Hypochlorous Acid: What It Does For Your Skin
Updated: Nov 8
It's a must in your toner.
First things first, you can read my full article on hypochlorous acid in skincare in my piece on The Zoe Report, which includes the virucidal properties that dermatologists are using to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
But long before I wrote the article for TZR, naturopathic doctor Nadia Musavvir, N.D., gave me the deets on hypochlorous acid, the latest skincare ingredient to obsess over. In a nutshell, the gentle acid is anti-microbial, which makes it great for preventing the proliferation of acne-causing bacteria and both pre- and post-procedure sterilization. It is also anti-inflammatory, pro-healing, and immune-modulating, which helps with immune-caused inflammatory reactions such as eczema or psoriasis. It is even rumored to help clear up scarring.
These are all excellent qualities in a toner or face mist, which can be used after cleansing, to set your make-up, or simply for a refreshing spritz throughout the day. Toner is applied after cleansing to restore the pH of your skin and to prep it for subsequent products. Although tempting, toner should not be skipped because the right one can make or break your complexion. Plus, proper skin pH helps to ensure the proper functioning of the skin barrier, which plays a critical role in protecting the dermis from environmental aggressors, as well as preventing reactive irritation and eruptions (which become more frequent with poor barrier function). (You can read my piece on toner for MindBodyGreen here.)
Cult-favorites like Biologique Recherche Lotion P50V and Proactiv's glycolic and witch hazel (but “unclean”) formula have both played prominent roles in my past regimens. The key is selecting a blend with active ingredients that suit your skin type. You can choose a toner with ceramides to promote barrier function, you can select one with brightening and exfoliating acids, blends that feature anti-inflammatory ingredients, and the list goes on...
As I've recently learned, hypochlorous acid, or HOCl, is another one of the ingredients that is fantastic for sensitive skin.
I started using Tower 28 SOS Daily Rescue Facial Spray, $28, on July 29 — our first day in the RV before our cross-country road trip. It was ideal, because I had just undergone a Clear + Brilliant laser treatment. As far as lasers go, Clear + Brilliant is relatively gentle, but it still entails resurfacing the complexion which makes sanitization and healing top priorities. Post-procedure, keeping your skin sterile is especially important because of the temporary damage wrought to the skin barrier. (Read my MindBodyGreen piece on the skin barrier here.)
The toner contains only three ingredients: hypochlorous acid, triple-filtered, electrolyzed water, and salt. Since HOCl is naturally found in your body, it's considered universally tolerable and fit for the most sensitive of skin types. The active is normally unstable when exposed to air, but Tower 28 spent eight years stabilizing the active in their triple-filtered solution.
You apply the toner by spritzing it liberally onto your face and allowing it to air dry before applying subsequent products. Waiting can be a pain, but experts agree that it is key to allowing active ingredients time to "work their magic" before moving onto the next step of your regimen. Serums and face mists are fantastic ways to get the most of the active ingredient's benefits for the skin of the face.
Lumion is another brand that makes skincare products featuring HOCl and brightening, circulation-boosting oxygen. They also offers hand sanitizer and house cleaning products in their line. I have used, and love, all of them.
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