Uses of Thioglycolic acid

Posted: March 23, 2012 in Cosmetics additives
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Thioglycolic acid (TGA) is the organic compound HSCH2CO2H. It contains both a thiol (mercaptan) and a carboxylic acid. It is a clear liquid with a strong unpleasant odor. It is readily oxidized by air to the corresponding disulfide [SCH2CO2H]2.
TGA was developed in the 1940s for use as a chemical depilatory and is still used as such, especially in salt forms, including calcium thioglycolate and sodium thioglycolate. TGA is the precursor to ammonium thioglycolate that is used for permanents. TGA and its derivatives break the disulfide bonds in the cortex of hair. One reforms these broken bonds in giving hair a “perm.” Alternatively and more commonly, the process leads to depilation as is done commonly in leather processing. It is also used as an acidity indicator, manufacturing of thioglycolates, and in bacteriology for preparation of thioglycolate media.
Thioglycolic acid is also used in the making of tin stabilizers often used in certain polyvinyl chloride products (such as vinyl siding).
TGA, usually as its dianion, forms complexes with metal ions. Such complexes have been used for the detection of iron, molybdenum, silver, and tin.
Thioglycolic acid is used as nucleophile in thioglycolysis reactions used on condensed tannins to study their structure.
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