Hypochlorous acid (HOCl) is the active ingredient in all BluLyte Wound Care products. While something containing the word “acid” sounds like it shouldn’t come anywhere near your skin, it is actually one of the gentlest and safest wound care solutions for cleaning and treating wounds.
In this article we look specifically at the dangers of biofilms, how they develop, their antimicrobial action, and how HOCl is effective at breaking them down.
What is the natural origin of HOCl?
Innovative BluLyte technology allows us to replicate HOCl in a sterile setting, but did you know that HOCl is also created in your body? The white blood cells of your immune system create this weak acid to defend your cells against infection from bacteria, fungi, moulds, and viruses.
HOCl works by degrading the cell walls of potential pathogens before destroying the foreign bodies.
HOCl and biofilms
It is estimated that around 78% of chronic wounds are affected by biofilms. Biofilms should be factored into wound healing time due to the fact that they significantly slow down wound healing.
Fortunately, HOCl is highly effective at breaking down bacterial biofilms. What is a biofilm, you ask? It is a collection of one or more types of bacteria or other microorganisms like protists and fungi that grow on various types of surfaces. Biofilms are able to grow on anything from metals to plants, on underwater surfaces, and even human and animal tissues. The one thing that all of these surfaces have in common is the element of moisture as biofilms thrive on wet surfaces.
The microorganisms involved in creating these biofilms are afforded various advantages such as reduced environmental stress from stressors like antibiotics, high and low pH levels, or other antimicrobials. Essentially the biofilm protects the microbes in it.
Because of their inherent makeup, biofilms can easily lead to infections and disease states, especially if they are growing on medical devices like catheters, prosthetic heart valves, or pacemakers. Since biofilms strengthen the various microorganisms in it and make the strains involved more resistant to antimicrobials and antibiotics, it makes the requirement for HOCl that much more important.
Disrupting a biofilm
For a biofilm to be disrupted, the antimicrobial agent must be able to kill the microbes while decreasing the structures that form the extracellular matrix of the biofilm.
Tests have shown the ability of hypochlorous acid to quickly destroy resistant pathogens, even those like methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. HOCl reduced the S. aureus bacterial load while also disrupting the structures within the biofilm. Studies have shown that HOCl may be able to assist in healing chronic wounds through reducing bacterial numbers, along with penetrating and destroying the structures that make up the biofilm, exposing the microbes and making them more vulnerable to antimicrobials.
HOCl vs NaOCl and CHX
Two common chemotherapeutic agents used to eliminate bacterial biofilm include sodium hypochlorite (NaOCl) and chlorhexidine (CHX). Multiple studies have compared the efficacy of HOCl against that of NaOCl and CHX in destroying both gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria. It was found that the HOCl efficacy was equivalent to that of both NaOCl and CHX while at a lower concentration.
It should be noted that while NaOCl has a broad-spectrum antimicrobial action, it is highly alkaline, irritating to cells, and cytotoxic, especially at the concentrations necessary to break down biofilms.
Conversely, while chlorhexidine is an effective antimicrobial and antiseptic agent, it is known to cause skin irritations, allergic reactions, and irritation of the eyes if direct contact occurs.
BluLyte Wound Care and biofilms
The BluLyte Wound Care solution works in such a way that, when sprayed on a surface with a biofilm, it covers the external structures of the biofilm. The HOCl then binds to critical cell membrane components of the bacterium and disrupts the cell permeability. Consequently, the cell membrane ruptures and the bacterial cells break down.
BluLyte Wound Care effectively eliminates pathogenic bacteria, fungi, spores, and viruses, while still being safe to use on sensitive skin and chronic wounds.