Molecular Hydrogen in Water is Great for the Skin

Do you want healthy, elastic, wrinkle-free, and young looking skin? Who doesn't? Well bathing in hydrogen water not only reduces the Oxidation-Reduction Potential (ORP) of skin,  but also improves its elasticity. Moreover, treating bleached hair with hydrogen water gives an improvement in fluency and gloss.

The desire to have healthy, elastic, wrinkle-free, and young looking skin dates back to primeval times.1 One of the ways (which is still used today) to try and accomplish this is the ancient practice of bathing in springs and mineral waters.2 However, unlike most conventional practices of lotions, creams, oils, powders and other cosmetics that may not help and/or even have negative side effects,3-10 bathing in specific waters that have reductive characteristics seems to have great therapeutic application.11 One study12 tested a mineral water with reductive characteristics (most likely due to dissolved molecular hydrogen) and a prepared water containing molecular hydrogen. The results revealed that bathing in both of these waters decreased the oxidation-reduction potential (ORP) of human skin.12 This is an important observation because healthy skin has reductive characteristics,13 and the ORP of the skin increases by oxidative damage (from sun exposure) and also by aging (as measured by lipid-peroxide levels). 14 This relationship between red-ox potentials of the skin and aging has been investigated in more detail and shows that reductive waters lower the oxidation of the skin.15,16

Bathing in hydrogen water not only reduced the ORP of skin,17 but also improved its elasticity. Moreover, treating bleached hair with this water gave an improvement in fluency and gloss.17


Somewhat ironically, proponents of ionized water advocate using the oxidizing acidic water from the anode,18 as opposed to the reducing water with molecular hydrogen from the cathode. As discussed here, this acidic water is touted as being an astringent for the skin and often referred to as “beauty water”.19  The idea is that because the skin pH is slightly acidic20 then the logical choice would be to use slightly acidic water for the skin. There may be some valid research for this concept to some extent21 simply because high pH water can have negative effects on the skin.

The main problem in using this acidic water from an ionizer is that it generally contains hypochlorous acid (click here for how), which is a strong oxidizer.22 Obviously, this is not the best choice for youthful, young-looking skin.23

The problem with using the reducing (alkaline) water is that its high pH is not good for your skin.21 However, this can easily be overcome by adding a few drops of lemon juice (or other organic acids) to the alkaline water. This gives you the acidic pH and the benefits of molecular hydrogen. The lemon juice itself may also exert beneficial effects.24


  1. Datta, Hema Sharma, and Rangesh Paramesh. “Trends in aging and skin care: Ayurvedic concepts.” Journal of Ayurveda and integrative medicine 1.2 (2010): 110.
  2. Katz, Bruce, and Jason McBean. “Incorporating a medical spa into a Physician-Run Practice.” Dermatologic clinics 26.3 (2008): 307-319.
  3. Agner T (1991). “Susceptibility of atopic dermatitis patients to irritant dermatitis caused by sodium lauryl sulphate”. Acta Derm. Venereol. 71 (4): 296–300
  4. Nassif A, Chan SC, Storrs FJ, Hanifin JM (November 1994). “Abnormal skin irritancy in atopic dermatitis and in atopy without dermatitis”. Arch Dermatol 130 (11): 1402–7.
  5. Marrakchi S, Maibach HI (2006). “Sodium lauryl sulfate-induced irritation in the human face: regional and age-related differences”. Skin Pharmacol Physiol 19 (3): 177–80.
  6. CIR publication. Final Report on the Safety Assessment of Sodium Lauryl Sulfate and Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate. Journal of the American College of Toxicology. 1983 Vol. 2 (No. 7) pages 127–181.
  7. Löffler H, Effendy I (May 1999). “Skin susceptibility of atopic individuals”. Contact Derm. 40 (5): 239–42.
  8. Nagel JE, Fuscaldo JT, Fireman P (April 1977). “Paraben allergy”. JAMA 237 (15): 1594–5.
  9. Byford JR, Shaw LE, Drew MG, Pope GS, Sauer MJ, Darbre PD (January 2002). “Oestrogenic activity of parabens in MCF7 human breast cancer cells”. J. Steroid Biochem. Mol. Biol. 80 (1): 49–60.
  10. Frosch PJ, Pilz B, Andersen KE, et al. (November 1995). “Patch testing with fragrances: results of a multi-center study of the European Environmental and Contact Dermatitis Research Group with 48 frequently used constituents of perfumes”. Contact Derm. 33 (5): 333–42.
  11. KATO, S., SAITOH, Y., IWAI, K. & MIWA, N. (2012). Hydrogen-rich electrolyzed warm water represses wrinkle formation against UVA ray together with type-I collagen production and oxidative-stress diminishment in fibroblasts and cell-injury prevention in keratinocytes. J Photochem Photobiol B 106, 24-33.
  12. Shiochi Okouchi, et al. Electrolyzed-Reduced Water as Artificial Hot Spring Water. Journal of the Balneological Society of Japan. V 53, No. 1, p. 1-9 2003)
  13. S. Okouchi, et al. Water Desirable for the Human Body in Terms of Oxidation-Reduction Potential (ORP) to pH Relationship. Journal of Food Science. V. 67. Iss. 5, p. 1594-1598. 2002
  14. H. Meffert, et al. Stable lipid peroixidation products in human skin: detection, ultraviolet light-induced increase, pathogenic importance. Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences. V 32, No. 11, p. 1397-1398
  15. OKOUCHI SHOICHI, et al. Relationships between ORP (Redox Potentials) and pH in Hot and Cold Spring Waters and in Human Skins. Journal of the Balneological Society of Japan. V 49. No. 2, p. 59-64. 1999
  16. OKOUCHI, SHOICHI, et al. “; Relationship between ORP (Oxidation Reduction Potential) and pH in Spring Waters of Carbon Dioxide Type.” Journal of the Balneological Society of Japan 50.2 (2000): 94-101.
  17. Shochi Ocouchi, Hideyuki Ohnami, et al. Effect of Electrolyzed-Reduced Water as Artificial Hot Spring Water on Human Skin and Hair. Journal of the Balneological Society of Japan. V 55. No. 2, p. 55-63. 2005
  18. Bulletin of the Monitoring and Guidance Dept. of the Ministry of Health and Welfare, Pharmaceutical Monitoring Vol. 57, issued on October 19, 1992
  20. Ehlers, C., et al. “Females have lower skin surface pH than men.” Skin Research and Technology 7.2 (2001): 90-94.
  21. Gfatter, R., P. Hackl, and F. Braun. “Effects of soap and detergents on skin surface pH, stratum corneum hydration and fat content in infants.” Dermatology 195.3 (1997): 258-262.
  22. Harris, Daniel C. Quantitative chemical analysis. Macmillan, 2010.
  23. Hattersley, Joseph G. “The negative health effects of chlorine.” Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine 15.2 (2000): 89-95.
  24. Calabrese, V., et al. “Oxidative stress and antioxidants at skin biosurface: a novel antioxidant from lemon oil capable of inhibiting oxidative damage to the skin.” Drugs under experimental and clinical research 25.6 (1998): 281-287.



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