In this millennium, environmental concerns are triggering legislation about eco-toxicological factors. In that context, health and safety of industrial environments during the applications, storage, usage, and disposal of chemicals are gaining huge prominence. These legislations have imposed stringent rules and changes in the chemical finishes and processing techniques. Consequently, these factors are boosting the growth of the glycolic acid market in industrial applications. The dual functionality of glycolic acid or hydroacetic acid displaying both acid and alcohol features is making it a perfect fit in multiple roles of a wide range of industrial applications. Besides, its biodegradability and compatibility with other compounds are enabling proliferated uses in the industries for metal cleaning and finishing, oil field and Petro refining, leather dyeing and tanning.

The global glycolic acid market size reached a value of $250 million in 2018. Furthermore, the glycolic acid market demand is poised to accelerate with a CAGR of 7.1% during the forecast period 2019-2025.

Textile and Leather Industries Cashing In the Biodegradable Abilities of the Glycolic Acid Market

Around the world, consumerism is leading the industrial revolution. Increased productivity and ease of processing in the industrial applications are inclined towards environmental impact. Since the non-biodegradable waste has been in the limelight for the past few years, the focus of research and development are rising to inculcate biodegradable and eco-friendly materials in the processing of end-products of industries, including food processing, leather, and textile industries. According to the International Trade Centre, finishing and dyeing agents in the textile, paper, leather or similar industries trade has significantly increased in terms of quantity with an annual growth rate of 6% during 2014-2018. This shows that there is a significant demand for the dyeing agents in textile and leather industries. Besides, glycolic acid has its eminence as a tanning and dyeing agent in the leather and textile industry and works as a significant flavoring agent in the food industry. The hygroscopic crystalline solid named hydroxyacetic acid or glycolic acid is colorless and odorless, which is highly soluble in water. Besides, it is conjugate acid of glycolate. Glycolic acid has chelation power owing to its lower molecular weight that enables it to remove all metal ions. Besides, natural chelates such as glycolic acid are biodegradable and non-toxic to the environment. Subsequently, with its effective chelation efficiency coupled with a better ability to dye, glycolic acid find proliferated benefits in the textile industry when compared to other chelating agents. Therefore, glycolic acid sales are thriving in the leather and textile industries, owing to its biodegradable quality.

The Personal Care Segment Proliferating in the Global Glycolic Acid Market

The personal care segment is dominating in the glycolic acid market, and the demand is rising with a CAGR of 8.5% over the forecast period. Being the smallest alpha hydroxy acid (AHA), glycolic acid is popular amongst personal care solutions, including skincare, haircare, and nail care. When used as a skincare ingredient, it penetrates the skin to stimulate cellular activity and imparts softer, smoother, and radiant skin. Therefore, it has strong recognition among the consumers as a holy grail used in the anti-aging products. Besides, they are gaining traction owing to its treatment specific characteristics enabled in men’s care products such as razor bump treatments and foot care creams. However, the current market demand for glycolic acid in personal care is attributed to the rising demand for the hair care and nascent nail care industry. Recent research activities have proven that glycolic acid has excellent profiling in hair care products. They are overthrowing conventional daily-use hair care products as they consist of relatively large molecules such as surfactants, oils, and polymers.

On the other hand, products involving glycolic acid contain smaller molecules making them easy to penetrate the cuticle layer of the hair shaft. This makes the glycolic acid to get attached to keratin, which results in moisturized, manageable, and healthy hair. These features enable glycolic acid to be largely used in scalp treatments, shampoos, and hair conditioners. With these advantages in the personal care segment, the glycolic acid demand is growing rapidly.

North America Experiencing Lucrative Opportunities in the Glycolic Acid Market

North America held the largest share in the global glycolic acid and accounted for 36% in the global marketplace. The population growth of middle-aged women is rising in North America, especially in the U.S. Therefore, with increasing consumer affluence, the demand for anti-acne and wrinkle-lift creams are gaining huge momentum in the U.S. Besides, R&D activities are taking various synthetic routes to remove impurities in glycolic acids such as formaldehyde, monochloroacetic acid, residual reagents, and other byproducts in the manufacturing process of lotions and gels. Approved by Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act) by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of the U.S., glycolic acid is highly preferred in the topical use as excipient drug products, hyperpigmentation disorders, and photo-damaged skin treatments as they are included in emulsion polymers to impart high solubility. With these prospects, the glycolic acid market demand is surging in North America.

Glycolic Acid Market - Patent Analysis

Glycolic acid has observed 1659 patents during 2014-2019. China files a significant share of these patents, and Japan-based chemicals and pharmaceuticals companies. Few of them include China Petrochemical Corporation, Kureha Corporation, Shandong University of Technology, and others. China and the United States are leading countries to file patents for glycolic acid closely followed by Japan.

Dominant Players in the Global Glycolic Acid Industry

ChemSolv, Parchem Fine & Specialty chemicals, Merck KGaA, The Chemours Company, DowDupont, BASF SE, Griffin International, CrossChem LP, and Phibro Animal Health Corporation are the key companies operating with a major share in the global glycolic acid market.

Few Latest Activities in the Glycolic Acid Industry

Unceasing product launches in the skincare and hair care industries, coupled with the collaborations of market players are thriving in the glycolic acid market.

· In Feb 2019, BASF SE, a German-based end-user company of glycolic acid, has merged its BASF’s Paper and Water Chemicals business with Solenis. With 49% and 51% of the stakes, BASF and Solenis are expected to increase their service, production, and sales around the world. Together, they expand the chemical offerings for end-user industries including oil and gas, paper and pulp, chemical processing, mining, and power industries.

· In Feb 2019, SkinCeuticals, a leader in advanced skincare technology, launched a new cream based on glycolic acid. This correcting night cream treats skin with a true 10% glycolic acid and gives a quantifiable glow.

· In Dec 2017, InstaNatural launched a new glycolic acid serum to meet with the rising consumer demands. The serum consists of glycolic acid, argan oil, vitamin C, and hyaluronic acid. This product launched by InstaNatural claims to support collagen production, boost cell renewal, treat anti-aging skin concerns such as fine lines and wrinkles, redness, hyperpig­mentation, acne, and, dull skin.

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