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 Aha+ (Glycolic Acid - 10%) Bioderma Sebium Serum Glossier Solution Paula's Choice Skin Perfecting 8% Aha Gel Exfoliant Benefit Cosmetics Benetint Cordes Bpo 5% Gel FÜNFSINNE Multi Tonic 6% Aha Gesichtswasser Und Peeling LVLY by Paola Maria Skin Toner Modern Skyn Alchemy Daily Resurfacing Exfoliant RAU Aha Tonic The Ordinary Aha 30% + Bha 2% Peeling Solution Alcina Skin Manager Aha 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 Neutrogena Liquid Neutrogena - The Transparent Facial Cleanser Nip+Fab Glycolic Fix Liquid Glow 6% Cleansing Lotion Tula Pro-Glycolic 10% Ph Resurfacing Gel COSRX Aha 7 Whitehead Power Liquid Dermosil Exfoliating Night Serum First Aid Beauty Skin Lab Resurfacing Liquid 10% Aha 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 Sebamed Clear Face Antibacterial Cleansing Foam Superdrug Natural Radiant 5% Glycolic Toner The Ordinary Lactic Acid 10% + Ha Acure Incredibly Clear Cleansing Stick Caudalie Vinoperfect Concentrated Brightening Essence CeraVe Healing Ointment CeraVe Makeup Removing Cleansing Cloths Clean And Clear Persa-Gel 5 Differin Daily Deep Facial Cleanser Dr. Levy Switzerland 3 Deep Cell Renewal Micro-Resurfacing Cleanser Erno Laszlo Pore Refining Detox Double Cleanse Garnier Anti-Dark Spot Renovator Night Garnier Natural Rose Water Cleansing Milk Sensitive Skin Glytone Rejuvenating Lotion 20 Jack Black Line Smoother 8% Glycolic Acid Treatment OZNaturals Glycolic 30% Medium Strength Micro Peel Paula's Choice Skin Perfecting 2% Bha Liquid Exfoliant Peter Thomas Roth 8% Glycolic Solutions Toner SVR Sebiaclear Active Soleil Toujours Organic Aloe Antioxidant Calming Mist Treatment (2.5% Benzoyl Peroxide) Bioderma Abcderm H2O Water Biodegradable Wipes