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Sodium Hydroxide

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

Details

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

Acne.org Aha+ (Glycolic Acid - 10%) Bioderma Sebium Serum Glossier Solution L’anza Healing Color Care Color-Preserving Trauma Treatment Paula's Choice Skin Perfecting 8% Aha Gel Exfoliant 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 Kate Somerville Liquid Exfolikate LVLY by Paola Maria Skin Toner Modern Skyn Alchemy Daily Resurfacing Exfoliant Moon Juice Beauty Shroom Exfoliating Acid Potion Peter Thomas Roth Un-Wrinkle Peel Pads RAU Aha Tonic The Ordinary Aha 30% + Bha 2% Peeling Solution Alcina Skin Manager Aha Bioderma White Objective Moussant Derma E Essentials Radiance Toner Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Framboos™ Glycolic Night Serum Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Sukari Babyfacial Garnier Natural Rose Water Toner Sensitive Skin Jaina Face A.C Acne Control Treatment Serum La Roche-Posay Micellar Water Gel 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 Skinstitut L-Lactic Cleanser Teoxane Perfect Skin Refiner Tula Pro-Glycolic 10% Ph Resurfacing Gel Urban Skin Rx Even Tone Cleansing Bar BellEvolve Lac-Luronic Serum Bleu & Marine Conductive Gel Bravura London Lactic Acid 10% Peel 30Ml COSRX Aha 7 Whitehead Power Liquid Dermaceutic Light Ceutic Dermosil Exfoliating Night Serum First Aid Beauty Skin Lab Resurfacing Liquid 10% Aha Honey Belle Eucalyptus Peppermint Loofah Soap Indeed Labs Hydraluron Serum Institut Esthederm Intensive Aha Peel Gentle Serum La Roche-Posay Toleriane Dermo-Cleanser La Roche-Posay Toleriane Dermo-Nettoyant Nip+Fab Glycolic Fix Serum Pixi Glow Tonic Sebamed Clear Face Antibacterial Cleansing Foam