All hail Panthenol.

It has to be one of the most beneficial beauty ingredients of all time.

It’s an alcohol that is processed by the body, this creates pantothenic acid or vitamin B5.


Panthenol is present in all living cells, which makes it the perfect ingredient for skincare:

Penetrative: When panthenol is applied to the skin it results in a conversion to pantothenic acid; this acid is readily absorbed by the skin, penetrating deep into the lower layers.

Hydrating: Pantothenic acid works as a humectant by infusing water in the cells, retaining moisture deep within the skins tissues.

Moisturising: Clinical research has found that not only is this acid extremely moisturising, but when regularly used over a period of four weeks or more it takes on an anti-inflammatory role, relieving systemic itching, whilst also helping to soothe a dry skin.

Interestingly, a deficiency in vitamin B5 can result in dermatological disorders, this may explain its anti-inflammatory properties.


You can’t get very far in the beauty industry, without hearing about the wonderful affinity panthenol has on the hair, this is due to the fact that it is actually a major constituent of our hair.

Penetrative: It has a unique way of penetrating deep into the hairs cortex; when it is left on the hair for five minutes or more, it swells the hair shaft helping to give the hair more body.

Protective: It naturally creates a film of moisture on the hair shaft, giving the hair added protection.

Moisturising: Panthenol’s ability to regulate moisture content whilst increasing resistance to damage and brittleness, makes it a wonderful moisturising ingredient.

Hoffman La Roche carried out a number of studies on this fascinating ingredient.

What he found, was that when it is converted to vitamin B5 in the hair shaft, it creates an extremely hydrating environment, it appeared to keep the hair wonderfully moisturised for long periods of time.

Another great humectant that adds gloss and shine to the hair is glycerine, which I discuss here.


A number of studies carried out on nail care, has shown that panthenol also works well with keratin, a protein found within our skin and nails.

Penetrative: It is able to penetrate into the nail plate at a depth of 0.2 mm, this helps to protect and repair soft, damaged nails.

Hydrating: It is extremely hydrating on dry, brittle nails.

Properties and Uses

So lets recap on panthenol’s amazing roles within the skin:

  • It behaves as a humectant
  • It is an effective emollient
  • It is deeply penetrating
  • It offers long lasting moisturisation
  • It’s great for red sore irritated skin, as it is very soothing
  • It helps to improve the skins barrier function
  • Research has shown that it may help to promote wound healing
  • It is readily absorbed into the nail bed, helping to improve nail hydration and flexibility
  • Once applied topically to the skin or the hair, it undergoes a bio-conversion converting to pantothoenic acid, which is a natural make up of the hair and skin
  • It is essential for epithelial function and cellular rejuvenation, it promotes normal skin keratinisation

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