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Home >  Developments in Speciality Chemicals for Personal Care (Technical Insights)

Developments in Speciality Chemicals for Personal Care (Technical Insights)


Novel Nanotechnology Inventions Stimulate the Growth of Specialty Chemicals in Personal Care

The growth of specialty chemicals in personal care products is largely influenced by the nanotechnology boom and increased environmental awareness of the population. The primary challenges opposing the full-fledged growth of these chemicals include exhaustive regulations that have to be adhered to before the chemicals can be utilized and the increasing health concerns of the personal care market over the safety of these specialty chemicals. Major industry participants have adopted a raft of strategies such as mergers and collaborative programs as well as significant investments in R&D activities to keep pace with the ever-changing demands from the personal care consumer market. “Heightened media attention to global warming, product recalls, and the rising cost of energy have had an deep impact on consumer awareness about health, safety, and energy conservation,” the analyst of this research. “This is influencing consumer purchasing behavior, evidenced by consumers purchasing more natural and organic-based personal care products.”

Personal care specialty chemicals producers have accordingly begun to focus on producing safer and ‘greener’ ingredients. Thus, customer expectations for safer specialty chemicals in personal care products have emerged as a major driver in the market expansion. Regulatory bodies and governments are supporting the adoption of green production processes globally, in order to encourage the use of environmental-friendly methods and techniques to produce the ingredients for personal care products. Therefore, more chemical giants are now focusing their R&D activities on safer and greener specialty chemicals. Specialty chemicals manufacturers have brought in changes in terms of product ingredient specifications to include a higher proportion of naturally derived raw materials. Another distinct improvement in the chemical production process is the adoption of energy-conservation practices, safer solvents, and less wasteful byproducts. The use of nanotechnology greatly contributes to the advantages of creating safer and more nature-friendly ingredients in personal care products.

Specialty Chemicals Manufacturers Go Green

A limiting factor for the growth of specialty chemicals in personal care is consumer concerns about the impact of such ingredients on health. A history of banned products in the industry, such as diethanol amines (DEA) and, more recently, alkyl phenol ethoxylate (APE), has done little to help chemicals gain favor with consumers. These products were banned due to concerns over possible carcinogenic effects. Currently, more ingredients such as triethanolamine (TEA) and mono ethanolamine (MEA) that are used in sunscreen creams, mascara, cleansers, and foundations have been suspected of being carcinogenic as well.

Health concerns are motivating specialty chemicals manufacturers to switch to a greener approach both in the manufacturing process and in the substances used (such as plant and animal extracts), in the hope that consumers will be reassured that safer substances are being used to make personal care products. In an extremely challenging market, this approach is likely to appease consumers, subsequently expanding the use of specialty chemicals in personal care products. “The growth of more health-conscious specialty chemical ingredients would depend on advances in biotechnology through nanotechnology-based improvements in this segment,” concludes the analyst. “Ultimately, it would fall on manufacturers to boost investments in R&D for this purpose.”

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