You might be familiar with salicylic acid for acne, glycolic acid for exfoliation, and hyaluronic acid for hydration, but what about the buzzy ingredient, hypochlorous acid? While the ingredient isn’t exactly new, it’s gained traction during the pandemic, thanks to its disinfecting properties.
Can hypochlorous acid be used as part of a skin care regime?
Can a biocide that is being used to kill COVID-19 in healthcare facilities really be gentle enough to use on your face? It may sound hard to believe but this wonder biocide is revolutionising both the cosmetic and medical aesthetic markets.
Firstly, what is hypochlorous acid?
Hypochlorous acid is produced by the human immune system to fight infection but is produced commercially by the electrolysis of salt and water to produce what is classed as a biocide. It’s power and application potential is astonishing;
- It is over 100 times more powerful than bleach yet is as gentle as water on the skin
- It kills 99.99% of bacteria and 99.9% of viruses
- It has been proven to kill coronaviruses
- It works in seconds, unlike many other biocides that can take up to 10 minutes to be effective
- It is pH neutral so is non-sensitising and non-irritating to skin.
Due to it being better and faster than competitive disinfectant and by also being pH neutral, its popularity has grown exponentially for surface disinfection in facilities and healthcare environments and also for hand hygiene as an alcohol-free more caring option to alcohol gels.
How can it be used on skin?
Whilst hypochlorous is used as a surface disinfectant it also has a multitude of other applications including pet care, food safety and skin care.
Hypochlorous acid is used as a hand sanitiser as a less damaging alternative to alcohol and is also taking the medical aesthetic industry by storm. Whilst being incredibly powerful (killing 99.99% of bacteria) it is incredibly mild on your skin, a by-product of being naturally produced by our immune system, and can therefore be used on the face and body to kill bacteria, viruses and spores quickly to cleanse, hydrate and support the healing process.
What about hypochlorous acid for acne and eczema?
Whilst hypochlorous acid kills germs on skin quickly and effectively and is used for a wide range of skin concerns in other markets, to be able to market your products in the UK for use on specific issues such as acne, psoriasis or eczema they need a medical device authorisation.
A word of caution – beware of the unregulated brands
There are an increasing amount of unregulated hypochlorous brands that flout biocide rules by selling completely unauthorised liquid or by making illegal claims, such as helping to heal acne (as mentioned above any claims of treating acne requires authorisation as a medical device).
Any biocide sold in the UK must be sourced from a manufacturer on Article 95 (the list of approved biocide manufacturers) but many of those that we test on weekly basis are not sourced from authorised hypochlorous acid suppliers and often what is in the bottle is not hypochlorous acid at all but more often bleach that is being marketed as hypochlorous acid (and no one wants to put bleach on their faces). Biocide brands in the UK stating that they are for use on the skin also need to be approved by the HSE but many that we come across are not.
How to pick the right hypochlorous acid product?
Some top tips to ensuring that you are getting the best hypochlorous for your brand:
- Only use hypochlorous acid that is manufactured by a company listed on Article 95
- Ensure that the brand is authorised by HSE
- Be wary of brands that say they treat any specific skin condition
- Speak to Aqualution who can advise on the best products for your needs.