Hypochlorous acid is our Foundational Face Mist's hero ingredient. So what is it, and why have you never heard of it before? Here, we break down everything you must know about this wonder molecule.
What is hypochlorous acid, and how is it made?
Hypochlorous acid – it’s a mouthful; we know. The good news is you can use a nickname: HOCl. So you are already in the know with minimal effort! But note: That's an L and not an I.
According to Nature Magazine, hypochlorous acid is naturally produced by our white blood cells and essential to our immune system. It is the first line of defense against pathogens and inflammation to protect against infections and other irritants inside our bodies and our largest organ – our skin. It is the ultimate superpower, potent and natural, and because our bodies recognize HOCl, it is completely harmless to apply topically.
How does it work outside the body?
HOCl can be replicated in a lab setting via electrolysis, where salt water is converted to HOCl. Special equipment is required, and it is difficult to do – only a few labs in the US manufacture HOCl commercially.
Why are we just learning about it now?
The French chemist Antonine Jerome Ballard was the first to discover how to generate HOCl in the 1800s. Medics used it on the battlefields of World War I to dress soldiers' wounds – preventing infection and speeding the healing process. At that time, HOCl was made on the spot with large machinery and remained activated and effective for just a few minutes. Only in the last 20 years or so have scientists understood how to make the formula shelf-stable, and it is still difficult to do well. Until recently, it has been used in medical settings and it's remained relatively unknown in the prestige skincare industry. As the focus has been on HOCl as predominantly a remarkable healer of wounds, its benefits for skincare have only recently come to light.
What does it do?
A well-documented antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory, hypochlorous acid is equally powerful in defending the skin against environmental stressors, soothing stressed-out skin, and repairing damaged skin. It has proven effective at combating skin issues like eczema, acne, and rosacea.
Even for healthy skin, there are so many benefits. Hypochlorous acid helps to balance the skin's pH level, bring oxygen to the skin, and improve absorption of other active ingredients, including moisture. It also aids in repairing and maintaining the skin's moisture barrier. HOCl is proven to be non-irritating and safe for all skin types, including sensitive skin.
My new superpower?
Yes, your new superpower. Well, it's not exactly new. It's been inside you all along. An HOCl formula replicates a molecule that harmonizes with the internal poetry of our bodies and aids in maintaining the natural order of things.