What Are The Benefits Of Hypochlorous Acid In Skincare Products?

While there's a good chance that you recognize hydrochloric acid as something you wouldn't want anywhere near your skin, this piece is all about a different acid with a similar name — hypochlorous acid — and the benefits that it has when included as an ingredient in your skincare products. What is hypochlorous acid, then? Per the Cleveland Clinic, it's an acid that's made by the human body, but it's also used as a disinfectant against COVID-19 and as a skincare ingredient.


For the long answer, we'll turn to Michelle Henry, clinical instructor of dermatology at Weill Medical College, who was quoted by Shape: "Hypochlorous acid (HOCl) is a substance naturally created by our white blood cells that acts as the body's first line of defense against bacteria, irritation, and injury."

That might sound like a confusing description of what hypochlorous acid is. Luckily, dermatologist Shilpi Khetarpal, explained it even more simply, as quoted by Cleveland Clinic: "It's your body's natural response to bacteria, and it is very effective at its job."

Hypochlorous acid is being used in skincare products

There are many different skincare products in which hypochlorous acid is being used. With that in mind, this is one ingredient that you'll want to leave to the professionals when it comes to formulating those products. Cosmetic chemist Ginger King told Allure, "It has to be diluted to 100 parts per million before it's safe to use on your skin. Skin-care brands will have diluted the concentration and done safety testing to ensure consumer safety."


When you use products that have diluted the hypochlorous acid, though, you're likely to get plenty of benefits from its anti-inflammatory properties — and this is especially true if your skin is prone to conditions such as acne or eczema, according to Ipsy. "Hypochlorous acid is a powerful killer of bacteria, viruses, and even fungus," plastic surgeon Jaimie DeRosa elaborated to Allure. Aesthetician Jessica Houston similarly explained to the same publication, "It fights bacteria that cause clogged pores and acne. It also speeds up the healing process of cystic acne and repairs damage."

Hypochlorous acid may or may not be right for you

If you have sensitive skin, now's your time to rejoice. That's right; hypochlorous acid is one ingredient that you shouldn't need to worry about. Dr. Shilpi Khetarpal told the Cleveland Clinic, "It's great for sensitive skin. It's not going to give you the dryness, burning or irritation of other products [such as alcohol]." Likewise, dermatologist Marisa Garshick explained to Vogue in relation to brand Tower 28's hypochlorous acid spray, "Because it is gentle on the skin and non-irritating, it is generally safe for routine use."


While there aren't many drawbacks to using hypochlorous acid to fight acne, for example, there is something else to keep in mind, and that goes back to our earlier point about its abilities as a disinfectant against COVID-19. If you're looking to use hypochlorous acid on your skin as a defense mechanism against COVID-19 specifically, Cleveland Clinic cautions that it should not serve as a replacement for other public health measures.