- AZA is a dicarboxylic acid synthesized by the fungus Malassezia fur fur. Cutaneous infection with this fungus causes a significant and long lasting depigmentation in the affected areas, which is believed to be induced by AZA. AZA is an inhibitor of the enzyme tyrosinase, the key melanogenic enzyme in melanocytes.
- When applied to the skin in a 20% concentration, AZA shows a considerable anti melasma effect comparable with the effect of 4% hydroquinone. AZA is also shown to be more potent than hydroquinone 2% for the treatment of melasma. A recent clinical study has demonstrated the efficacy of AZA for the treatment of freckles. Formulations containing AZA plus tretinoin are also suggested and are likely to have a more potent depigmenting effect than AZA alone. Such AZA formulations are reported to be well-tolerated by the patients.
- AZA is considered as a safe substance and the sole side effects include skin irritation, redness and some degrees of peeling. AZA products are applied once daily (or as recommended by the physician) for the treatment of melasma or freckles and it may take some weeks for the eventual depigmenting results to occur.
- AZA is also found to serve as an anti-acne product and AZA-tretinoin is shown to be an efficient treatment for rosacea. AZA has no depigmenting effect on the UV-induced pigmentation and therefore is of no use for skin whitening in tanned individuals.
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