Isostearic acid is a liquid fatty acid produced by the reaction of oleic acid with a natural mineral catalyst. The production of isostearic acid is completely based on the parent oil or fat. Due to its high thermal, odor, and oxidation stability, isostearic acid finds its application across several industries such as lubricants, personal care, chemical esters, textiles, and packaging. The branched structure of isostearic acid elevates its dispersing power due to which it is used in industrial and cosmetic applications for the stabilization of pigments and mineral particles in oils and solvents. The growing end-user industries are the key drivers for global isostearic acid market.
Due to its UV resistant properties, isostearic acid is used in several types of cosmetics such as lipsticks, lip gloss, sunscreens, and other personal care products such as bath and shower gels, and toilet soaps. In chemical esters such as isostearyle isostearate, isopropyl isostearate, glycerol trimethylolpropane triisostearate, isostearic acid is used as binder, skin conditioning agent, emollient, and humectant.
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Chemical esters are used in cosmetics industry as dispersants, adhesion pigment promoters, solubilizers, emollients, effective solvents, plasticizers, and water repellents. In lubricant and grease industry, isostearic acid finds its application in the manufacturing of synthetic lubricants, corrosion inhibitors, and alkyd resins. The global synthetic lubricants market is expected to reach USD 62.8 billion by 2018, expanding at a CAGR of 2.5% during the period from 2013 to 2018.
The global beauty products market including cosmetics is expected to reach USD 300 billion by 2020, which is expected to provide ample growth opportunity for the isostearic acid market. Premium cosmetics are growing at the fastest pace among the beauty product segments. The global biolubricants market is expected to reach USD 2,377.5 million in 2018 which is further expected to escalate the isostearic acid market. The high cost of biolubricants (approximately 1.5-2 times costlier than mineral oil lubricants) is a major restraint for the growth of this market.
Among applications, chemical esters dominated the global isostearic acid market in 2013. Demand of isostearic acid from chemical esters is also expected to witness the highest growth among segments during the forecast period. Among regions, Europe dominated the global sales followed by Asia Pacific and North America. However, Asia Pacific is expected to become the market leader in the global isostearic acid market by 2020. In 2013, Germany, the U.K., France, and Italy were the key markets for isostearic acid in Europe whereas Japan, China, and India were the major markets in Asia Pacific. The demand of isostearic acid is also growing in countries such as Brazil, Poland, and Ukraine.