Ethylene glycol monostearate, more commonly known as glycol monostearate or glycol stearate, is an organic compound. It is the ester of ethylene glycol and stearic acid. It is often derived from vegetables. At times, the compound can also be of animal origin. The important properties of ethylene glycol monostearate are its insolubility in water, low acid and iodine values, and relatively high melting point. All of these essentially help the compound remain stable under normal conditions. They make it a perfect ingredient for personal care products, cosmetics, and toiletries.
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The primary purpose of using ethylene glycol monostearate is to impart a pearlized look to products. Depending on the amount used and other ingredients, it can also help turn a transparent product into a white-colored product. Overall, its properties help stabilize the surfactant systems, while also providing shape and thickness to the product. It is widely used as a pearlizing agent in various personal care products such as shampoos, liquid soaps, and bath and shower gels. It is also a preferred opacifier and secondary emulsifier used in different cosmetic products such as creams, lotions, and conditioners. Toiletries (including hand-cleaners and toothpaste) is another industry wherein ethylene glycol monostearate is used. The compound also acts as a viscosity-enhancing agent in these products. As such, the global ethylene glycol monostearate market can be segmented according to the type of its use into pearlizing agent, opacifier and as an emulsifier. It can also be segmented by its end-user industries, namely personal care, cosmetics and toiletries products.
A highly important characteristic of ethylene glycol monostearate from commercial point of view is that it is human-friendly. Given its low, acute toxicity, even repeated use does not cause problems such as skin and eye irritation, sensitization, or hyper-sensitivity. This is the reason why it is used in more than 600 products available in the market.
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Ethylene glycol monostearate is a concern only for people with skin allergies and those who have extremely sensitive skin. In these people, the compound may develop itching, redness, or mild swelling. However, the percentage of such people is negligible.
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