Medically reviewed by Minimalist Health Specialist -  Written by Rithi Choudhury (Journalist)  on 21st Sep 2020

Panthenol (Provitamin B5) For Skin & Hair - A Multipurpose Ingredient

Panthenol For Skin And Hair

The beauty world has witnessed the rise and fall of several ingredients and trends over the ages. There was a time when a toxic element like mercury had its moment (flinch). The 80s were all about spray tans and big hair; the 90s were about brown lipstick, the 2010s was all about natural and organic beauty. But the truth is not everything natural and organic is good for your skin.

Even poison ivy is natural. Chemicals are not nasty things. If you look around, everything is made up of chemicals, including the water that you drink (H2O). Nature and science can come together to give you the best of both worlds when it comes to your skin, hair and overall health.

Today we choose to sing glories of ‘Panthenol,’ also known as Provitamin B5 because it is one such versatile ingredient science created for us from nature. 

Meet Panthenol

Panthenol is an alcohol derived from pantothenic acid, also known as Provitamin B5. Don't panic at the mention of alcohol because not all alcohol is nasty! Alcohol is just a chemical term given to organic compounds with one or more hydroxy(-OH) group.

Do you think coconut is used in raw form in your coconut lotion? Check the ingredient list, and you will probably find an alcohol called cetyl alcohol, which is derived from coconut and helps moisturize the skin. 

Dr. Andrea Suarez, from her eponymous YouTube channel Dr. Dray, Quotes

Panthenol, also referred to as Provitamin B5, is an ingredient that acts as both a humectant and an emollient

Humectants are ingredients that draw moisture from the environment and hold on to it. Glycerine, aloe vera, honey, amino acids, peptides, hyaluronic acid are all humectants. Emollients, on the other hand, are ingredients that smoothen and lubricate the skin. They also prevent water loss from skin cells. Petrolatum, mineral oil, shea butter, plant oils, esters, ceramides, etc. are emollients. 

Benefits of Panthenol For Skin & Hair 

  • Protects Skin Barrier: When panthenol is applied to the skin, it is converted to the active form of vitamin B5 or pantothenic acid. Vitamin B5 is essential in maintaining skin barrier function and thereby preventing moisture loss (transepidermal water loss) from the skin. 
  • Nourishes Skin and Hair: Being an emollient, panthenol helps soften and lubricate the skin and hair. As a humectant, it holds on to moisture and plumps out the skin cells giving them life. Well-hydrated skin and hair naturally look well-nourished and beautiful. 
  • Soothes Skin Inflammation: Panthenol is anti-inflammatory and therefore helps relieve skin irritation, redness, sunburn, acne inflammations, and repairs the skin.
  • Heals Wounds and Prevents Scar: Panthenol boosts skin cells that are necessary for wound healing. By speeding up the healing process, it reduces the chances of scar formation. 
  • Softens and Smoothes Skin: Panthenol also improves skin texture and elasticity. It helps treat rough, scaly, and dry skin resulting from eczema and several other skin dermatitis.
  • Reduces Dryness: Panthenol’s moisturizing and moisture sealing properties make it a fantastic ingredient to treat dry skin conditions and prevent dryness. 
  • Makes Hair Shiny and Frizz-Free: Panthenol, similar to the skin, is converted into Vitamin B5 when applied on hair. It penetrates deeper into the hair cortex and fills it with moisture, causing it to swell likely and therefore look voluminous and full of life. It also forms a protective film (but this does not leave up any residue) on the hair strands to lock in moisture, thus protecting the hair from environmental stress and makes it frizz-free and glossy. 
  • Strong and Healthy Nails: Panthenol works together with keratin (an essential protein that makes up our hair, skin and nails) and treats dry and fragile nails, making them healthy and shiny.

Panthenol and Niacinamide Skin texture 

Niacinamide is a derivative of Niacin (Vitamin B3). It helps in smoothing out wrinkles and fine lines, controlling oiliness, improving skin texture, treating inflammation and hyperpigmentation, and protecting the skin barrier against environmental stress and the list goes on.

All in all, it is a great ingredient in skincare and a gentler alternative to those who cannot tolerate retinoid(another gold-standard skincare ingredient). Panthenol works well with other skincare ingredients without causing any adverse reaction, but its synergy with niacinamide is noteworthy.

According to a study, when used topically together, these two ingredients help improve the overall health and appearance of the skin.

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Panthenol Skin Care Products

Now that you have learnt of its many wonderful properties, we have made your work easy and came up with a product containing panthenol which will take up your skin health and aesthetic to the next level. 

 Minimalist Hyaluronic Acid 2%+ Vitamin B5 Serum: This serum has the skin-soothing aloe vera as its first ingredient along with moisture magnet hyaluronic acid, and our 'star of the moment' panthenol. What's more to love about this serum? It is fragrance-free and oil-free.

Good To Know:

When using a Hyaluronic Acid serum, always remember to layer a coat of moisturizer on top; otherwise, the HA would start pulling water from the dermis instead of the environment.

Hyaluronic + PGA 2% Face Serum
Hyaluronic + PGA 2% Face Serum
Hyaluronic + PGA 2% Face Serum
Hyaluronic + PGA 2% Face Serum

Hyaluronic + PGA 2% Face Serum

₹ 595

When to use: AM / PM

Frequency: Everyday

View details

Good To Know:

Fragrance in skincare has nothing beneficial to offer other than olfactory pleasure. In the long run, it may
cause allergies and is an absolute no-no for sensitive and inflamed skin.

Bottom Line

Panthenol is generally safe to use in topical skin and hair application. It is suitable for all skin types - normal, oily, dry, sensitive, and combination.
But it is to be kept in mind that panthenol is formulated with several other ingredients. Before using a product, always turn the bottle and learn about the ingredients and look out for any ingredient that may irritate your skin.

If your goal is to reduce inflammation by using panthenol, you must watch for added fragrance and other ingredients that may flare up your inflammation.

If your goal is skin barrier protection, you must watch out for ingredients like denatured alcohol that disrupt the skin barrier. Also, keep in mind that panthenol may also be listed as butanamide, d-pantothenyl alcohol or dexpanthenol in the ingredient list.