Hypochlorous Acid Sprays Are the Latest Buzzy Acne Treatment

Hypochlorous Acid Sprays Are the Latest Buzzy Acne Treatment

Hypochlorous Acid Sprays Are the Latest Buzzy Acne Treatment

Products How To Use It The Final Takeaway

If you’re always hunting for the latest acne treatment, you’ve likely heard about hypochlorous acid sprays. The trendy new ingredient isn’t actually that new—it’s been popping up in skincare products for years—but it has recently gained major traction on #SkinTok. 

We understand being hesitant about adding a new product to your routine, especially if one of your main skincare concerns is acne. Every individual's routine is about finding a delicate balance of what works for them. So we asked dermatologists Azadeh Shirazi, MD, and Marisa Garshick, MD, to break down what hypochlorous acid is, what it does, and if it works. Read on to find out if it's right for you.

What Is Hypochlorous Acid?

"Hypochlorous acid is a substance that our bodies naturally produce within our white blood cells," explains Shirazi. It is a type of acid our body produces that "has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties," adds Garshick. Its antibacterial properties are why it has become popular in the skincare community.

Benefits of Hypochlorous Acid

Hypochlorous acid has a variety of benefits and can address anything from acne to healing wounds. Here's a breakdown of the benefits of incorporating hypochlorous acid into your routine:

  • Calms redness and inflammation: “Because it helps to repair the skin, it can be used… to calm redness and inflammation,” explains Garshick. It could be worth working it into your routine If you’re looking to even your skin tone and promote overall skin health.
  • Addresses acne breakouts: Yes, hypochlorous acid does treat breakouts, just as TikTok has claimed. The antibacterial properties make it “helpful for those dealing with breakouts, and the spray formulation makes it a great option for post-workout,” Garshick points out. 
  • Wound healing: One of the more unexpected benefits, you can consider using this ingredient on any skin abrasions, cuts, and scratches. “Hypochlorous acid is a potent microorganism killer as its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties make it a great option for wounds and compromised skin,” explains Shirazi. 
  • Reduces skin sensitivity: Garshick says that since the ingredient ultimately works to repair the skin as a whole, it can address skin sensitivity. Consider incorporating a product with hypochlorous acid into your routine if you’re looking to decrease your skin’s sensitivity.

Hypochlorous Acid vs. Other Acne-Fighting Ingredients

Compared to common acne-fighting ingredients such as salicylic or glycolic acids, hypochlorous acid “disinfects your skin to reduce inflammation and speed up the natural healing process, as bacterial colonization impedes healing,” explains Shirazi.  Hypochlorous acid is “not an exfoliant like glycolic or salicylic acid, and it’s more gentle than other antibacterial ingredients like benzoyl peroxide,” she says. “It’s also safe for use around the eyes.”

While hypochlorous acid is known for its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties which can be beneficial in fighting acne, “generally those dealing with breakouts can still benefit from the use of other acne-fighting ingredients such as retinoids, salicylic acid, and benzoyl peroxide,” adds Garshick. “Acne is related to oil production, [so] the use of retinoids and salicylic acid to help address clogged pores can be important.” Still, hypochlorous acid is a great option for “someone who has sensitive skin and may be experiencing irritation from other acne treatments,” she notes.

Potential Side Effects of Hypochlorous Acid

"Because it is gentle on the skin and non-irritating, [hypochlorous acid] is generally safe for routine use without causing side effects," explains Garshick. Shirazi agrees, with one caveat: "High concentrations (500 ppm) of hypochlorous acid can cause skin irritation, presenting as a red itchy rash."

The low risk of side effects makes it ideal for those with sensitive skin or who are more hesitant to try new products.

Products Formulated With Hypochlorous Acid

The many products on the market today that contain hypochlorous acid include facial sprays, creams, serums, and cleansers. Among these are “Tower 28 Beauty’s SOS Daily Rescue ($28), Prequel’s Universal Skin Solution Dermal Spray ($17), and the Loma Lux Eczemol Spray ($28),” notes Garshick. “A great facial cleanser spray formulated with hypochlorous acid is SkinSmart’s Facial Cleanser for Acne ($18),” adds Shirazi.

How To Use It

“Hypochlorous acid can be used one to two times per day, often after cleansing or throughout the day as needed,” says Garshick. In terms of where you should be working it into your skincare routine, Shirazi recommends applying it after cleanser but before your moisturizer, similar to a toner. “It’s also great after workouts if you can’t wash your face right away,” she adds.

The Final Takeaway

Hypochlorous acid is ideal for someone with sensitive skin who is managing acne but experiences irritation from stronger acne-fighting ingredients. It's also worth incorporating into your routine if you're active and like a little refresher after your workout to keep your skin healthy and clean. While it isn't recommended as a replacement for salicylic or glycolic acid acne treatments, it can be a beneficial addition to your routine.

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