Hypochlorous acid is one of many substances that may reduce eczema symptoms and is available in many skin care products on the market.

Eczema is a common skin condition in children and adults that causes symptoms like dry, red, itchy, and irritated skin.

Treatment options for eczema include various medications, therapies, and at-home treatments to help reduce symptoms and flare-ups. Hypochlorous acid is one skin care ingredient that research suggests may be effective at reducing the itchy, uncomfortable symptoms of eczema.

Ahead, we’ll discuss what hypochlorous acid is, how it’s used as an eczema treatment, and how to find high quality hypochlorous acid products for your eczema symptoms.

Eczema is so common that it will affect roughly 10% of people over the course of their lifetime, according to the National Eczema Association. So, even if you’ve never heard of hypochlorous acid before, you’ve probably come across it many times without even realizing it.

Our immune system cells naturally produce hypochlorous acid as part of our immune response after an injury or infection. You can also find hypochlorous acid in a wide variety of cleaning and skin care products.

As a weak acid, hypochlorous acid is extremely effective at killing bacteria, viruses, and other infectious pathogens ― roughly 80-200 times more effective than bleach, in fact. It’s also nontoxic and safe to use on the skin, even in people with eczema.

Research on the effectiveness of hypochlorous acid as an eczema treatment is fairly limited. However, several animal studies and smaller clinical trials have shown promising results.

One animal study from 2017 found that topical hypochlorous acid was able to prevent new lesions and reduce itching and inflammation in mice with dermatitis. A follow-up study showed that topical hypochlorous acid gel was as effective as tofacitinib at reducing lesions and itching.

In a human study from 2018, researchers explored the effectiveness of topical hypochlorous acid in a small group of participants with atopic dermatitis. According to the study results, hypochlorous acid reduced itching in over 73% of participants in the treatment group.

One of the reasons why hypochlorous acid may be effective at reducing eczema symptoms is because it’s extremely effective against a type of bacteria called Staphylococcus aureus.

You can find S. aureus in many places on the human body, but people with eczema appear to have higher levels of these bacteria on their skin. During flare-ups, these bacteria can trigger an immune system response and make the symptoms of eczema worse.

Since there aren’t many studies on the use of topical hypochlorous acid, there isn’t much research on the side effects of this treatment for eczema.

As with any skin care product, everyone’s skin reacts differently, so some people may notice side effects like skin irritation, especially at higher concentrations. However, the general consensus is that hypochlorous acid is a safe, gentle, and effective skin care ingredient.

What can hypochlorous acid not be used with?

Companies formulate skin care products with specific ingredients that are designed to work together to produce results. For example, one of our top eczema lotion picks ― CeraVe Therapeutic Hand Cream ― contains hyaluronic acid for hydration and niacinamide for healing.

But when it comes to skin care products containing hypochlorous acid, it’s always best to be cautious and apply your products separately. By applying your products one at a time, you can avoid any reactions that might otherwise irritate your skin.

Buying new skin care products when you have eczema can be daunting, so here are a few tips to keep in mind as you browse through your options:

  • Stick to products for sensitive skin: People with eczema have skin that needs a little extra care, but luckily, there are plenty of products that are eczema-safe. Keep an eye out for phrases like “made for sensitive skin” or “gentle on skin.”
  • Avoid harsh ingredients and chemicals: One of the most common triggers for eczema flare-ups is harsh chemicals in body care and skin care products. Try to steer clear of products with ingredients like dyes, fragrances, and preservatives.
  • Find products that support your skin: Most skin care products with hypochlorous acid also contain other beneficial skin care ingredients. Look for formulations with ingredients that can help moisturize, hydrate, and heal your skin.

Whenever you start a new skin care product, it’s a good idea to do a test patch on your wrist or elbow to check for any possible reactions.

Learn more about how to perform a patch test when you have eczema.

Hypochlorous acid is one of nature’s strongest pathogen-fighting substances, and it’s one that our own cells produce naturally.

While some research suggests that hypochlorous acid may reduce the lesions and itching associated with eczema, we still need more research to understand the full benefits of this ingredient.

If you’ve been exploring eczema treatments and have thought of giving hypochlorous acid a try, consider reaching out to your doctor or dermatologist first. Together, you can find a safe and effective regimen to help manage your symptoms and reduce your risk of flare-ups.