Systematically referred to as potassium hydroxide, caustic potash is a colorless solid that acts as a strong base. Most industrial applications exploit its highly corrosive nature and its high level of reactivity with various acids. While not produced in the same massive quantities as its sister-compound sodium hydroxide (lye, caustic soda), caustic potash is well known to cosmetic manufacturers as a precursor to most soft and liquid soaps, as well as a wide variety of potassium containing chemicals. The quickest method of synthesizing pure potassium hydroxide is by reacting sodium hydroxide with a quantity of impure potassium. The resulting compound is usually pressed into translucent pellets that become somewhat tacky on exposure to air due to the hygroscopic nature of caustic potash. Great care should be taken when working with caustic potash in aqueous solutions of any concentration, as even a 2% solution is corrosive and can cause chemical burns on exposed skin.
Personal Care and Cosmetics