Thioglycolates are the salts of thioglycolic acid, and are used extensively in cosmetic applications. Glycolic acid is a compound with low molecular weight and dual functionality of acids and alcohols. Moreover, glycolic acid has a very small molecular weight and size, thereby enabling it to permeate through the skin tissue. The different salts of thioglycolic acid include: sodium thioglycolate, ammonium thioglycolate, potassium thioglycolate, and calcium thioglycolate. The main application of thioglycolateslies in the cosmetic products used in the removal of body hair. Apart from cosmetics industry, thioglycolates also finds application in the frozen food industry. It is also used as a stabilizer in the production of polyvinyl chloride (PVC).
A majority of thioglycolates are employed in the manufacturing of cosmetics such as hair perming, and hair removal. Ammonium thioglycolate is the main product type used in these applications. A solution comprising ammonium thioglycolate contains ample ammonia, which helps to swell the hair and thereby, render it permeable. Hair perm is by far the most important application of ammonium thioglycolate. On the other hand, calcium thioglycolate and potassium thioglycolate are used as ingredients in the manufacturing of chemical depilatories. Chemical depilatory is a cosmetic preparation used to remove unwanted hair from the human body. Apart from depilatories, it is also used in shaving creams, hair removing waxes, and facial moisturizers.The growth in demand for these cosmetic productsis likely to translate into higher demand for thioglycolates during the forecast period. Sodium and potassium thioglycolates are also used in the preparation of frozen foods in order to improve their antimicrobial properties and preserve them for a longer shelf life. Frozen bakery, for instance, is a particularly well known industry that uses thioglycolates.
In spite of the favorable outlook for thioglycolates in the global market, the market has to encounter several regulatory challenges in its path to growth. Over exposure to ammonium thioglycolate has been reported to have negative repercussions on the human body. Allergy, skin irritation, and respiratory distress are some of the factors that restrain the market. However, the chemical is not found to be carcinogenic in nature.
The thioglycolate market has ample opportunities to grow in the near future. The growing market for cosmetics as well as frozen food is expected to boost the market demand for thioglycolates. The market dynamics in the Asia Pacific region is especially attractive for the growth of the chemical.
North America accounts for the largest demand of thioglycolates globally followed by the Asia Pacific and Europe regions.However, the Asia Pacific region is expected to witness the fastest growth due to the improving socioeconomic conditions in the region. China and India are expected to lead the surge in demand in Asia Pacific. Consumption of frozen food has witnessed rapid growth in the region along with the cosmetic and beauty products for females and males. China is one of the major manufacturers as well as consumers of thioglycolates in the world.
Several established chemical companies are involved in the production of thioglycolates. Some key companies operating in this market include Alfa Aesar, Bruno Bock chemische Fabrik KG, Neostar United Industrial Co. Ltd, CellMark Chemicals, American International Chemical Inc., and ICC Chemical Corporation.