If you struggle with redness and irritation, you know just how impossible it can feel to keep your skin calm, cool, and collected. As someone who has rosacea, I know better than anyone how one misstep—whether that's testing a new product that's a little too strong for my skin's liking or having the audacity to go out in hot or cold weather—can cause a flare-up. It's frustrating, to say the least.
I can complain all I want, but the truth is that I've gotten it pretty much under control, thanks to soothing skincare products and (in a pinch) redness-reducing makeup products. Many of those aforementioned soothing skincare products contain a certain ingredient that's known for instantly calming the skin. It's so effective, that its popularity is only expected to rise as more beauty brands formulate it in new formulas.
It's called hypochlorous acid, and it's in an ingredient that, up until now, has been fairly under the radar. Plus, learn why dermatologists and cosmetic chemists swear by it for all skin types (especially sensitive ones).
What Is Hypochlorous Acid?
According to Ron Robinson, cosmetic chemist and founder of BeautyStat.com, the recent popularity of hypochlorous acid can be traced back to the pandemic. "Hypochlorous acid grew in awareness and popularity during the pandemic given that it’s used in household cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfectant products," he says. It has the ability to kill viruses and bacteria (including the COVID-19 virus).
While that might make you think it's scary or somehow not safe for use on the skin, think again. Robinson says it's used in extremely low levels in skincare products. What's more, it can benefit the skin in myriad ways.
Geeta Yadav, MD, board-certified dermatologist and founder of Facet Dermatology, agrees. "Hypochlorous acid is a substance that is an effective, gentle sanitizer," she says. "It's actually naturally produced by our own bodies—our white blood cells create it to defend us from invaders, making it a very important player in our immune systems. Because it's so gentle, it can be used by everyone, regardless of skin type." And she means it, too. It's so gentle it's even used on babies.
What Are the Benefits of Hypochlorous Acid?
Since it's essentially a sanitizing ingredient, hypochlorous acid can offer a multitude of benefits to the skin. "It fights acne-causing bacteria and helps keep skin clean, as well as soothing inflammation and supporting skin recovery," Yadav says. "It’s great for everything from breakouts to bug bites and everything in between."
Robinson says that hypochlorous acid is a good ingredient to use to "fight acne, eczema, and psoriasis," and "may reduce inflammation and help skin heal." That's why it's considered safe and beneficial for all skin types, though especially red, irritated skin (like that of yours truly).
Are There Any Downsides or Drawbacks to Hypochlorous Acid?
Here's the best part about this ingredient. Both Yadav and Robinson say there are virtually no downsides or drawbacks to using hypochlorous acid in skincare products. It can also be used every day, which means you can use hypochlorous acid skincare products with abandon. As Yadav puts it, "it’s hard to get much more natural and safe than hypochlorous acid."
What Are the Best Products to Shop?
Yadav recommends this face mist, which contains hypochlorous acid and was developed by a board-certified ophthalmologist. "It can actually be sprayed over open eyes and anecdotally, I know it's been a game changer for people who suffer frequently from styes," she says. "The use is also wonderful for cleansing eyelash extensions, which can be a challenge to keep clean, as well as cleansing and refreshing skin without the need for washing one's face."
Shop 5 Other Soothing Skincare Products