Whether you’re in a grocery store, a drugstore, or a beauty salon, panthenol can more or less be found everywhere—from food products to shampoo. But what exactly is this ingredient, and how does it work? Is it safe to use on your skin?
It’s important to understand what you’re putting onto (and into) your body. Read on to learn more about this widely-used substance.
What is panthenol?
At its most basic, panthenol is simply a form of Vitamin B5. It is made from pantothenic acid, an essential nutrient for health that works to synthesize and metabolize proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. It is naturally-occurring in food sources such as beef, poultry, seafood, eggs, milk, whole grains, and certain vegetables and legumes.
Lastly, it is also one of the most common additives found in commercial beauty and hygiene products. Skincare, hair, and nail products all commonly contain panthenol!
Ultimately, panthenol is essential for healthy skin, shiny hair, and nourished nails. Moreover, it can even treat wounds, infections, and rashes with its anti-inflammatory properties.
How is panthenol made?
Panthenol is more or less Vitamin B5 in its rawest form. To get slightly more specific, it uses the chemical condensation of synthetic R-pantolactone with 3-aminopropanol. This combination produces coenzyme, a component with which beauty products are manufactured.
How does panthenol work?
In cosmetic and beauty products, panthenol is used to bind and hold water to the skin. This helps skin to better retain moisture. The healing properties of the ingredient also help with skin irritation, and with protecting the natural skin barrier.
In moisturizers and face creams, it is particularly effective when paired with humectants, such as hyaluronic acid and glycerin. This makes it a particularly good solution for dry skin types.
What are the potential side effects of panthenol?
Side effects of panthenol use are rare; bad reactions to the chemical rarely occur. However, for those who are allergic to the substance, contact dermatitis or gastrointestinal issues may arise. If you are using products that contain panthenol and notice persistent skin irritation, discontinue use to determine what is causing the dermatitis.
Is panthenol safe to use?
According to the FDA (Food & Drug Administration), panthenol is generally safe for consumption. In the case of skin care or cosmetic use, it’s a hard ingredient to escape, and rarely prompts an adverse reaction. The CIR (Cosmetic Ingredient Review) concurs that the standard amount used in most beauty products is safe, since we tend to already consume much greater amounts in our food.
Bottom line: there is no evidence that panthenol will cause long-term side effects if applied or used regularly. This makes it an overall safe chemical substance.
Which beauty products with panthenol should I use?
Because panthenol is so prevalent in beauty products, you’ll likely find that most of the items you use in your regimen contain it. Here are some of our favorites that have yielded great results for all skin types:
1. Catrice Hydrating Prime & Care Spray
The Catrice Hydrating Prime & Care Spray isn’t your average facial mist. Its ingredients include soothing Aloe vera combined with panthenol to boost skin radiance, improving the look and feel of your complexion under makeup. This product contains a more diluted concentration of panthenol than other products that boast the ingredient, but is available at a more affordable price point.
2. Paula’s Choice Hyaluronic Acid Booster
Paula’s Choice Hyaluronic Acid Booster is great for replenishing moisture, as well as smoothing skin and evening out wrinkles. This concentrated serum contains essential ceramides that skin needs for optimal health, in addition to panthenol (Pro-Vitamin B5) for a plumping effect.
3. Olay Collagen Peptide 24 Face Moisture
The Olay Collagen Peptide 24 Face Moisture cream is a phthalate-free moisturizer. It contains vitamin B and collagen peptide, which evens out your skin texture and firm up your complexion. It’s great for all skin types, and delivers ample hydration. This product is great for sealing in moisture as the last step in your skin care regimen.
4. Hydrovit Base D-Panthenol Cream
Hydrovit Base D-Panthenol Cream is another daily moisturizer option that uses panthenol as one of the main ingredients. However, it goes a step beyond the average drugstore moisturizer to heal and soothe dry, itchy skin and dermatitis, and alleviates irritation from exposure to the sun or the extreme cold. Apply this cream on cuts and minor lacerations (such as those caused by shaving), and to soothe and protect nipples during pregnancy!
5. PCA Skin Hydrating Mask
In search of a good face mask? Try the PCA Skin Hydrating Mask is an oat milk mask that uses panthenol to leave skin feeling softer and more radiant. This product also combines sodium hyaluronate and glycerin to mitigate moisture loss and promote a more supple-looking complexion. It’s the perfect antidote to stubborn dryness, and works quickly to calm irritated skin.
Panthenol is a widely-used ingredient in food and commercial beauty products. According to both the FDA and CIR, it is safe for consumption and topical application. It promotes healthy skin by sealing in moisture and increasing suppleness and elasticity for a clearer, more youthful appearance. We recommend any of the products mentioned above to reap the many benefits of this fantastic ingredient for your skin!