effects. Always consult with your healthcare expert for medical advice regarding side effects.]

Finacea Gel Warnings

  • Avoid getting Finacea in your eyes, nose, mouth, rectum, or vagina.
  • Do not use sunburned, windburned, dry, chapped, irritated, or broken skin. Wait until these conditions have healed before applying Finacea.
  • Do not cover the treated area after applying Finacea, as this can lead to excessive medication absorption.
  • It may take up to 4 weeks or longer before symptoms improve. Continue using Finacea as directed.
  • If you don’t notice any improvements after 12 weeks of treatment, it is suggested to consult with your skin or medical expert.
  • If you experience excessive irritation, burning, or dryness, ask your doctor about applying Finacea once daily instead of twice daily.

Finacea Gel Precautions

  • Avoid using Finacea if you have allergies to azelaic acid or propylene glycol.
  • Inform your doctor about any history of asthma.
  • Notify your doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • If breastfeeding, refrain from applying Finacea to your nipple area.
  • Finacea is not recommended for individuals under 18 years of age.

Finacea Gel Missed Dose

If you miss a dose of Finacea gel or Finacea foam, simply skip the missed dose and continue with your regular dosing schedule. Avoid doubling up on the next dose to compensate for the missed dosage, as this can heighten the risk of experiencing side effects from Finacea.

[Note: If you have missed a Finacea gel dosage and are unsure when to take the next one, immediately reach out to your doctor or pharmacist.]

Finacea Gel Overdose 

Follow your doctor’s dosage instructions precisely when using Finacea. Using more than prescribed can potentially cause unwanted side effects or overdose with certain medications.

[Note: If you have taken more than the recommended dose, seek immediate medical assistance or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.]

Finacea Gel Storage

  • Store Finacea Gel at room temperature, protected from moisture and heat. 
  • Keep the gel in its original tube or container. Do not transfer it to another container.
  • Keep the tube tightly closed when not in use to protect the medication from air and moisture exposure.
  • Avoid storing Finacea Gel in bathrooms, as the shower’s moisture and heat can degrade the product.
  • Do not freeze or expose the gel to temperatures above 86°F (30°C).
  • Keep the medication out of reach of children and pets.
  • Note the expiration date on the tube, and do not use Finacea Gel after the expiration date has passed.
  • Once opened, the gel should be used within 8 weeks. Discard any remaining gel after that time.

[Note: Please consult with your healthcare provider regarding the appropriate disposal of any unused medication and for any queries you may have regarding its storage.]

Finacea Gel Interactions

  • Topical sulfur products: Combining Finacea Gel with topical sulfur products like sulfacetamide may increase skin irritation and dryness.
  • Benzoyl peroxide: Using benzoyl peroxide products with Finacea Gel can cause excessive skin irritation and dryness.
  • Tretinoin (Retin-A) and other retinoids: Combining Finacea Gel with tretinoin or other topical retinoids may increase the risk of skin irritation, redness, and peeling.
  • Salicylic acid: Using salicylic acid products along with Finacea Gel can potentially increase skin irritation and dryness.
  • Alcohol-based products: Applying alcohol-based products (e.g., toners, astringents) to the same area as Finacea Gel may cause stinging or burning sensations.
  • Glycolic acid: Combining Finacea Gel with glycolic acid products can potentially increase skin irritation and sensitivity.

[Note: This list might not encompass all potential interactions. Inform your medical expert about all prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications & herbal products you currently use.]

Finacea Gel Alternatives

[Note: Your healthcare provider will determine the best course of treatment for you. Do not use any of these alternative medications without consulting your doctor, as using them independently may lead to serious side effects.] 

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the differences between azelaic acid cream, gel, and foam?

Azelaic acid is available in different formulations to treat various skin conditions. Azelex cream contains 20% azelaic acid and is prescribed for mild to moderate acne, though it is costly as it is available only under its brand name. On the other hand, Finacea foam and gel contain 15% azelaic acid and are prescribed for mild to moderate rosacea. Users generally report less skin irritation with the foam formulation. Over-the-counter products with lower power of azelaic acid are also used for different skin conditions.

What is the typical timeframe for azelaic acid to show results?

The effectiveness of azelaic acid varies based on factors like the severity of your skin condition and how your skin responds to the treatment. Most people notice improvement in acne within approximately 4 weeks of starting treatment. Individuals treating rosacea may require up to 12 weeks before seeing noticeable improvements in their skin. If there’s no improvement within this timeframe, it’s advisable to consult your healthcare professional to explore alternative treatment options for your skin condition.

Is azelaic acid effective for lightening dark spots on the skin?

While azelaic acid is not FDA-approved for treating dark spots, it has skin-lightening properties. This medication works by inhibiting tyrosinase, an enzyme responsible for melanin production, which gives skin its color. Some over-the-counter beauty products containing azelaic acid claim to brighten skin and even tone skin, but the FDA does not verify these claims. Compared to prescription medications, these products generally contain lower concentrations of azelaic acid.

Is it safe to use azelaic acid if I have dehydrated skin?

If you have dehydrated skin, using azelaic acid requires caution as it can potentially exacerbate dryness. This medication is known to cause side effects like dryness, peeling, and rash, particularly in the initial weeks of treatment. Suppose these skin irritations are severe or persistent. In that case, it’s advisable to consult your healthcare provider to evaluate whether azelaic acid is suitable for your skin condition and discuss alternative options if necessary.

Can I apply makeup over azelaic acid?

Once dried, you can safely apply cosmetics over azelaic acid foam or gel (Finacea), allowing your skin to absorb the medication entirely. Applying cosmetics before the medication dries may hinder absorption. However, it’s advisable to consult your healthcare expert before applying makeup over azelaic acid cream (Azelex) to ensure proper application and absorption of the medication.

Should I avoid sun exposure while using Finacea?

While the manufacturer of Finacea does not specify the need to avoid sunlight during use, it’s important to note that sun exposure is a common trigger for rosacea flare-ups. Finacea treats rosacea, so taking precautions before sun exposure is advisable if sunlight triggers your rosacea symptoms. Use sunscreen and protective clothing like hats outdoors to minimize potential flare-ups.

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