Is Hypochlorous Acid Worth The Hype? Skincare Benefits, Best Brands, & Ways to Use It

Is Hypochlorous Acid Worth The Hype? Skincare Benefits, Best Brands, & Ways to Use It

A simple addition to your skincare routine, hypochlorous acid can soothe irritation, control bacteria and serve as a gentle cleanser. With its unrivaled skin-healing capabilities, HOCl also deserves a front-row spot in your medicine cabinet. You may even find yourself using hypochlorous acid to care for your pets and clean your home!

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What is Hypochlorous Acid (HOCl)?

Hypochlorous acid (HOCl) is an antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory compound made up of hydrogen (H), oxygen (O) and chlorine (Cl). Produced by the body’s white blood cells to fight infection, heal the body and kill bacteria, hypochlorous acid was discovered by French chemist Antoine Jérôme Balard in 1834. HOCl was first used by medics in World War I to irrigate and disinfect wounds. Today, hypochlorous acid is used in hospitals across the globe as a disinfectant and as a wound care aid.

Hypochlorous acid is gaining traction in the natural skincare world for its superior healing properties. Created by electrically altering salt, water and vinegar (a process called electrolysis), hypochlorous acid promotes new tissue formation and does not destroy skin’s good bacteria. Developing resistance to HOCl is generally not a concern because the compound is naturally produced by the human body.

Hypochlorous Acid Soothes a Range of Skin Ailments

Hypochlorous acid is a healing powerhouse. It’s non-drying, non-toxic and irritant-free. HOCl is extremely gentle, working as an antimicrobial to defend and repair skin. Because it’s a natural byproduct of the body’s immune system, hypochlorous acid is well tolerated even by those with sensitive skin.

Hypochlorous acid (HOCl) is used in skincare for:
  • Preventing secondary infections in broken skin and minor cuts
  • Calming itching, flaking and inflammation from eczema and psoriasis
  • Combating redness from rosacea
  • Reducing bacteria on the skin to discourage acne and body acne “bacne” growth
  • Relieving swelling associated with folliculitis
  • Soothing minor burns, scrapes, razor burns, bug bites, and sunburns
  • Alleviating irritated eyes, styes and sore, dry eyelids
  • Easing symptoms of dandruff and seborrheic dermatitis
  • Cleansing skin before cosmetic procedures or tattoo/piercing aftercare
  • Cleaning and sanitizing makeup brushes in between washes

Related post: “The Best Clean & Natural Face Toners for Each Skin Type

How to Incorporate HOCl Into Your Skincare Routine

When you’re ready to try HOCl for yourself, there are a range of products on the market to navigate. You’ll find mists, toners and serums. Hypochlorous acid (HOCl) is most popular in spray form, likely due to convenient on-the-go packaging and its excellent absorption potential.

Regardless of the product type you choose, expect your hypochlorous acid to have a mild chlorine scent. In fact, the smell indicates that the solution is stable and working optimally!

You can use HOCl after cleansing and before applying other products, mid-day to keep bacteria at bay, or post-workout on your body and face to balance acne-prone skin. In a pinch, you can even use hypochlorous acid as a hand and face cleanser. Just make sure to let the hypochlorous acid dry before applying additional products.

That’s it! Talk about low maintenance.

Ways to use hypochlorous acid graphic

Note: Consider rotating products containing actives like Vitamin C (or other antioxidants) in the morning and HOCl in the evening to reap the benefits of both. Why? As an oxidant, hypochlorous acid removes electrons, while as an antioxidant, Vitamin C gives electrons. Used together, they’ll deactivate each other.

That being said, you can use both HOCl and actives (such as retinol) in the same routine, but make sure you apply HOCl first and let it completely dry to prevent deactivation.

Potential Side Effects of Hypochlorous Acid (HOCl) in Skincare Products

Steer clear of hypochlorous acid if you have a chlorine allergy, and check with your dermatologist before using if you’re taking medications, using prescription topical treatments or just want to be safe, as HOCl could cause irritation in some users. Otherwise, HOCl is generally considered safe for daily use.

In terms of formulation, read labels carefully and know that less is more. Leave hypochlorous acid products with added alcohols, fragrances, parabens or dyes behind, and pay attention to the concentration of HOCl in your product (we’ll talk concentrations below).

A few tips for using hypochlorous acid safely:
  • Conduct a patch test if you have sensitive skin
  • Watch for redness, itching or burning
  • Store your HOCl product at room temperature, away from UV light
  • Let your HOCl product dry completely before applying additional products
  • Use in moderation to avoid irritation
Wait—isn’t hypochlorous acid the same as bleach?

Don’t worry—no. While HOCl, chlorine and bleach have common atoms, they are different compounds. Hypochlorous acid, which plays a critical role in the body’s ability to heal itself, is safe for contact with the skin.

Related post: “My Step-by-Step Natural Skincare Routine for Sensitive Skin (Redness, Rosacea, & Irritation)

Can You Use Hypochlorous Acid on Pets? 🐾

Yep! Although it’s always a good idea to speak with your vet first, in concentrations safe for human skin, hypochlorous acid is safe for use on animals as well. Pet owners love hypochlorous acid for its ability to reduce infection risk and speed healing for minor cuts, burns and wounds. Pet owners also use hypochlorous acid to kill bacteria and manage:

  • Tartar buildup
  • Paw odor (corn chip paws)
  • Ear and eye debris
  • Yeast infections
  • Bumblefoot in chickens

Becca loves to spray HOCl on her dog’s dirty paws before coming inside!

Related post: “The Holistic Dog Guide: Best Natural & Organic Pet Products

What to Look for When Choosing a Hypochlorous Acid Brand

Hypochlorous acid is safe to use on skin when it’s diluted to 100 parts per million. When choosing a hypochlorous acid brand, check that the concentration of hypochlorous acid in the product is between 0.005% and 0.02%, with a pH of 3.5-5.5. Select a product with clear instructions and high purity standards, and remember to avoid products with too many added ingredients.

Index: Ingredients to Avoid (& Printable Pocket Guide)

Becca’s Picks for Clean, Low-Tox Hypochlorous Acid Brands

Is hypochlorous acid really worth all the hype? Based on the performance of these top clean hypochlorous acid (HOCl) brands, it seems so!

Active Skin Repair Sprays

Price: $30 ($10 per ounce)
Percentage of HOCl Used in Formula: 0.012%, pH value 5.5
Cons: Contains phosphates (buffering salts that help preserve the formula)

Active Skin Repair Hypochlorous Acid

Active Skin Repair’s hypochlorous acid products are manufactured in an ISO 9000 clean room in California, and each product is tested for safety and efficacy. The company believes in “harnessing the power of the human body to support the natural healing process.” Reviewers say Active Skin Repair products don’t sting compared to other hypochlorous acid brands they’ve tried.

They have three sprays (Original, Kid, and Baby), but all have the same formulation.

What to Know About the Company: Active Skin Repair is a 1% for the planet member, and they offer a discount for military, first responders, government employees and teachers. All Active Skin Repair sprays are HSA/FSA eligible, as well as vegan and cruelty-free. Active Skin Repair products are safe to use on animals.

Buy Active Skin Repair Here

Also available here at Target.

Briotech Topical Skin Spray

Price Range: $13-$80 ($2.12 per ounce, refill size available)
Percentage of HOCl Used in Formula: 0.014%, pH value 5

Briotech Hypochlorous Acid

Clinically and dermatologically tested by the National Institutes of Health, Briotech is “proven pure”, hypoallergenic and made from vegan ingredients. Briotech products are free from alcohol, oil, antibiotics, parabens, phthalates, sulfates, added fragrance and additives. Briotech is a global leader in the distribution of hypochlorous acid products.

What to Know About the Company: Briotech is on a mission to “positively impact health, healing, and disinfection on a global level.” Briotech donates products to global disaster relief efforts and charities in need, and a portion of their sales are donated quarterly to employee-chosen charities.

Buy Briotech Spray Here

E11ement Face & Skin Spray (💰 Most Affordable)

Price Range: $10-$25 ($2 per ounce, refill size available)
Percentage of HOCl Used in Formula: 0.015%, pH value 7.8
Cons: The pH is high, but according to E11ement, “Remember water has a pH of 7, so it’s not far off. The others on the market have a lower pH, but they off-gas much faster and lose efficacy. Ours remains stable and pure without preservatives or phosphates for over 12 months.”

E11ement Hypochlorous Acid

E11ement’s products are 100% natural, hypoallergenic, and cruelty-free. They do not contain alcohol, parabens, fragrances, gluten, oils or dyes. Reviewers consistently call E11ement’s hypochlorous acid a high-performing, budget-friendly, lower-priced dupe for Tower 28.

What to Know About the Company: E11ement stresses a strong desire to make their products available to everyone, encouraging those who cannot purchase their products at retail pricing to reach out to them via email for support.

Buy E11ement Spray Here

Magic Molecule The Solution Spray (⭐️ Becca’s Fave)

Price: $32 ($4 per ounce)
Percentage of HOCl used in Formula: 0.018%, pH value 5

Magic Molecule Hypochlorous Acid

Magic Molecule is one of the few FDA-cleared hypochlorous acid products marketed specifically for wound care. It’s dermatologist-tested, shelf-stable for 18-24 months and cleared for use on infants 1 month and older.

What to Know About the Company: Magic Molecule has a unique patented stabilization method, which keeps the spray stable and effective for longer than most. Plus, it’s medical-grade.

Note from Becca: This is my favorite brand overall, and I use it the most! The price is reasonable, but the quality is impeccable, with an ideal concentration and pH. I especially love that they are FDA-registered, so you can trust the claims about shelf life and efficacy. I use it in so many ways: redness, blemishes, after a sweaty workout, my dog’s paws, irritated skin, post-sun…you name it!

Use code BECCA95343 for $5 off 🏷️

Buy Magic Molecule Spray Here

Tower 28 SOS Rescue Spray (🗣️ Most Popular)

Price Range: $12-$68 ($7 per ounce, refill sizes available)
Percentage of HOCl Used in Formula: 0.015%, pH value 4.5

Tower 28 Hypochlorous Acid

Tower 28’s SOS Daily Rescue Facial Spray is one of the trendiest hypochlorous acid products on the market right now. Referred to as “the Windex of skincare” by the brand’s founder Amy Liu, Tower 28 has reviewers raving about results ranging from cleared acne and reduced redness to refreshed skin and eczema relief.

Tower 28 also offers an HOCl serum!

What to Know About the Company: Tower 28 uses 100% PCR (post-consumer recycled plastic) for their SOS packaging. Their hypochlorous acid products are fragrance and alcohol-free, and their chemists spent eight years perfecting the formula before launching it. The Tower 28 SOS Daily Rescue Facial Spray has earned the National Eczema Association’s Seal of Acceptance™.

Buy Tower 28 Spray Here

Also available here on Amazon, Credo, and Sephora.

twenty/twenty beauty Easy On The Eyes Mist (⬆️ Highest Concentration)

Price: $42 ($21 per ounce)
Percentage of HOCl Used in Formula: 0.02%, pH value 4.57

twentytwenty beauty Hypochlorous Acid

Founded by a board-certified ophthalmologist, twenty/twenty beauty products prioritize eye health. Their face mist can be used on the whole face, but was designed to keep the eyelids free of bacteria while soothing dry eye, blepharitis, chalazions and styes.

What to Know About the Company: All twenty/twenty beauty products are ophthalmologist-developed and tested, as well as cruelty-free and vegan. Dr. Diane Hilal Campo, the founder of twenty/twenty beauty, enforces a strict “No List” to keep 60 potentially harmful substances out of all twenty/twenty beauty products.

Buy twenty/twenty Mist Here

Also available here on Amazon.

Comparison: Clean & Low Tox Hypochlorous Acid Brands

Shop the products from this post:

Bonus! Hypochlorous Acid is a Safe Alternative to Bleach

What if there was a way to keep your home clean with the same peace of mind you get from the power of bleach without resorting to toxic fumes and harmful chemicals? Psst! Reach for hypochlorous acid.

Widely used as a disinfectant during the height of COVID-19, hypochlorous acid (HOCl) is 80-200x stronger than bleach. With its ability to penetrate and disable the cell walls of pathogens, HOCl is more effective at killing bacteria and is environmentally friendly.

Force of Nature Hypochlorous Acid Cleaner

Force of Nature Disinfectant

No need to search high and low for an effective hypochlorous acid cleaner, and whatever you do, don’t go trying to make your own. Force of Nature brings a safe and satisfying science experience right into your home, transforming your cleaning routine.

Force of Nature is powered by “electrolyzed water,” sending electricity through a small, countertop-friendly machine to change salt and water into a gentle yet effective multi-purpose cleaner. Pour in the capsule of salt, water and vinegar, press the button and in no time, you have a Green Seal, Carbon Neutral and Leaping Bunny-certified cleaner at your fingertips.

Force of Nature is an EPA-registered sanitizer and disinfectant that can also be used as an all-in-one cleaner and deodorizer. No rinsing, no toxic fumes—just 99.9% of viruses, bacteria, mold and mildew gone. Force of Nature even kills Staph, MRSA, Norovirus, Influenza A, Salmonella, Pseudomonas and Listeria.

Force of Nature has earned the highest possible rating by the Mayo Clinic’s SkinSAFE allergy rating system, and it is the only disinfectant and cleaner to earn the Clean Label Project Purity Award and the National Eczema Association Seal of Acceptance™.

Buy Force of Nature Here

Also available here on Amazon.

Is hypochlorous acid too good to be true? We wondered too…

If you’re questioning the efficacy of hypochlorous acid (HOCl) or want to learn more about its safety, check out these resources to dive deeper into the science behind its myriad of uses:


Let Becca know which clean hypochlorous acid brand you love, or, if you’re new to hypochlorous acid, which brand you plan to try! Share your results with Becca or ask her a question about HOCl in the comments below.

WRITTEN BY: ANNIE CELENTANI

Annie CelentaniAnnie Celentani is a content and copywriter who loves dogs, traveling and Italian wine. She enjoys researching and making natural cleaning and skincare products and going for nature walks with her husband, Paul.

 

 

 

 

Is Hypochlorous Acid Worth The Hype? Skincare Benefits, Best Brands, & Ways to Use It

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