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Sodium Hydroxide

Also-called-like-this: lye
What-it-does: buffering


The unfancy name for it is lye. It’s a solid white stuff that’s very alkaline and used in small amounts to adjust the pH of the product and make it just right. 

For example, in case of AHA or BHA exfoliants, the right pH is super-duper important, and pH adjusters like sodium hydroxide are needed.  

BTW, lye is not something new. It was already used by ancient Egyptians to help oil and fat magically turn into something else. Can you guess what? Yes, it’s soap. It still often shows up in the ingredient list of soaps and other cleansers.

Sodium hydroxide in itself is a potent skin irritant, but once it's reacted (as it is usually in skin care products, like exfoliants) it is totally harmless.

Products with Sodium Hydroxide

T3 Ada Gel Aha+ (Glycolic Acid - 10%) Bioderma Sebium Serum Glossier Solution Kayman Beauty Coalface Soap L’anza Healing Color Care Color-Preserving Trauma Treatment Paula's Choice Skin Perfecting 8% Aha Gel Exfoliant Proactiv Step 2 Toner Proactive+ Revitalizing Toner Urban Skin Rx Clear & Even Tone Clarifying Glycolic Pads Benefit Cosmetics Benetint Cordes Bpo 5% Gel Dermaceutic Mela Cream Ethique Eco-Friendly Face Cleansing Bar, In Your Face FÜNFSINNE Multi Tonic 6% Aha Gesichtswasser Und Peeling Geek & Gorgeous Smooth Out 12% AHA + Cactus Exfoliating Liquid Kate Somerville Liquid Exfolikate LVLY by Paola Maria Skin Toner Modern Skyn Alchemy Daily Resurfacing Exfoliant Moon Juice Beauty Shroom Exfoliating Acid Potion O’Keeffe’s Working Hands Hand Cream Peter Thomas Roth Un-Wrinkle Peel Pads Pixi Skintreats Overnight Glow Serum Concentrated Exfoliating Gel RAU Aha Tonic The Ordinary Aha 30% + Bha 2% Peeling Solution Alcina Skin Manager Aha Beauty Formulas Organic Aloe Vera Gel Bioderma White Objective Moussant Boiron Arnicare Bruise Derma E Essentials Radiance Toner Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Framboos™ Glycolic Night Serum Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Sukari Babyfacial First Aid Beauty Skin Rescue Anti-Breakout Pads With White Clay Garnier Natural Rose Water Toner Sensitive Skin Jaina Face A.C Acne Control Treatment Serum LACURA Healthy Glow La Roche-Posay Effaclar Clarifying Solution Acne Toner With Salicylic Acid La Roche-Posay Micellar Water Gel Lumen Vitae Skincare Moonlight, Exfoliating Night Protocol Mira-skin Ultrasound conductive gel Neutrogena Liquid Neutrogena - The Transparent Facial Cleanser Nip+Fab Glycolic Fix Daily Cleansing Pads Nip+Fab Glycolic Fix Liquid Glow 6% Cleansing Lotion OLEHENRIKSEN Glow2Oh Dark Spot Toner Paula's Choice Resist Weekly Resurfacing Treatment 10% Aha Paula's Choice Skin Perfecting 8 % Aha Lotion SVR Sebiaclear Cicapeel Anti-Spot Anti-Marks 24H Targeted Active Gel Sidmool ACBYE Sulfur Pack Skinstitut L-Lactic Cleanser TIA'M AC Fighting AHA BHA PHA Toner