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Panthenol: What should you know about this active ingredient?

Panthenol is a subtle active ingredient in cosmetic care. Although it is not often highlighted, it nonetheless possesses several interesting properties for skin and hair care. Benefits, method of obtaining, potential side effects... Learn more about panthenol.

An overview of panthenol.

Panthenol, also known as provitamin B5, is a biologically active precursor of pantothenic acid, or vitamin B5. There are two isomers of this molecule: D-panthenol and L-panthenol. While both forms have moisturizing properties, only the D form is biologically active. In cosmetics, panthenol is incorporated solely in its D form or as a racemic mixture (equal proportions of D-panthenol and L-panthenol).

Once absorbed, provitamin B5 is quickly oxidized into pantothenic acid in the tissues. This latter plays a crucial role in numerous metabolic processes as a component of coenzyme A, a molecule essential to the metabolism of carbohydrates, lipids, and proteins. Vitamin B5 is also involved in the biosynthesis of fatty acids, steroid hormones, and neurotransmitters: thus, it holds significant importance for the body and ensures the proper functioning of various biological systems.

How is panthenol obtained?

The panthenol found in cosmetics is ofsynthetic origin. The initial molecule used is 3,3-dimethyl-1-butanol. By adding water, this organic compound is hydrated into 2,4-dihydroxy-3,3-dimethylbutanoic acid. This is then converted into panthenol via a reaction involving the use of a reducing agent such as sodium borohydride (NaBH4).

Once the synthesis reaction is completed, the panthenol is purified to remove impurities and obtain a high-quality final product. This purification involves distillation and filtration steps to achieve the desired purity. Finally, the panthenol is made to react with an alkaline substance such as sodium or potassium hydroxide to recover its salt form, with which it is easier to formulate cosmetics.

Panthenol: What are its benefits for the skin?

An extremely gentle ingredient, panthenol is a friend to sensitive, irritated, or dry skin. Its application brings numerous benefits to the skin, summarized in the table below.

PropertyMechanismBenefit for the Skin
MoisturizerPanthenol has a strong moisturizing ability and can reinforce the hydrolipidic film present on the surface of the epidermisPanthenol prevents water loss and dehydration-induced fine lines, while maintaining skin suppleness and barrier integrity
Anti-inflammatoryPanthenol can inhibit the action of certain pro-inflammatory cytokinesPanthenol soothes the skin by reducing irritations, redness, itching, tingling...
HealingPanthenol stimulates the proliferation of fibroblasts and the expression of the CXCL10, RARRES1, MUC4, and MUC16 genes, which code for molecules involved in the healing process.Panthenol accelerates wound healing and potentially reduces the appearance of scars
AntibacterialPanthenol could potentially inhibit prokaryotic enzymes that are essential for the metabolism of certain bacteriaPanthenol could potentially help in controlling the bacterial populations living on the skin

A closer look at the hair properties of panthenol.

The provitamin B5 is not only beneficial to the skin: this active ingredient can also benefit the hair and scalp. Indeed, its moisturizing and repairing properties are useful for taking care of sensitive or dehydrated scalps. Easily absorbed by the skin, panthenol helps to strengthen the skin barrier, which prevents irritations. Moreover, its anti-inflammatory effects allow it to act on persistent tingling and itching to provide long-lasting relief to the scalp.

Panthenol is also an interesting active ingredient for caring for one's hair length. By contributing to the maintenance of the hydrolipidic film on the surface of the fibers, it allows them to remain supple and hydrated, which prevents split ends. Finally, some sources report that provitamin B5 could stimulate hair growth by delaying their entry into the catagen phase, a rest period for hair follicles. However, this last property requires further study.

Using Panthenol: Are there precautions to take?

Highly tolerated, panthenol can be used by all skin types, even the most sensitive ones. The Cosmetic Ingredient Safety Expert Group recently published a report concluding the safety of provitamin B5 used in cosmetics and its excellent skin tolerance. Moreover, this gentle active ingredient is not among those advised against for pregnant women or nursing mothers. However, it is important to note that a few rare cases of allergies to panthenol have been reported. The reactions were nonetheless measured and limited to redness and slight irritation.

Before using a new product, we advise you to test it on the inside of your elbow or your wrist.

Discover our skincare products formulated with panthenol.

You can find panthenol in several of our skincare products, as presented below:

  • The after-sun serum : This pale pink after-sun facial serum is enriched with panthenol and vitamin B12 to promote cellular regeneration after sun exposure. Moreover, the carob extract it contains stimulates and prolongs the tan.

  • The hydrating serum : Formulated with 95% natural origin ingredients, this product is rich in humectants and compensates for the natural decrease in hyaluronic acid production in the skin. Application after application, the skin becomes more hydrated, plumper, and smoother.

  • The eyelash and eyebrow serum : Rich in nourishing and strengthening active ingredients, this serum protects the eyelashes and eyebrows, which are subjected daily to various external aggressions (stress, pollution, makeup...). In addition to panthenol, it contains biotinyl-GHK, a molecule that, when combined with panthenol, stimulates the synthesis of collagen and laminin, ensuring the anchoring of the hair bulb in the epidermis.

  • The anti-dandruff treatment shampoo : Formulated without sulfates and silicones, this shampoo gently cleanses the scalp while maintaining its balance. Its light texture does not weigh down the hair. Gradually, it reduces the proliferation of dandruff, regulates flaking, and soothes scalp irritations.

  • The hand and nail serum : Concentrated with keratin, biotin, and panthenol, this treatment strengthens the nails and cuticles. It is applied morning and evening and prevents nail splitting and breakage. It is also possible to add two to three drops of serum into a dollop of hand moisturizer.


  • Regulation (EC) No 1223/2009 of the European Parliament and the Council.

  • LENZ H. & al. A new topical emollient containing panthenol: The effect on skin hydration following single and extended use in healthy adults, and its tolerability in healthy infants. Journal of Dermatological Treatment (2016).

  • VELASCO M. V. & al. Protective effect of conditioner agents on hair treated with oxidative hair dye. Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology (2018).

  • MOORE D. & al. Clinical and in vitro assessment of new anti-redness cosmetic products in individuals with winter xerosis and sensitive skin. International Journal of Cosmetic Science (2019).

  • HELDRETH B. & al. Safety Evaluation of Panthenol, Pantothenic Acid, and Derivatives in Cosmetic Applications. International Journal of Toxicology (2022).


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