Mercaptoacetic acid, also known as thioglycolic acid (TGA) is a clear, combustible liquid which oxidizes in air to form disulfides and an unpleasant odor. Mercaptoacetic acid consists of thiol or mercaptan and carboxylic acid. It was first identified by David R. Goddard in the early 1930’s as a reagent for reducing the disulfide bonds in proteins such as keratin, a major component in hair, nails, etc.
The rise in sales of cosmetic products supported by rising disposable income of people, especially in BRICS nations is expected to drive the demand growth for mercaptoacetic acid market. Additionally, mercaptoacetic acid’s utility in making ‘perms’ and wigs is expected to fuel the market demand aided by an ageing and balding population. However, high toxicity and strict regulations controlling the use of chemicals in cosmetic products is expected to hinder the market growth.
Mercaptoacetic acid or thioglycolic acid is primarily used in hair care products for straightening or waving hair and as depilatory (hair removal) chemical. Mercaptoacetic acid is also used as a chemical intermediate for mercaptan chemicals such as ammonium thioglycolate, sodium thioglycolate and calcium thioglycolate. Furthermore, mercaptoacetic acid is used for preparing thioglycolic broth as a media for microbiological cultures. Rising awareness and increasing disposable income of the population is supporting the demand for hair care products and cosmetic makeup of hair. There is a rise in ageing population across the world with improving healthcare facilities, which in turn is also adding to the balding population. This has fueled the demand for ‘perms’ wigs and other hair care accessories that employ mercaptoacetic acid to shape and make the hair products. Additionally, with emergence, awareness and popularity of fashion trends people are experimenting and using more hair care products such as hair removal chemicals, hair straightening and hair waving products. Mercaptoacetic acid is widely used for body hair removal by salons, beauty parlors, hospitals (for surgery) and households among others.
In terms of geography, North America is a mature market with less demand growth as compared to other regions. It is a leading market for ‘perms’ and wigs attributed to its large ageing population. Europe is another substantial market with major demand for ‘perms’ and wigs. Mercaptoacetic acid is also widely used as a chemical intermediate in this region. Asia Pacific emerged as the dominant market for mercaptoacetic acid. Major demand is expected to be generated by the depilatory (hair removal) applications and hair styling (straightening or waving) applications in this region. China is estimated to be the largest producer of mercaptoacetic acid owing to cheap production process in the country. Additionally, the rapidly rising disposable income of the population in India, China and other South East Asian countries is expected to further fuel demand growth for hair care products, which in turn would lead to demand for mercaptoacetic acid.
The market is dominated by few global organized players with China producing the largest volume. Some of the key players in the mercaptoacetic acid market include Arkema, Bruno Bock, Merck, Diacel, Sasaki Chemical, Swan Chemical, Zibo Huihua, Jinjinle, Great Chemical, YI HUA Chemical and QingDao Int. among others.
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