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What is Glycolic Acid? What is Glycolic Acid?

Formulation of cosmetic products

Of the 60 applicants and notifiers, 19 formulated skin or hair care products with glycolic acid in Australia or had such products formulated by local contract manufacturers. The products are generally manufactured from liquid raw materials (70% glycolic acid solution or AHA blends) which are imported in polyethylene jerry cans, pails or drums containing 1-250 kg. The quantity of raw material required to formulate a batch is pre-weighed and decanted into smaller containers. Where the raw material is partially neutralised before final mixing, water is first weighed into a vessel to which the base (usually ammonium hydroxide) is slowly added. The raw material is then slowly poured into the basic solution and the premix is stirred for 10-15 min. Solutions and gels are manufactured by adding additional water and the remaining ingredients to the premix at room temperature whilst keeping the batch under slow/medium sweep blade mixing. Lotions and creams are manufactured by heating and homogenising the oil phase and aqueous phase ingredients together at 60-95°C. The batch is then cooled to 40-65°C and the raw material or partially neutralised premix is poured manually or pumped into the batch and mixed in. After further cooling, the batch is pumped or decanted into a storage tank from which it is dispensed into bottles, tubes or jars by gravity feed or pneumatic filling. The primary containers may be packaged into individual cartons. The finished product is stored and distributed in multiunit cardboard boxes or shrink-wrapped in plastic foil.

In a few cases, the starting material is crystalline glycolic acid which is imported in 20 kg disposable fibre drums. The solid raw material is weighed into a sealed container, transferred to an open vessel and dissolved in water using a hand stirrer. The solution is then processed as above.

Application of cosmetic products

In salons, beauticians first cleanse and rinse the skin area to be treated and then apply the glycolic acid solution or gel with the fingertips or a cotton tip or brush. When treating the face, the solution/gel is left in place for 5-10 min and then washed off with gauze dipped in cold water. Occasionally, the solution/gel is applied a second time and left in place for another 5-10 min before being washed off. Hands, feet and other body parts are treated similarly. According to industry sources, products applied to body parts other than the face are usually washed off after about 15 min. The treatment is concluded with the application of a moisturising cream, which usually contains a sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) 15. A typical treatment course includes 6-10 peels over a period of 4-6 weeks.

When used at home, skin care solutions, gels, lotions and creams are applied to the skin with the fingertips or a small cotton ball once or twice a day. Scrubs, which are lotions or creams that contain polishing granules, are rubbed into the skin with a cloth or a sponge and then rinsed off with water.

Hair products such as shampoos and conditioners are lathered into the hair, left on for a few minutes, and rinsed off with water. Intensive hair treatment products are usually applied to the hair and left in. In some cases, the manufacturer recommends to cover the head with plastic film or a towel for 15 min before rinsing out the product under the shower.
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