Panthenol ingredientDESCRIPTION

Panthenol is the alcohol analog of pantothenic acid (vitamin B5), and is thus a provitamin of B5. Pantothenic acid occurs organically and can also be produced from plant and animal sources. Pantothenic acid exists widespread in nature, like in egg yolk, liver and kidney, yeast, wholegrain cereals and legumes.

It’s used as an additive (stabiliser) in various cosmetic products around the globe. It terms of functionality it is mostly used as a moisturizer and to improve wound healing.

Panthenol is a clear, viscous and hygroscopic liquid, almost colourless and odourless. It is miscible with water in all proportions.

History and/or folklore: Pantothenic acid was discovered by American biochemist Roger John Williams in 1933. Its name derives from the Greek. Pantothen means from everywhere, as it is common in the world. Approximately one half of Pantothenic acid is lost during the production of flour and one third during the heat treatment of meat.

Biochemistry: You will sometimes see panthenol listed under one of its other names on ingredients list, including dexpanthenol, pantothenol, D-pantothenyl alcohol, butanamide, alcohol analog of pantothenic acid, provitamin B-5.
When absorbed into the body, panthenol becomes vitamin B-5.


In pharmaceuticals, cosmetics and personal-care products, panthenol is a moisturizer and humectant, used in ointments, lotions, shampoos, nasal sprays, eye drops, lozenges, and cleaning solutions for contact lenses.

In ointments it is used for the treatment of sunburns, mild burns, minor skin injuries and disorders (in concentrations of up to 2–5%). It improves hydration, reduces itching and inflammation of the skin, improves skin elasticity, and accelerates epidermal wounds’ rate of healing. For this purpose, it is sometimes combined with allantoin.

It binds to the hair shaft readily; so, it is a common component of commercial shampoos and hair conditioners (in concentrations of 0.1–1%). It coats the hair and seals its surface, lubricating the hair shaft and giving it a shiny appearance.

It is also recommended by tattoo artists as a post-tattooing moisturising cream.


Both the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the European Commission on Cosmetic Ingredients have approved panthenol for use in cosmetics. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) classifies panthenol as “possibly safe” for general topical applications and nasal sprays. And it’s listed as “likely safe” for topical use by children.

The Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR), another reputable organization that protects consumers, assembled a panel of experts in 2017 to assess panthenol’s topical safety in light of recent research.

This review board found no significant evidence that cosmetic products containing panthenol irritate or otherwise harm the skin, except in case of allergy. Bad reactions to topical panthenol are extremely rare. But when side effects do occur, they usually take the form of contact dermatitis.
It’s still important to remember that, from the perspective of the FDA, there isn’t sufficient evidence to officially give panthenol a “safe” designation. But the CIR notes that the amount of panthenol in cosmetics shouldn’t pose harm when absorbed into the body, since much higher levels of vitamin B-5 already occur in our food. So, there’s no significant evidence that topical panthenol will cause systemic problems.
Most of the researches on panthenol suggest that using a concentration of 5 percent and under in a topical skin, hair, or nail product presents a very low risk to consumers. And the instance of negative side effects, like contact dermatitis, is very low.


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