The Benefits of Panthenol the Unsung Beauty hero

Updated 01/09/20

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.

RESEARCH
Nail penetration:https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18489355/
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
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41 thoughts on “The Benefits of Panthenol the Unsung Beauty hero

  1. Riley says:

    Hi! Is 10% panthenol too strong? I have a cream/moisturizer that I bought from Korea under the brand Answer 19 and it seems to feel okay on my skin after a few months of using it. However, I recently noticed the percentage of panthenol and am a little worried if there will be any adverse effects on my health because 10% seems to be a little high? Thank you!

    • Verified Author Samantha Miller replied:

      Hi Riley. it is a lot more than I personally formulate with, but we are all metabolically different, so introduce slowly and really listen to your skin and if it works great. Samantha

  2. Lily says:

    How about using Pantothenic acid instead of Panthenol? I am having trouble finding data on this. Does Pantothenic acid absorb and work the same way in the skin as its precursor? Any reason to choose one over the other?

  3. Apple says:

    Hello first i will like to thank you on the information you give its very informative and intriguing butI have a question can you suggest a ingredients i can use that does not contain any palm oil to detangle extremely corse hair and also are their any palm oil free emulsifiers i can use to make face creams and shampoos/conditioners been searching and have not really found one thank you🙂

  4. vivian matti says:

    Hi Samantha;
    is Panthenol 2% good for eliminate aged lines and wrinkles on the forehead and the entire face? if so how long will take for me to see the results..

    • Verified Author Samantha Miller replied:

      Hi Vivian

      I love Panthenol and yes this is a good amount to use in your formual but there are three things in play here – a synergistic complex of active botanicals is better than using ingredients in isolation, and we are all metabolically different so it is hard to say exactly how long it will take for an improvement so it is hard to say. You have to be both realistic and have a good routine both topically and internally in your approach to ageing.

  5. Cynthia Temisa says:

    Good day. I’m Cynthia and I have been battling severe skin itching after bathing for years now,precisely since 2016. It all started after I went swimming with some friends,I discovered patches of scales on my skin. After treating those patches, my skin became sensitive to water, soap and cream. I really do not know what to do because the discomfort is so severe and the itches can last the whole especially when I put on jeans trousers. I would really appreciate any form of assistance. Thanks.

    • Verified Author Samantha Miller replied:

      Hi Cynthia. I have actually encountered this problem personally many years ago and it was really frustrating I was literally tearing at myself. My Doctor told me i was allergic to soemthing and I minimised everything and convinced I wasn’t but it turned out to be laundry powder and an ingredient in the body cream. If it is not this then it could be a exzema or fungal infection or if it is just from dryness a lack of essential fatty acids. I recommend going to a dermatologist and eliminating everything you are using/or that comes into contact with your skin. Good luck Samantha

    • Verified Author Samantha Miller replied:

      Hi Nehal
      If I have not tried and tested something with the skin, then I am afraid I would not like to advise and this is the case with lightening skin under the arms, I apologise about that.If you try it an have good results I would love to hear about it for my clients and readers. Thank you samantha

  6. Michael Kanias says:

    Hi Samantha,I’ve just got back from being in the sun for 5 weeks I’m Cyprus and my face is really dehydrated. Can I use panthenol cream on my face as a moisturiser???

    • Verified Author Samantha Miller replied:

      Hi Michael
      I am not familiar with this product, Panthenol certainly has some great skin benefits that you can take full advantage of to help rebuild your skin, but if it is enough on it’s own? I really dont think so. Good luck Samantha

  7. Shorouk Saher says:

    Hi Samantha, I need to ask you.. if using a panthenol cream 2% on my face and around my eyes is safe and good,, because i complain of sunlight allergy ,,thanks alot.

  8. Vivi says:

    Hi Samantha,
    I have s friend from Serbia who recommended panthenol. I have alopecia androgeneous, i k os this May not be the cure but does this help at all to have more hair or is just to not lose it??

  9. Yoki says:

    If i do a laser hair removal , using this panthinol may reduce the effect of the laser ?! ….
    someone said to me that panthinol may causing a hyper pigmentation is it true?!! Finally i want a lighting cream for the bikini area … thank u ?

  10. Michelle says:

    Good afternoon, I have a quick question. I’m making a small batch of hand lotion, and I would like to know if you could refer me to some resources that can tell me how much panthenol (I have it in powder form) to use in my formulation.Thanks so much.?

  11. Renee says:

    Is So Totally Clean deep pore cleanser as effective as Ten-0-Six since it does not have panthenol as an ingredient. Goal is quickly diminish pimples and other blemishes.

    • Renee says:

      The basic question is if both products have identical ingredients would the elimination of panthenol in one of the products make a difference in ability to cleanse the face?
      With your chemistry background and practical experience, I hope you can answer this question.

  12. James says:

    Hi Samantha,

    My wife suffers with her body hair on her legs; The hair grows towards your skin, causing painful wounds and scars.What recommendation or final solution may be in this case, since it has tried several non-invasive treatments without success.

  13. Judith Maina. says:

    Hey Samantha, thanks for the info, it’s indeed intriguing. Away, from panthenol, please enlighten me on cucumber and skin lightening. Thanks.

  14. Lucia says:

    Hi Samatha, Which one is better for the skin topical, the dexpanthenol (liquid) or the panthenol (solid) thank you for your help!

  15. Melissa says:

    Where did you get all this info from? Do you have any clinical, consumer, or technical info to back these claims? I’m asking because I get questioned all the time as to what my sources are! Thanks!

    • Verified Author Samantha Miller replied:

      Hi Melissa
      I don’t blame you so do I, in fact to the point that I am a constant student in my industry. I am fully qualified in all disciplines of beauty and holistic therapy, advanced cosmetology and chemistry, with a background as international spa manager, skin aesthetician and tutor. Currently my real technical experience comes from the Medi skin clinic, which means I get to see the significant changes in the results from treatments and ingredients from my clients first hand, and for me there is no better validation than that. I hopes that answers your question samantha

  16. Josh says:

    Hi Samantha!

    Thanks for a quick breakdown of your Panthenol article Samantha! I was playing in the sun a little longer than I should have yesterday and my Ukrainian friend suggested using Panthenol to help soothe the obvious redness. Curious, I found your site! 🙂 Thanks for your great work! My wife would love to know how to get into the beauty industry, do you have any hints and/or suggestions for that? 😉

    Josh

    • Verified Author Samantha Miller replied:

      Hi Josh

      Panthenol is such a great product for the skin it really is. There is no short cut to getting into the beauty industry, you have to go down the route of going to college to get fully qualified in level 1,2 and 3 in beauty which will coer everything from facials to spa treatments, waxing through to body electrics. Oncwe qualified it is a really great industry to be in and very rewarding…. good luck.

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