Panthenol at a Glance
- Hydrating ingredient famous for its ability to attract/retain moisture.
- May also help reduce sensitivity-induced redness in skin.
- Often referred to as pro-vitamin B5.
- Converts into pantothenic acid when applied topically.
- White, crystalline powder in its raw material state.
Panthenol (sometimes referred to as pro-vitamin B5) is a popular humectant in personal care products due to its ability to attract and hold moisture. When topically applied, it converts to pantothenic acid, which is a naturally occurring substance within the body.
Studies show that 1% panthenol quickly increase skin’s hydration, while decreasing transepidermal water loss (the amount of water that evaporates through skin). The overall result is an improvement in the way skin feels and looks, including a more supple appearance.
Research also shows promise for panthenol’s ability to reduce sensitivity-induced redness in skin.
Topically applied panthenol in amounts between 1–5% has been reported to aid in healing and barrier repair.
It’s important to clarify that even though panthenol is the alcohol derivative of pantothenic acid, but it is a completely gentle and non-drying form of alcohol, unlike SD or denatured alcohol, which are known to be damaging to skin.
Panthenol is water soluble and “plays well” with many different types of ingredients, making it easy to formulate with for moisturizers, serums, toners, etc. It is also widely used in hair care products and can be found in makeup products, such as powders, mascara, and lipstick.
As a raw material, two forms of panthenol can be incorporated in personal care product formulas: D-panthenol is a viscous oil and DL-panthenol comes in the form of a white, crystalline powder.
According to the Cosmetic Ingredient Review assessment from 2018, the highest reported concentration of panthenol in a personal care product was 5.3%, which was deemed safe in its use.
The Linus Pauling Institute, Oregon State University, Accessed April 2021, ePublication
International Journal of Cosmetic Science, December 2019, pages 534-547
Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, January 2019, pages 346-354
Cosmetic Ingredient Review, March 2018, pages 1-51
The Journal of Dermatological Treatment, August 2017, pages 173-180
Journal of Cosmetic Science, August 2011, pages 361-370
American Journal of Clinical Dermatology, Volume 3, 2002, pages 427-433
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About the Experts
Paula Begoun is the best-selling author of 20 books about skincare and makeup. She is known worldwide as The Cosmetics Cop and creator of Paula’s Choice Skincare. Paula’s expertise has led to hundreds of appearances on national and international radio, print, and television including:
The Paula's Choice Research Team is dedicated to busting beauty myths and providing expert advice that solves your skincare frustrations so you can have the best skin of your life!