Hypochlorous acid sounds like an intense skin-care ingredient, but we’re going to break it down for you. Your skin naturally produces hypochlorous acid when it’s trying to fight off infections, explain cosmetic chemists Victoria Fu and Gloria Lu. It’s a “weak acid that’s used as an antimicrobial because of its ability to break apart cell membranes,” they add. They say it’s used in skin care and as a cleaning agent—you were likely using it during COVID while disinfecting. It also had a big moment combating maskne at the height of the pandemic. Founder and CEO of Tower 28 Amy Liu explains that it’s naturally found in white blood cells, where it helps combat inflammation and harmful bacteria. Additionally, it’s “been used by doctors in wound healing for a very long time.”
Hypochlorous acid in skin care
Fu and Lu say it’s known to be a skin-soother and an antimicrobial, which can help reduce acne breakouts. “When used in skin care, it triggers an immune boost, signaling your body to repair and soothe a myriad of skin irritations, including acne, sunburn and eczema. It’s both anti-inflammatory and antibacterial,” explains Liu.
Formulator and CEO of Elina Organics, Elina Fedotova, notes that in high concentrations it can be damaging. However, when formulated correctly by a professional “in a very diluted form, it is not damaging to the skin and can effectively reduce inflammation by killing pathogens and calm severely inflamed complexions,” says Fedotova. She considers hypochlorous acid treatments more like medicine used short term versus using it as part of your everyday regimen.
Skin-care products to try with hypochlorous acid
“Probably one of the most notable skin-care products with hypochlorous acid is Tower 28 SOS Daily Rescue Facial Spray ($28). We’d say it’s a great starting place to see if this works for you,” say Fu and Lu. The product has been viral online and Hailey Bieber is even a fan. Liu says this spray is “a super gentle PH balanced hypochlorous acid spray that works wonders on angry, stressed out skin from head to toe.” It was one of the first products Liu formulated when creating the brand as a solution for her severe eczema, and it saved her skin.
Due to the success, they ended up expanding to create a more targeted serum ($34). “These two products both have the National Eczema Association’s Seal of Acceptance. I recommend them to anyone looking to achieve happier, healthy-looking skin,” says Liu. Another popular option is Easy on the Eyes Calming Face Mist with Hypochlorous Acid ($42).