Demand for glycolic acid in anti-aging products, as well as a host of other cosmetic and personal care items is helping drive global demand for this flexible and versatile compound.
The largest global market for the compound is currently the United States, according to Research and Markets most recent report, Glycolic Acid Market, but demand is also high in Europe, where Germany, the UK and France are the biggest market.
The research also point s to the fact that both Russia and Poland are expected to be the markets with the highest predicted growth, which the research company estimates will hit a CAGR of 12 percent in the period 2012 – 2018.
Demand is led by the personal care industry
Currently around 55 percent of the total demand is coming from the personal care products markets, where glycolic is increasingly used in items such as ointments, moisturizers, and face peel – a factor that gives the market researcher reason to believe that this segment will be the driving force behind growth.
For such products it has a host a of functional properties, which range from exfoliating to the ability to reduce fine line and remove scars and other skin marks such as age spots, the latter properties putting in the anti-aging category.
Glycolic acid is derived from Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA) and is a colorless, odorless, crystalline solid that is present in vegetables and a wide selection of fruits that include pineapple and unripe grapes, together with sugar beet and sugar cane.
However, commercially it is rarely used as a natural extract, being artificially synthesized using a host of chemical processes and reactions.
Hair care, skin care, and anti-aging in particular
For personal care it is used in a very wide range of products, including both hair care and skin care products, and growth in both of those categories worldwide is expected to also drive further demand for glycolic acid.
Also, a derivative of glycolic acid, polyglycolic acid does also have applications for PET packaging that may be used in the personal care field, where it is used as a barrier material to provide improved protection.
However, the study does also point out that warnings over the hazardous effects of concentrated glycolic acid could adversely affect future growth of the overall market, while the development of alternatives such as salicylic acid could also bite into market share.