Alpha hydroxy acid is a carboxylic acid substituted with a hydroxy group on the alpha carbon. It is widely used in skin and hair care products. There are different methods of producing it; of these, the most common commercial method is to synthesize alpha hydroxy acid from alpha hydroxy nitriles as the starting material and using bacteria as the catalyst. These bacteria belong to the genus Bacillus, Pseudomonas, Escherichia, etc. Alpha hydroxy acid is known to reduce skin wrinkling, repair sun damage, increase skin firmness, soften skin, and even the skin tone. Alpha hydroxy acid exfoliates the layers of skin by reducing inter-corneocyte cohesion and interfering with intercellular ionic bonding. However, exfoliation caused by alpha hydroxy acid at higher concentrations adversely impacts the barrier function of the skin. Increase in transepidermal water loss (TEWL) occurs when the skin barrier function is impaired. This deteriorates the texture of the skin.
The global alpha hydroxy acid market can be segmented into type of product, application, and region. In terms of product, the market can be divided into lactic acid, glycolic acid, citric acid, and others. Lactic acid is alpha hydroxy propionic acid, while glycolic acid is alpha hydroxy acetic acid. These are the most commonly used ones in the personal care industry. Lactic acid penetrates the skin during which the dead and dry skin is whisked. This improves the skin tone and texture, making the skin look younger by reducing wrinkles. Glycolic acid is majorly used to reduce acne, brown spots, and hyperpigmentation. It works on the surface and lowers dermal layer, thereby reducing wrinkles at their source and cleaning the acne in the sebaceous follicle. It acts on the acne pustules by uprooting them and starts healing the skin. Citric acid also improves the skin texture. Among the four product types, glycolic acid accounted for major share in 2016. In terms of application, the skin care segment constituted significant share in 2016. The personal care industry is also witnessing higher focus on organic products. This trend is expected to continue during the forecast period.
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Major companies operating in the global market for alpha hydroxyl acid include Croda International Plc, Corbion, Henan Jindan Lactic Acid Technology Co.,Ltd, Cargill, Incorporated., The Chemours Company, Zhonglan Industry Co.,Ltd., and CrossChem.