Are you concerned about the health of your skin?
Do you notice that your skin – and even your hair and nails – are dry, brittle, and lack that youthful glow?
Then there is one ingredient that you may just want to look out for, in the form of Panthenol. An unsung beauty hero, that has to be one of the most beneficial beauty ingredients of all time.
Panthenol rarely earns a starring role in skincare, but it has so much going for it.
There is always such a beauty buzz around Vitamins A, C, E, they are like the leading role in a movie, everyone knows who they are.
As true skincare aficionados, we’d love to introduce you to a lesser-known supporting actor, in the form of panthenol, which has some amazing benefits too.
What is Panthenol?
Known in the beauty industry as provitamin B5 and dexpanthenol, D-pantothenyl, butanamide, it is a more stable alcohol derivative of pantothenic acid or vitamin B5.
Found in all living cells, both plant and animal, panthenol is a normal component of skin and hair and is essential for normal metabolism and hormone production.
It is readily absorbed by the skin, where it turns into pantothenic acid, encouraging cellular growth.
It is great for all skin types, particularly those with dry, flaky, sensitive skin and functions primarily as a lubricant, emollient and moisturiser.
A deficiency in vitamin B5 in the skin can result in serious dermatological disorders, which shows the importance this ingredient plays in maintaining healthy skin.
The Beautifying Benefits of Panthenol for Skin
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 – from here it is readily absorbed by the skin, penetrating deep into the lower layers.
Hydrating: Panthenol has a distinct humectant character, its hygroscopic properties mean, not only does it provide water to the surface of the skin, but it also penetrates deep into the epidermis infusing water in the cells, retaining moisture deep within the skin’s tissues.
Moisturising: It is considered a mega moisturiser because of its emollient properties, it helps to lighten scars and stretch marks and has wound-healing properties – leaving skin soft, smooth, and supple.
Anti-inflammatory: Panthenol is extremely moisturising, 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 dry skin.
Barrier repairing: Panthenol-based formulations significantly increase skin moisture, which means it has important beneficial effects on the skin barrier function, by decreasing transepidermal water loss (TEWL). A study carried out on the topical effects of panthenol, found that concentrations of pro-vitamin also influenced the improvement of the skin barrier function. Just one percent panthenol added to a formulation showed that the moisturising effects of panthenol can be attributed mainly to the protective properties of the skin barrier. The study also found, that a deficiency in panthenol can result in dermatological disorders, which may explain its anti-inflammatory properties.
Wound healing: When panthenol is applied topically, it stimulates the epithelization of skin cells as shown by Weiser and Erlemann. In this research superficial wounds treated with creams containing around 5% panthenol, reduced skin healing by about 30% compared with the placebo. Favorable results were also reported in a number of inflammatory skin disorders including burns, eczema, nipple fissures, and others. What we can draw from this, is that panthenol may be useful in the application of derma products and wound healing, especially when incorporated in topical concentrations of around 5%, it may also be an important ingredient in maintaining physiological skin conditions, soothing inflammatory disorders and preventing dry skin conditions.
Panthenol for Hair
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.
The use of panthenol in haircare products goes back to the early 1960s when inflammatory reactions on the scalp were treated with panthenol-containing creams. Panthenol not only showed a soothing effect but also had beneficial effects on the hair.
Penetrative: It has a unique way of penetrating deep into the hair’s core; when it is left on the hair for five minutes or more, it swells the hair shaft – giving 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, a Swiss pharmacist, carried out a number of studies on this fascinating ingredient. What he found was, when it is converted to vitamin B5 in the hair shaft, it creates an extremely hydrating environment that keeps the hair wonderfully moisturised for long periods of time.
Another great humectant that adds gloss and shines to the hair is glycerine, which I discuss in my article, “What is Glycerine and How Effective is it in Skincare“.
Panthenol for Nails
A number of studies carried out on nail care have found that panthenol also works well with keratin, the protein found within our skin and nails.
It is able to penetrate into the nail plate at a depth of 0.2mm, helping to protect and repair soft, damaged nails.
It is also extremely hydrating to nails that are dry or brittle.
Properties and Uses
So, let’s recap on panthenol’s amazing roles within the skin:
- it behaves as a humectant
- it is an effective emollient
- it is deeply penetrating
- offers long-lasting moisturisation – increases TEWL
- great for red, sore, irritated skin, as it is very soothing
- helps to improve the skin’s barrier function
- helps to promote wound healing
- readily absorbed into the nail bed, helping to improve nail hydration and flexibility
- applied topically to the skin or hair, it undergoes a bio-conversion that converts it to pantothenic acid – a natural ingredient in our hair and skin
- essential for epithelial function and cellular rejuvenation, promoting normal skin keratinisation
Want to know how to harness this wonder ingredient in your skincare regime? It’s a popular ingredient found in many of the Naked Chemist products.
Pantothenic acid an overview: https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/chemistry/pantothenic-acid
In vivo efficiency, properties containing panthenol: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/jocd.12527
What is panthenol: https://www.cherie.com/campaign/6836542425066897413/%F0%9F%99%8CWhat-is-Panthenol-Why-is-it-in-Cosmetics-and-is-it-Safe
Topical use of de panthenol: https://pillbuys.com/research/Dexpanthenol/21.pdf