According to the Market Statsville Group (MSG), the global Glycolic Acid Market size is expected to grow from USD 307.6 million in 2021 to USD 533.2 million by 2030, at a CAGR of 6.3% from 2022 to 2030. Glycolic acid (C2H4O3) is an AHA derived from grapes, sugar beets, and pineapple plants. It has no color or odor, is soluble in water, is non-volatile, and is less flammable. It is commonly used as an exfoliant in skincare products such as cleansers, moisturizers, serums, and face masks to combat acne, fade hyperpigmentation, remove dead skin cells, and improve the penetration of other ingredients. They are further used in the tanning of leather, dyeing of fabrics, printing, and textile and metal processing. In addition, it is used as an etching agent in oil well operations and as a primary ingredient in household cleaning products.
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Glycolic acid is used to treat over-the-counter psoriasis, melasma, scarring, skin discoloration, fine lines, wrinkles, and seborrheic keratosis (OTC) products such as lotions, sunscreens, and creams. Inflating income levels, the growing influence of social media, and a growing emphasis on physical appearances drive up global demand for personal care products, thereby boosting the market’s growth. Aside from that, glycolic acid is used in the food and beverage (F&B) industry as a preservative, flavoring agent, and packaging adhesive.
As environmental concerns grow, it is also gaining traction in producing cost-effective and biodegradable cleaning products for industrial and household applications. Furthermore, the leading players invest in R&D activities to improve product efficacy and effectiveness. This is expected to broaden the use of glycolic acid in manufacturing biomedical devices such as staples, sutures, implants, and meshes.
The product’s increasing use in various applications, including personal care and household, is expected to drive demand. The product is widely used in the production of cleaning agent formulations and skin care creams, which promotes its growth. The product’s use in cosmeceutical preparations such as skin creams, lotions for treating blackheads, acne face lines, and oiliness is expected to drive personal care application. Furthermore, demand for glycolic acid-based skin peels for face cleansing is expected to increase during the forecast period.
The increasing use of the product in shampoo formulations for dandruff treatment and hair conditioning is augmenting the demand over the forecast period. However, the availability of its alternative products, such as salicylic acid, combined with stringent regulations imposed by regulatory bodies, for instance, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) limiting the concentration of glycolic acid in personal care products, is expected to limit growth.
COVID–19 Impact on the Global Glycolic Acid Market
Hydroxyacetic acid is used in the manufacture of a variety of skincare products. Because coronavirus attacks the circulatory tract, the high risks associated with cosmetic products, if inhaled, may limit their use during the COVID pandemic. However, due to the imposition of a lockdown, the pandemic has resulted in a decline in the cosmetics market. Due to a labor shortage, cosmetic manufacturers have shut down production units and mandated social distancing. Furthermore, in the aftermath of the COVID 19 outbreak, cosmetic manufacturers are expanding their portfolio of personal care industrial products. For instance, in August 2020, Beiersdorf, a German-based cosmetic company, plans to strengthen and expand its regional presence through its skincare brands La Prairie, Nivea, and Maestro. These factors have affected this market negatively, limiting its growth.
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Global Glycolic Acid Market Dynamics
Drivers: Glycolic acid is in high demand in the cosmetics industry
The market will advance due to the rising demand for glycolic acid in the cosmetic and personal care sectors, particularly as a favored ingredient in anti-aging, anti-pollution, and over-the-counter skin care products. Its small molecular structure gives it the unmatched ability to swiftly and efficiently penetrate the skin, washing and exfoliating the dead skin layers to help in the battle against numerous harmful impacts of pollution and other anti-aging difficulties. When glycolic acid is used in anti-aging, and anti-pollution skincare creams, facial cleansers, gels, scrubs, acne outbreaks, hyperpigmentation, fine lines, scars, and other age-related skin blemishes or spots are diminished.
Aside from these factors, the rising demand for glycolic acid-based over-the-counter skin care products (creams, toners, and masks) and the expanding market for keratolytic agents as dermatological conditions worsen are expected to drive the glycolic acid market. Because of its ability to soften keratin, the key structural component of the skin, glycolic acid is generally used as a keratolytic agent in treating skin conditions. The growing demand for natural personal and cosmetic products is the primary driver of the market’s growth.
Restraints: Cosmetics containing glycolic acid cause skin problems
The formulation of numerous cosmetics and personal care products frequently includes the chemical ingredient glycolic acid, a water-based alpha hydroxy acid. Glycolic acid is a widely used ingredient in skincare and haircare products due to its organic nature and high exfoliation properties. However, skin damage can significantly disadvantage or restraining market growth. In the correct proportion, glycolic acid is recommended to be used with a layer of sunscreen cream; failure to do so can result in severe skin damage and other problems.
Regardless of concentration, the most common side effects of glycolic acid use are stinging and burning the skin. Furthermore, depending on the concentration of glycolic acid used in the product, users may experience temporary and/or long-term redness, crusting, scabbing, dryness, flaking, and peeling of the skin. Aside from these, one of the rare but serious side effects of its use is skin color change. In this case, the skin may temporarily appear lighter or darker. These problems can occur if the glycolic acid concentration is too high or if it remains on the skin for too long.
Because glycolic acid can exfoliate the topmost layers of dead skin and penetrate deep into the skin layer, its precise concentration is critical. It is typically found in concentrations ranging from 5% to 30%; higher concentrations make the solution more potent. As a result, when using the glycolic acid solution as an ingredient in cosmetic products, the manufacturer must pay attention to the solution’s concentration.
Opportunities: Glycolic acid consumption will rise as demand for biodegradable polymers rises
Biodegradable polymers can be utilized to temporarily support the body and have the capacity to break down quickly. Polyglycolic acid, created by ring polymerizing glycolide, a diester of glycolic acid, is the most widely used biodegradable polymer in the medical sector. Its excellent degradation behavior and low toxicity make it an ideal biodegradable polymer for biomedical devices and tissue engineering applications. The anticipated high demand for biodegradable polyglycolic acid-based polymers, particularly in resorbable sutures, surgical fixation devices, and drug delivery devices, will provide significant opportunities for glycolic acid manufacturers.
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The Chemours Company, a market leader in glycolic acid, has already responded to market demand for biodegradable polymers by introducing Glypure, a new glycolic acid. Because of their increasing use in surgical procedures involving the nervous, respiratory, and cardiovascular systems, resorbable polymer sutures are expected to be in high demand.
Scope of the Global Glycolic Acid Market
The study categorizes the glycolic acid market based on grade and application at the regional and global levels.
By Grade Outlook (Sales, USD Million, 2017–2030)
- Cosmetic Grade
- Technical Grade
By Application Outlook (Sales, USD Million, 2017–2030)
- Personal Care & Dermatology
By Region Outlook (Sales, USD Million, 2017–2030)
- North America
- The Netherlands
- Czech Republic
- Rest of Europe
- Asia Pacific
- South Korea
- Australia & New Zealand
- Rest of Asia Pacific
- South America
- Rest of South America
- The Middle East & Africa
- Saudi Arabia
- South Africa
- Northern Africa
- Rest of MEA
Personal care & dermatology segment is projected to account for the largest market share, by application
Based on application, the market is divided into personal care & dermatology, industrial, household, and others. The personal care & dermatology application segment will dominate in 2021 due to its excellent exfoliation and hydration properties. It is used in various personal care and dermatology applications. Its small molecules allow the solution to deeply penetrate the skin and treat it from within, making it ideal for acne treatment, hyperpigmentation, anti-aging, and anti-pollution creams.
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The Asia Pacific is expected to account for the highest CAGR during the forecast period
Based on the regions, the global glycolic acid market has been segmented across North America, Asia-Pacific, Europe, South America, and the Middle East & Africa. During the forecast period, Asia Pacific is expected to grow at the fastest CAGR. The glycolic acid market will be driven by rising per capita cosmetic spending and high demand for effective and innovative skincare and haircare products. The growing elderly population in China, Japan, South Korea, and other countries will positively impact the market for glycolic acid in anti-aging products.
Key Market Players in the Global Glycolic Acid Market
The global glycolic acid market is highly competitive, with key industry players adopting strategies such as product development, partnerships, acquisitions, agreements, and expansion to strengthen their market positions. Most market companies focus on expanding operations across regions, augmenting their capabilities, and building strong partner relations.
Major players in the global glycolic acid market are:
- Chemours Company
- China Petrochemical Corporation
- CABB Group GmbH
- Zhonglan Industry Co., Ltd
- Water Chemical Co., Ltd