Scientifically speaking, the novel coronavirus is still so new to us, so we're constantly receiving new information and best practices for controlling the spread of it. New research on the skin-care ingredient hypochlorous acid has people wondering if products containing it, specifically face mists, can help kill COVID-19 germs. In fact, a recent discussion popped up in the Real Reviews With POPSUGAR Beauty Facebook group surrounding the topic, so we reached out to board-certified New York City-based dermatologist Joshua Zeichner, MD, FAAD, to clear up any confusion.
For anyone unfamiliar, hypochlorous acid (HOCI) is an antibacterial agent. According to a study published by the Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery at Louisiana State University, "HOCl is an endogenous substance in all mammals and is effective against a broad range of microorganisms," meaning it's naturally produced by the body's immune system.
In skin care, hypochlorous acid has a variety of benefits: "Hypochlorous acid has been shown to have anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial effects on the skin," Dr. Zeichner told POPSUGAR. "It has been used to treat a variety of skin issues including itch and even acne. While it may help kill some microorganisms on the skin, it has not been proven to kill the COVID-19 virus or prevent infection."
Although the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has listed hypochlorous acid as a potential disinfectant against COVID-19, this just means the ingredient meets the criteria for the EPA to believe it would be effective against the virus. It's also noteworthy that the EPA's list advises on potential disinfectants for surfaces, not humans.
"Your best defense is still primary protection with face coverings, as well as good hand hygiene with soap and water or the use of CDC-compliant hand sanitizers," Dr. Zeichner said. You can use a hypochlorous acid facial mist, like the Tower 28 Beauty SOS Save.Our.Skin Daily Rescue Facial Spray ($28) or the Briotech Topical Skin Spray (Pure HOCl) ($15), as an added boost of protection (after all, it can't hurt!), but you should still wear a mask, social distance, and wash your hands regularly to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.