When it comes to hydrating ingredients, here are a handful you see mentioned on the forums and get all the buzz (we’re talking about you, hyaluronic acid). However, one ingredient that isn’t mentioned often is panthenol, or provitamin B5. It’s very common in a lot of skincare and grooming products due to its water-retaining properties, while also healing scars, wounds, and being anti-inflammatory.
What Is Panthenol? How does it work?
Panthenol is the provitamin, or a substance that the body can convert into a specific vitamin, for B5. When panthenol is applied topically, it's quickly converted to vitamin B5, also known as pantothenic acid. It has a unique advantage of being both a humectant and emollient. Humectants help the skin attract and bind with moisture, while emollients help maintain this bond to keep your skin hydrated for longer. This enables it to be one of the most effective moisturizing agents out there and can be found in a wide variety of cosmetics and grooming products.
Panthenol is a prime ingredient for reducing irritation while also improving skin barrier function. It doubles up as an emulsifier by stabilizing chemical compounds that are otherwise produced by mixing incompatible ingredients together.
What Are Panthenol’s Benefits For Skin?
Along with its hella ability to hydrate your skin, panthenol has other noteworthy benefits that make it worth incorporating in your skincare routine.
- Increases skin’s moisture retention: The fatty acid synthase is excellent at building and maintaining your skin barrier, which helps prevent trans-epidermal water loss. Panthenol penetrates deeper into the layers of your skin, maximizing absorption as well as retention.
- Boosts skin barrier function: Panthenol improves dry, rough, chafed skin by helping regenerate and strengthen the epidermis and stratum corneum (outer skin layers). This improves the skin’s protective barrier.
- Assists in wound healing: Tattoo artists often recommend using a panthenol-based moisturizer after getting inked to soothe inflamed skin.
- Deliver anti-inflammatory benefits: Panthenol reduces inflammation, so it’s useful in treating minor sunburns, itchiness and irritation.
Is Panthenol Safe?
Good news! Panthenol is incredibly gentle, so most people can use it. In most studies, panthenol was used at concentrations ranging from 0.5% to 5%. Significant positive effects were noticeable starting at 1% and increasing concentration further didn't always produce significant further improvement. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has rated it as GRAS, which stands for ‘generally recognized as safe and effective’. Furthermore, the Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) has also deemed it safe for usage in skincare and cosmetics.
Having said that, there is always a small possibility of having an allergy. To find out whether an ingredient suits your skin, perform a patch test elsewhere on your body before applying it all over your face.
Using Panthenol In Your Skincare Routine
It's incredibly easy to incorporate panthenol into your skincare routine as it plays well with most other ingredients. Due to its versatility, a lot of skincare products (including our Daily Moisturizer) have this ingredient so feel free to use liberally on your face and body. Panthenol works best on freshly washed skin, so wash your face and follow up with a lotion or cream that contains panthenol.