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Potassium hydroxide

Potassium hydroxide, with the chemical formula KOH, also known as caustic potash, is an inorganic compound. As a typical strong base, potassium hydroxide, alongside sodium hydroxide (NaOH), is widely used in many industrial and niche areas, primarily exploiting its caustic nature and reactivity towards acids. The production in 2005 was estimated between 700,000 to 800,000 tons. Potassium hydroxide is significant as the precursor to most soft and liquid soaps, as well as numerous potassium-containing chemicals. It is a white solid with very corrosive properties. Potassium hydroxide exhibits high thermal stability. Due to this high stability and relatively low melting point, it is often melt-cast into pellets or rods, which have low surface area and are convenient for handling. These pellets become tacky in air because KOH is hygroscopic. Most commercial samples are about 90% pure, the remainder being water and carbonates. Its dissolution in water is exothermic. Concentrated aqueous solutions are sometimes referred to as potassium lyes. Solid KOH does not readily dehydrate, even at high temperatures.

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Effects in Cosmetics

Potassium hydroxide has multiple effects and applications in cosmetics, listed as follows:

Serves as a precursor for the production of soft soaps and liquid soaps through the saponification process of fats into soap.
Used as a pH adjuster to help achieve optimal skin feel and stability.
Acts as a component in exfoliating products to help remove dead skin cells and promote skin renewal.


The original method of production involved adding potassium carbonate to a strong solution of calcium hydroxide (slaked lime), resulting in the precipitation of calcium carbonate and leaving potassium hydroxide in solution.
The primary modern method for producing potassium hydroxide is the electrolysis of potassium salt solutions, similar to the process for producing sodium hydroxide (chloralkali process).

Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals 

Potassium hydroxide and its solutions are severe irritants to the skin and other tissues.

The Potassium hydroxide component of our company's products complies with the safety content standards of the European Union and Taiwan.


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