Hypochlorous Acid for Skin: Uses, Benefits, and Side Effects

We spoke to a few skin experts to get the inside scoop on hypochlorous acid and how to use it. Here’s everything you need to know.


Meet the experts:

  • Ginger King, a cosmetic chemist and product developer based in New Jersey.
  • Jessica Houston is a dual-licensed esthetician at Beautybeez in Los Angeles.
  • Jaimie DeRosa, MD, is a plastic and reconstructive surgeon based in Boston and Palm Beach.

What is hypochlorous acid?

“Hypochlorous acid is a substance that our body produces naturally in our white blood cells, it works to kill bacteria and irritants that are harmful to us,” DeRosa explains. Simply put, it’s nature’s disinfectant – used to fight inflammation and speed up the body’s natural healing processes.

In the scientific world, hypochlorous acid is reproduced by combining salt, water, vinegar and electrolysis. The result is a formula that replicates your skin’s natural ability to fight bacteria and heal. When this formula is properly concentrated and added to your favorite skin and hair care products, you can give your face and scalp a boost of healing energy whenever you need it.

In higher concentrations, hypochlorous acid can be found in common cleaners, like Clorox. It’s used to disinfect surfaces, disinfect medical equipment “and it’s even been documented to kill the coronavirus,” says King.

What are the benefits of using hypochlorous acid?

“Hypochlorous acid is a powerful killer of bacteria, viruses, and even fungi,” says DeRosa. Its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties make it an excellent treatment for a variety of skin conditions, from cystic acne to sunburn.

“It fights bacteria that cause clogged pores and acne,” says Houston. “It also speeds up the healing process of cystic acne and repairs damage.” In other words, it not only prevents future breakouts, but also helps eliminate any signs of past breakouts.

But it’s better. Hypochlorous acid fights redness and inflammation associated with skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. It calms puffy or angry skin and gently cleanses to prevent future breakouts. “It’s also great for helping to reduce itching,” says DeRosa, so you won’t be tempted to scratch your skin and spread the infection.