The Environmental Impact of Azelaic Acid: Is It Sustainable?

The Environmental Impact of Azelaic Acid: Is It Sustainable?

The Beauty and the Beast: Can Azelaic Acid and the Environment Live Happily Ever After?

Oh, the fascination with beauty and the things we do to attain it. Being Caspian and a self-confessed beauty enthusiast, I have stumbled upon some pretty remarkable ingredients. One that caught my attention is Azelaic Acid, a wonder ingredient that is gaining quite the reputation in the cosmetics industry. But while it's singing a sweet melody to our skin, I began to wonder, is it hitting the right notes for our environment?

Now, grab your cup of ethically sourced coffee, create a mental image of a cozy fireside chat, and let us dive into the enigma that is the relationship between Azelaic Acid and the environment. Let us fathom whether it’s playing the role of a doting lover or an indifferent partner to our habitats.

Understanding the 'A' in Azelaic Acid: Where does it come from?

Did you know, the 'A' in Azelaic Acid might as well stand for 'abundant'? No, I'm not pulling your leg! It is, in fact, a naturally occurring dicarboxylic acid found in whole grains such as rye and barley. Moreover, it predominantly exudes its presence in our human skin. This fact sparked some interesting conversations at a dinner party I attended a few months ago, and believe me, it was an amusing revelation for many. I mean, who knew our skin was a walking, talking, breathing lab! It turns out, the microscopic yeast that lives on our skin transforms fatty acids into Azelaic Acid. Fascinating, isn't it?

Moreover, this goldmine of an ingredient is synthesized in labs for public use. The process ensures a high concentration and purity level, making the end product more effective and impactful. It's much like a multi-passenger elevator; it might originate in the parking basement (or in this case, a lab), but it goes all the up to the penthouse (read: top-notch skincare product).

Down the Rabbit Hole: How does Azelaic Acid affect our environment?

Now, let me take you down another alley of my mind. Here's a story: About 4 years ago, I decided to convert a little piece of my backyard into a compost pit. I ended up piling loads of discarded kitchen waste, leaves, grass, and whatnot, hoping to get rich, fertile compost, a gardener's dream. But, instead, I was hit with a stark reality. Several chemical substances, including Azelaic Acid, were present in the compost. My initial reaction was similar to watching a mind-boggling psychological thriller. I was taken aback and intrigued at the same time.

Upon some late-night, caffeine-fueled research, I found that alongside other dicarboxylic acids, Azelaic Acid plays a crucial role in forming aerosols in our atmosphere. Aerosols are tiny solid and liquid particles suspended in the air that affect the Earth's climate. Their influence can range from cooling the Earth's surface to reducing visibility, to aiding in cloud formation. And while environmental scientists continue to understand the complete dynamics of aerosols, it seems clear that chemicals like Azelaic Acid play a role in the atmospheric chemistry.

The Yearning for a Verdict: Is Azelaic Acid sustainable?

When it comes to defining sustainability, one often falls into a rabbit hole of varying ideologies and perspectives. Anyhow, if the question is whether the manufacturing and use of Azelaic Acid are sustainable, I'd say it's complex. Azelaic Acid is derived from grains and produced on our skin, so it is renewable. However, the commercial production of Azelaic Acid occurs through a process called oxidation, typically consuming vast amounts of non-renewable resources like natural gas.

Essentially, the ingredient isn't downright harmful or poses a direct risk to the environment. Its impact on the climate is still an open discussion, and its projection suggests neutrality at best. If we focus on its use in the cosmetics industry, then, as users, disposing of products containing Azelaic Acid responsibly, we minimize its impact on the environment.

So, What's Next for Azelaic Acid?

As researchers continue to investigate this intriguing compound, it is safe to say that more sustainable methods of production may not be too far into the future. Bridging the gap between beauty and sustainability has surfaced as a crucial goal for many beauty brands. While we can't snap our fingers and wave a magic wand to make it happen overnight, collectively, we can tread responsibly and mindfully.

Open to reformation, ready for debates, eager for sustainable solutions; that’s us, for you, standing on the bridge between cosmetics and the environment, waving the flag of sustainability. All we can do is to hope that the universe responds to our collective consciousness and turns it into a reality. After all, if we've learned one thing from my compost pit fiasco, it's that everything's connected - Azelaic Acid, us, and the environment.

Aug, 2 2023