Potassium Hydroxide

A very alkaline ingredient, meaning that it has a high pH. Potassium hydroxide is therefore useful in bringing a low pH in a cosmetic product up to a more neutral, skin-safe level.
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Potassium Hydroxide

Overview

Potassium hydroxide is an ingredient primarily used to adjust pH. It is a very alkaline ingredient, meaning it has a high pH. Therefore, potassium hydroxide is useful to bring a low pH in a cosmetic product up to a more neutral, skin-safe level.

In some cases, adjusting the pH in this manner can cause the product to thicken. Some thickening agents are highly sensitive to changes in pH, so when potassium hydroxide is added, the viscosity builds in the product containing these thickening agents. By itself potassium hydroxide is highly caustic when applied directly to skin, but at the tiny levels found in cosmetic products, it is a very safe compound.

Science

1
"Potassium Hydroxide." Mallinckrodt Baker Inc. MSDS. 2000. https://www2.atmos.umd.edu/~russ/MSDS/potassium_hydroxide.htm#:~:text=Causes%20irritation%20of%20eyes%20with,a%20destructive%20effect%20on%20tissue.