The popularity of beauty vitamins is seen everywhere, from supplements targeting skin and hair benefits to stress and sleep benefits, as well as in skincare and haircare products. Vitamins A, C, and E are mainly seen in these products, and you’ve likely come across panthenol reading the ingredient labels of your skincare and haircare products. But do you know what panthenol does and how great it is? Panthenol is also seen on ingredient lists as D-pantothenyl alcohol, dexpanthenol, and provitamin B5.


What is panthenol?

Panthenol is an alcohol derivative of pantothenic acid, a precursor that the body can convert into a specific vitamin for B5. So, when applied topically it converts into B5, known as pantothenic acid. When absorbed by the skin, it penetrates deep into the lower layers because of its small molecular weight, and effectively penetrates the stratum corneum or hair. It is used in skincare to hydrate and soothe the skin and in haircare to restore moisture. Panthenol is found in all living cells, which makes it a perfect ingredient for skincare and haircare.


Skincare benefits

It has excellent moisturizing properties as a humectant, attracting water to and binding to the skin, and as an emollient, smoothing and softening the skin. The emollients seal in cracks in the skin, keeping water locked in.

It also has anti-inflammatory properties and engages in activating the proliferation of cells that are important for wound healing and restoring the function of the skin barrier, great for tattoo creams. Also good for UV-induced redness, its anti-inflammatory effect is found in products for sunburns.

Panthenol is great for all skin types, particularly those with dry, flaky, sensitive skin, and functions primarily as a lubricant, emollient, and moisturizer.


Haircare benefits

Panthenol has a similar effect on hair as it does on skin, increasing softness and shine.

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.

Additionally, it has a unique way of penetrating deep into the hair’s core. When it is left on for five minutes or more, it swells the hair shaft – giving your hair more body. It also naturally creates a film of moisture on the hair shaft, giving your hair added protection.

Panthenol’s ability to regulate moisture content whilst increasing resistance to damage and brittleness, makes it a wonderful moisturizing ingredient as well.

Hoffman La Roche, a Swiss pharmacist, carried out several studies on this fascinating ingredient. He found that when it is converted to vitamin B5 in the hair shaft, it creates an extremely hydrating environment that keeps your hair wonderfully moisturized for long periods of time.


The superstar ingredient Panthenol is no doubt worth remembering. Being a derivative of vitamin B5 means that only when panthenol enters the skin can it be converted into vitamin B5. It is highly effective in moisturizing, repairing, and anti-inflammatory – suitable for all skincare and haircare products.


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