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Azelaic acid acts as an anti-inflammatory compound. It is also exhibits anti acne activity. It up regulates expression of ant oxidative enzymes. Azelaic acid also inhibits proliferation of melanocytes.
Luis M. Baliña M.D.; Klaus Graupe M.D. The Treatment of Melasma 20% Azelaic Acid versus 4% Hydroquinone Cream. International Journal of Dermatology. 2007, 30 (12),893-895.