Phycus Biotechnologies Inc. (Phycus) announced that its Purolic Acid (INCI: Glycolic Acid) has earned the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) certified bio-based product label, making it the first bio-based glycolic acid to receive this designation. This responds to cosmetic and skin care formulators seeking sustainable label ingredients.
The USDA certification was created to help consumers identify products made from bio-based raw materials. The designation is achieved after an independent, third-party laboratory verifies the bio-based content using carbon-14 dating techniques.
Glycolic acid is the leading exfoliating active ingredient found in skin care products, according to Phycus. While some extracts of plants or fruits can contain glycolic acid, they also contain a mixture of other acids and organic molecules that can impact their color, odor, purity and potency, limiting their application in skin care formulations.
Due to these limitations, glycolic acid is typically derived from petroleum or oil-based sources such as formaldehyde or monochloroacetic acid. This manufacturing process tends to leave trace contaminants of these starting materials in the finished ingredients, which according to Phycus can make their way into the end consumer product.
The certified Purolic Acid is reportedly of high purity, derived from plants and made using a sustainable precision fermentation process. This process makes it an efficient drop-in replacement for petroleum-based glycolic acid, the company reports. In addition, the ingredient's bio-based format provides a formaldehyde-free formula with a manufacturing process that helps to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.