Gluconolactone (Glucono-delta-lactone) is a cyclic ester (lactone) of D-gluconic acid, a white crystalline powder, and an edible ingredient used in food processing as an acidifier, sequestrant, etc. Thanks to numerous beneficial effects on the skin, it is used in skin care applications as an exfoliating, chelating, and hydrating ingredient with potent antioxidant action.
Poly-Hydroxy Acid (PHA)
In a water solution, Gluconolactone is partially being hydrolyzed (lactone ring opens) into gluconic acid, which is a reversible process, so both compounds are in an equilibrium state. The D-gluconic acid is poly-hydroxy acid PHA (pH of 3.6) that gently eliminates dead, pigmented, and dull cells from the skin surface, acting similarly to AHAs and BHAs but leaving a mild effect without irritation.
Thanks to several hydroxy groups in the structures, both compounds exhibit water-attracting properties likewise sugars (which contain multiple hydroxy groups) and act as a humectant, providing additional volume, elasticity, and density—optimal hydration results in a smoother skin surface and a reduction of fine lines and deep wrinkles.
Recovery and protection
Conditioning the skin, Glucono-delta-lactone helps improve barrier function and accelerates recovery processes in the skin while energizing and reviving cells. It also scavenges free radicals, protecting skin cell membranes and DNA from oxidation. Furthermore, thanks to low pH, it can balance acidity in water-based formulations.
Gluconolactone creates complexes with many metal ions, acting as a chelating agent and eliminating heavy metal particles from the skin surface. In addition, it is used as an alternative to other chelating agents such as di- or tetrasodium EDTA in skin care applications. Gluconolactone is a naturally occurring, safe, and multi-talented ingredient that protects, moisturizes, and refreshes skin, exposing a glowing, radiant, and youthful appearance.