Stearyl alcohol is an organic compound derived from fatty acids and is used as moisturizer in personal care products and cosmetic products. It is classified as fatty alcohol and has a melting point of 60 °C and boiling point of 210 °C. Stearyl alcohol takes the form of white granules or flakes and is insoluble in water.
They are found naturally in various mammalian tissues and are used in the biosynthesis of lipids and enter metabolic pathways for energy production. It is prepared from stearic acid which is found in coconut oil by the process of catalytic hydrogenation. Stearyl alcohol is also known as Octadecyl alcohol and Octadecan-1-ol among others.
Stearyl alcohols have applications in cosmetics, foundations, eye makeup, skin cleansers, resins, perfumes and industrial lubricants among others. It is an emulsifier and is commonly added to different cosmetic products to improve the texture of the product. Stearyl alcohol is used as thickener in ointments and as hair coating in shampoos and hair conditioners.
It is used as thickener in cosmetics as opposed to other thickeners in the market because of ease of use and its fatty nature. When stearyl alcohols are used in right proportion, they give creamy textures to different range of products. They are used in skin creams because they are very moisturizing to skin and impart a smooth and soft feeling to the skin. Stearyl alcohol can also be used as liquid solar blankets in swimming pools to slow the evaporation rate of pool water.
There are several factors that affect the growth of stearyl alcohol industry. Firstly, the escalating demand for beauty and personal care products due to a growing global population and rising income levels will be one of the main driving factors for the stearyl alcohol industry.
Secondly, the global demand for industrial grade lubricants is also rising due to increase in vehicle ownership and industrialization especially in emerging economies which will drive the stearyl alcohol industry. In addition, demand for environmental friendly and organic products is rising which is expected to further fuel the market. However, volatile raw material prices of vegetables and oils could hamper the growth of stearyl alcohol industry.
Price pressure and intense competition make it difficult for manufacturers to maintain profit margins in this market.
Currently Europe is one of the largest markets for stearyl alcohol. The consumption of stearyl alcohol is growing rapidly in emerging economies such as China and India due to demand for skin care products and skin moisturizers. A huge population, rise in disposable incomes, rapid urbanization and strong economic growth has created demand for personal care products in emerging economies.
Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Japan and the Philippines are some of the other important markets in Asia. Indonesia and Malaysia are the leading producers of palm oil and have raw material advantage. Other smaller markets such as Latin America and Middle East regions are expected to experience moderate to high growth rates. Turkey will be also one of the key markets in the Middle East region.
Some of the key players in stearyl alcohol market are Oleon, Palm Oleo, Pan Century, Natural Oleochemicals, Musim Mas, Kao, Godrej, Flora Sawita, Cognis, Cisadane Raya, China Resources, Arizona Chemical, Akzo Nobel, Acidchem International, VVF, Uniqema, Sumi Asih, Sinar Oleochemicals, Sichuan Lutianhua, Procter and Gamble, and Twin River Technologies among others.