Paula's Choice 10% Acid Azelaic Booster

Review: Paula’s Choice 10% Acid Azelaic Booster

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At a glance

My detailed review of the 10% Acid Azelaic Booster from the American skincare brand Paula’s Choice.

OK, so this review isn’t going to be easy to write, I can already tell! But with all the questions I’ve received since I told you I use Paula’s Choice 10% Acid Azelaic Booster in my morning skincare routine, I think we should talk about it! 😉

I hesitated for a long time before I decided to order the 10% Acid Azelaic Booster from Paula’s Choice.

At first, I thought it wasn’t really for me. And after using it, I’m still not sure I’m the right person for this product (and even for this active in general).

So I’d like to explain why I decided to try it, but, to do it justice, I’ll also tell you about all its properties (because there are plenty of them!) and what skin issues it targets.

Before looking into the details, an important disclaimer: I don’t suffer from acne rosacea (at least not to my knowledge). Yet I know that this product is often recommended to treat it. I’m afraid I won’t be able to tell you about my experience in this area…

And to be honest, I don’t know much about acne rosacea. Indeed, this very specific skin condition is outside my area of expertise, and I can’t recommend enough discussing the topic with a health professional expert, who will be able to recommend a treatment much better than I can.

Still, there’s a lot to say about this product so here’s my detailed review of the Paula’s Choice’s 10% Acid Azelaic Booster!

My current morning routine My current morning routine Well, my friends, it looks like everything can happen at the moment, apparently! I’ve finally decided to share my morning skincare routine (and maybe I’ll even write a second article with my evening routine, let’s go crazy!). Let me show you the skincare products I’m using at the moment! Read more

Paula’s Choice’s 10% Acid Azelaic Booster, product presentation:

The 10% Acid Azelaic Booster is part of Paula’s Choice’s range of Boosters, very versatile targeted treatment products. They can be used alone, mixed with your serum or moisturizer, all over your face, as a local treatment, as a treatment for a few weeks, or all year round… The choice is yours!

The 10% Azelaic Acid Booster is a multitask treatment that combines the properties of azelaic acid, salicylic acid, adenosine and various plant extracts (liquorice extract, allantoin, bisabolol) to address different skin concerns.

Azelaic acid, a natural antioxidant, helps to soothe the skin and brighten the complexion. In this product, you will find 10% of azelaic acid, the maximum authorized concentration for a cosmetic product. It visibly fades pigmentation spots caused by sun damage, reduces inflammation and diminishes the red marks of past blemishes (also called PIH), while revealing a brighter, more even complexion.

Adenosine soothes and restores, salicylic acid (a BHA/ chemical exfoliating acid) helps to remove dead skin from the skin’s surface and dissolves excess sebum in clogged pores, so it’s ideal for acne-prone skin.

The plant extracts (liquorice extract, allantoin, bisabolol) contained in this Booster are soothing and calming.

Thanks to all these ingredients, it’s a deeply soothing and purifying treatment product, perfect for skin with blemishes, which may be acne and/or pigmentation-related.

About Azelaic Acid:

Azelaic acid is a dicarboxylic acid. It’s not an AHA or BHA, rather a distant relative. It’s found naturally in wheat, rye and barley. The one used in cosmetics is usually obtained by fermentation using microorganisms.

It’s a super effective, multi-tasking ingredient! Here are its various properties:

a) Antibacterial/ Anti-Acne effect:

Thanks to its anti-bacterial effect, it fights many bacteria, including the bad Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes), which causes acne. Very few ingredients have been proven effective against P. acnes, which makes azelaic acid a great ingredient for acne-prone skin!

For the treatment of acne, a 20% dosage is more effective. At this dosage, it’s just as effective against acne as retinoic acid (dosed at 0.05%) or benzoyl peroxide (5%).

This 20% dosage is only available on prescription. Its maximum OTC concentration is 10%. But even at 10%, it remains a super effective ingredient.

b) Regulating effect on the production of skin cells/ Anti-Acne:

Azelaic acid acts on the cells lining the hair follicles by modifying their maturation and proliferation mode, thus reducing follicular obstruction and helping to prevent blackheads, whiteheads and inflammatory acne lesions. Basically, it helps boost the production of healthy skin cells in pores, which is often problematic in acne-prone skin.

c) Anti-inflammatory effect/Action on acne and acne rosacea:

This anti-inflammatory effect benefits acne-prone skin but also people with rosacea (this is especially true with a 15% dosage).

d) Lightening effect on hyperpigmentation/ Anti-PIH, anti-melasma:

Finally, azelaic acid seems to be particularly effective in treating post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation/ PIH (= the persistent red scars you can have after a breakout) and melasma.

In short, if your skin is prone to acne, rosacea and/or you have concerns about hyper-pigmentation, it’s worth looking into azelaic acid.

As a bonus, you can even use it if you are pregnant (it’s one of the few active ingredients that is allowed during such a moment in your life).

One last thing, azelaic acid is also recommended as a complementary treatment to retinol or exfoliating acids, as it helps to increase the skin’s support and optimizes the results, especially on pigmentation spots.

Paula’s Choice’s 10% Acid Azelaic Booster, my experience:

To be honest, at first I had a hard time understanding if this product was really for me and I didn’t know how to use it properly either. It even took me a few weeks to master the use of this product!

Why I wanted to try Paula’s Choice 10% Acid Azelaic Booster:

Knowing that I don’t have any redness, acne, rosacea or pigmentation spots, you can’t help but wonder! 😆

I decided to try this product because, I have been hearing about it everywhere and I’m a total victim of cosmetics FOMO. I know, I know, not a big surprise here, is it? 😉

Most importantly, I wanted a miracle solution so I could continue to use exfoliating acids and retinol in my routine. Because I want to hold on to my acids, and rather than simplify my routine by removing products that seem to be problematic, I prefer to add one more, which is very logical, I know lol

Well that being said, I slowed down quite a bit with my acids (I talk about it in this evening routine article) and I must say that azelaic acid helped a lot to control my sensitivity so, in the end, I didn’t make such a bad choice! Pat on my skincare obsessive’s back!

How I incorporated it into my skincare routine:

Now that was a real headache for me at first because I was convinced that I should treat it like an exfoliating acid. But its texture was still quite creamy, so I didn’t want to use it at the very beginning of my routine (that’s how I prefer to use my acids in general, after the cleansing step)… And then, did it mean that I had to alternate with my other exfoliating acid products, or could I use it at the same time?

In short, I had no idea where to it could fit it into my complex skincare routine!

So I asked my beloved beauty blogger friends familiar with the product to find out how they use it and thanks to their advice, I realized that what would work best for me would simply be to use it in the morning.

And also, I found out that it was more like a purifying and soothing treatment than an exfoliating product (it doesn’t work quite like exfoliating acids as we saw above).

By the way, you can also pair it with another exfoliating product in the same routine if you wish!

So I now use it in the morning, after my moisturizing serum and before my facial oil and/or moisturizing cream.

And thanks to its slightly matifying effect, it’s a perfect daytime product IMO!

The results:

So of course, it’s going to be difficult for me to judge its effectiveness on pigmentation spots, redness or rosacea 😬

But I’m convinced that this product helps a lot with inflammation, and in my case, I saw it after a few weeks: my skin was less irritated than before, I had fewer inflammation breakouts! It helped me to tolerate my retinal product far more, and I managed (so far, at least!) to reuse AHAs without causing skin issues. In short, it has made my skin more resilient!

To be honest, I’m not sure this Booster will be a staple of my routine forever, but I can say that it gave me a hand when I needed it, and that’s already pretty good!

If I decide to start tretinoin, for example, it’s typically the product I’d like to have with me in my routine! (Are you also tempted to try tret while you’re self-isolating, because you think it’s a great timing or it’s just me? 😉 )

And finally, if you add the visible brightening effect on my complexion, I’m glad I gave it a try!

In conclusion:

I’m well aware that my review won’t be useful for everybody because clearly, I’ve used this product for only part of its properties.

But I still hope that I was able to provide a little information about azelaic acid! 🙂

The Paula’s Choice’s 10% Acid Azelaic Booster retails for $36 for 30ml.

Product Review in detail


Paula's Choice 10% Acid Azelaic Booster

"This unique formula uses potent azelaic acid, plus other powerhouse ingredients to clarify uneven tone, target stubborn spots and soothe irritation resulting in smoother, more radiant, younger-looking skin.
- Azelaic acid’s effectiveness is backed by over 20 years of research
- Lightweight, oil-free cream-gel texture
- Use alone or add to your moisturizer or serum."

product image



An effective product (from what I was able to observe).




Feeling on the skin
Formula/ Ingredients
Efficiency/ Result
Value For Money

+ Pros

- a multi-faceted formula that helps to treat several skin problems at the same time,
- the effective and very soothing ingredients,
- the high concentration of azelaic acid,
- the effectiveness on breakouts and inflammation,
- the very practical tube packaging,
- the colorful and pretty tube,
- a pleasant and slightly matifying gel-cream texture (perfect for daytime use).

- Cons

- its price compared to the product quantity (that being said, a tube lasts me up to 3 months).

product name

10% Acid Azelaic Booster

brand name

Paula's Choice



made in



A squeezable plastic tube, white and bright green plastic.


Fragrance-free, but the scent is a bit chemical and almost "dusty" (if you get the idea).


A nice gel-cream texture that slightly mattifies the skin.

For Who

For all skin types but especially:
– sensitive or sensitized skin with a damaged protective barrier,
– reactive skin, flush-prone,
– skin with redness,
– acne-prone skin,
– acne rosacea,
– skin prone to hyper-pigmentation.


– rashes and redness,
– sensitive, sensitized, damaged skin,
– acne and breakouts,
– acne rosacea,
– pigmentation spots.


The 10% Acid Azelaic Booster can be used alone, mixed with your serum or moisturizer, on the whole face, as a local treatment, as a treatment for a few weeks, or all year round… It’s very versatile!

Personally, I use it as I would use a serum: alone, after my moisturizing serum and before my facial oil and moisturizer. I use a small amount, and that’s enough for the whole face (it’s very spreadable).

At the beginning, I couldn’t use it every day, it stung me when I applied it (it’s apparently quite normal). I applied it 3 times a week first, then every other day and after a few weeks I was able to switch to daily use without any issue!

Key Ingredients

The Paula’s Choice 10% Azelaic Acid Booster is a true multi-faceted treatment to address various skin concerns .
It contains:
10% azelaic acid, a natural antioxidant, which helps to soothe the skin and brighten the complexion. It visibly fades pigmentation spots caused by sun damage, reduces inflammation and diminishes red spots from past blemishes, while also revealing a more radiant and uniform complexion.
– some adenosine that soothes and restores sensitive skin,
– some salicylic acid (a BHA/chemical exfoliating acid) that helps to remove dead skin from the skin surface and dissolve sebum in clogged pores, ideal for acne-prone skin.
– some soothing and calming plant extracts: liquorice extract, allantoin, bisabolol,
– and licorice root that brightens the complexion.

For those who prefer to avoid it, I want to point out that it also contains a bit of silicone.


Water (Aqua), Azelaic Acid, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Caprylic/​Capric Triglyceride, Methyl Glucose Sesquistearate, Glycerin, Cetearyl Alcohol, Glyceryl Stearate, Dimethicone, Salicylic Acid, Adenosine,Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, Boerhavia Diffusa Root Extract, Allantoin, Bisabolol, Cyclopentasiloxane, Xanthan Gum, Sclerotium Gum, Propanediol, Butylene Glycol, Phenoxyethanol.

Ingredients not included

– alcohol,
– mineral oil,
– fragrance,
– dye.

Shop for this product

Paula’s Choice 10% Acid Azelaic Booster $36

Paula’s Choice 10% Acid Azelaic Booster

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