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Sugar: An Underestimated Natural Material

Contact Author Barbara E Brockway, PhD, Optima Chemicals Ltd.
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The world production of the natural sugar, sucrose, is truly enormous. It was estimated that something in the order of 138.8 million metric tons of sugar was produced in 2004. Sucrose has been faced with the dual challenges of oversupply and tough competition for a number of years and sugar producers are anxiously looking for new markets. The amazing properties of sugar make it an ideal “hero” ingredient in personal care.

Sugars are multifunctional ingredients. They can help formulators create effective (both humectant and healing), natural (renewable and biodegradable), preservative-free formulas that are safe, need not be tested on animals and can be especially visually attractive.

Sucrose refi ned from either sugar cane (Saccharum offi cinarum) or sugar beet (Beta vulgaris) is a non-reducing disaccharide that can be hydrolyzed into a mixture of its component-reducing monosaccharides, glucose and fructose. This mixture is also known as invert sugar with the International Nomenclature Cosmetic Ingredient (INCI) name saccharide hydrolysate (see Figure 1).

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