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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

T3 Ada Gel Acne.org Aha+ (Glycolic Acid - 10%) Bioderma Sebium Serum Dr Bronner Lavender Soap Bar Glossier Solution Glytone Rejuvenating Cream 20 Kayman Beauty Coalface Soap L’anza Healing Color Care Color-Preserving Trauma Treatment Paula's Choice Skin Perfecting 8% Aha Gel Exfoliant Pixi Glow Tonic Proactiv Step 2 Toner Proactive+ Revitalizing Toner Urban Skin Rx Clear & Even Tone Clarifying Glycolic Pads Benefit Cosmetics Benetint Bioderma White Objective Sérum 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 Sidmool Vitamin C E Ferulic Ampoule SkinCeuticals Blemish + Age Solution SkinCeuticals Blemish + Age Toner The Ordinary Aha 30% + Bha 2% Peeling Solution 365 Skin Workout Essentials Multicleanse Alcina Skin Manager Aha Beauty Formulas Organic Aloe Vera Gel Bioderma White Objective Moussant Boiron Arnicare Bruise Chemist Confessions Baby Steps Acid Treatment Derma E Essentials Radiance Toner Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Framboos™ Glycolic Night Serum Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Sukari Babyfacial Estee Lauder Perfectionist Pro Instant Resurfacing Peel with 9.9% AHAs + BHA Filorga Oxygen-Peel Loção Micropeeling Reoxigenante First Aid Beauty Skin Rescue Anti-Breakout Pads With White Clay Garnier Natural Rose Water Toner Sensitive Skin Glytone Rejuvenating Lotion 20 Jaina Face A.C Acne Control Treatment Serum L'Oreal Paris Revitalift Derm Intensives 10% Pure Glycolic Acid Serum LACURA Healthy Glow La Roche-Posay Effaclar Clarifying Solution Acne Toner With Salicylic Acid