Potassium hydroxide in your bathroom

Take a look around your bathroom. How many products do you own and use that contain potassium hydroxide (KOH) from Vynova? Even though it’s not always mentioned on the ingredients list, there’s probably quite a few, as KOH is used in many conventional and natural soft and liquid soaps and shampoos as well as half of all shaving creams and body depilatory creams.
So, what is potassium hydroxide? Why is it so essential for personal care products? And why isn’t it always mentioned on the ingredient list?

What is potassium hydroxide?

Potassium hydroxide (KOH) is a colourless, inorganic and highly alkaline ingredient that is used in personal care products to stabilise the pH of a product. As Europe’s leading producer of potassium derivatives, Vynova produces liquid KOH at two manufacturing sites, in Tessenderlo (Belgium) and Thann (France), making us the only potassium derivatives producer with two European production sites.

Why is potassium hydroxide used in personal care products?

It’s essential for personal care products to have the right pH balance. Too acidic and the product can cause skin irritation or a stinging sensation. Too basic or alkaline and it could deplete the skin of vital natural lipids.

The human body has a natural pH of 7.4 and the closer the personal care product’s pH level is to this, the better. As the majority of the other ingredients used in personal care products are acidic, the alkaline nature of potassium hydroxide is essential for stabilising the pH balance.

Just like a lot of other chemicals, it’s important to use potassium hydroxide responsibly. In most cases, only a small amount is needed to achieve the desired pH balance in personal care products.

Which personal care products use potassium hydroxide?

In addition to being frequently used as the lye for both conventional as well as natural or organic soft and liquid soaps, potassium hydroxide can also be found in many other daily products. To give a few examples: bath products, personal cleansing products, fragrances, foot powders, hair dyes and colours, makeup, nail products, personal cleanliness products, shampoos, shaving products, and skincare products.

Why isn’t potassium hydroxide listed on the ingredients list of my personal care products?

While potassium hydroxide is used in so many personal care products, it is rarely listed in the ingredients as it isn’t actually in the finished product. This is due to saponification, the chemical reaction between a base (potassium hydroxide) and an acid (the other ingredients). The saponification process chemically turns the ingredients into soap and glycerine, so there’s no potassium hydroxide to mention in the ingredients.

Contact Vynova

Vynova is a leading European supplier of potassium derivatives with manufacturing sites in Belgium and France. Our potassium derivatives are used in numerous applications that benefit health and improve our quality of life – like potassium hydroxide used in personal care products. Find out more about potassium derivatives from Vynova or contact one of our sales representatives here.



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