Certain acids can help improve the wound healing process.

Most people would consider acid to be harmful to the human body. However, certain acids can actually contribute to the wound healing process. Specifically, hypochlorous acid, which is a weak mix of chemicals most widely used as a regular component in household bleach and deodorant. Yet in recent years, an increasing amount of research has demonstrated that hypochlorous acid can be an especially effective tool in a person’s ongoing wound care regimen. However, before you make use of this acid to treat any of your personal wounds, it’s important you understand a few basic ideas and concepts of this potentially helpful chemical agent. 

How does hypochlorous acid work?

Chronic wounds are especially susceptible to biofilms. These organic barriers are actually composed of millions of microscopic organisms, which form over the surface of most wound types. With these biofilms in place, most wounds cannot heal properly, and it’s often these simple obstructions that result in any number of accompanying side effects, including infection and increased blood toxicity.

Traditionally, doctors heavily rely on certain antibiotics to remove these biofilms, but these medications often simply aren’t strong enough. That’s why, in recent years, hypochlorous acid has become a staple of some physicians’ toolkits, as this compound can effectively dissolve the majority of these biofilms.

However, hypochlorous acid must undergo a stabilization process before its implemented. Otherwise, the compound itself can actually do more harm than good to a person’s wound. According to a 2014 study published in the journal Wounds, unstable acid – those samples in more typical concentrations – can actually impair wound healing and cause certain cells to become toxic.

Is hypochlorous acid effective?

In a word, absolutely. As mentioned above, several studies have pinpointed just how effective hypochlorous acid can be when dealing with chronic, unhealed wounds.

In 2007, a group of researchers examined the overall effectiveness of hypochlorous acid. Perhaps chief among that team’s findings were the distinct kill times for various strains of bacteria, specifically Staphylococcus aureus, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Escherichia coli. For all three strains, the average kill time was between five and 15 minutes – in some cases, the acid culled some samples in a minute or less. The team also examined the acid’s relative therapeutic index. When it came to the bacterium E. coli, hypochlorous acid was 98 times more effective than hydrogen peroxide. Meanwhile, that therapeutic rate jumped 1,000-fold when the acid was used on a strain of Staphylococcus aureus.

In the aforementioned 2014 study from Wounds, the research team noted that hypochlorous acid had a number of profoundly important results. In the most basic sense, the acid was able to penetrate a number of biologically variant biofilms. Additionally, the acid also helped to increase the duration of keratinocyte cell line migration within the wound site. That migration is a vital component in the cells’ abilities to aid in the healing process. Overall, hypochlorous acid helped foster nearly eight hours of movement between keratinocyte cells; for comparison, povidone iodine resulted in just four hours of total movement.

Advanced Tissue is the nation’s leader in delivering specialized wound care supplies to patients.