Panthenol at a glance

  • Hydrating ingredient famous for its ability to attract/retain moisture
  • May also help reduce sensitivity-induced redness in skin
  • Often referred to as pro-vitamin B5
  • Converts into pantothenic acid when applied topically
  • White, crystalline powder in its raw material state

Panthenol description

Panthenol (sometimes referred to as pro-vitamin B5) is a popular humectant in personal care products due to its ability to attract and hold moisture. When topically applied, it converts to pantothenic acid, which is a naturally occurring substance within the body.Studies show that 1% panthenol quickly increase skin’s hydration, while decreasing transepidermal water loss (the amount of water that evaporates through skin). The overall result is an improvement in the way skin feels and looks, including a more supple appearance.Research also shows promise for panthenol’s ability to reduce sensitivity-induced redness in skin.Topically applied panthenol in amounts between 1-5% has been reported to aid in healing and barrier repair.It’s important to clarify that even though panthenol is the alcohol derivative of pantothenic acid, but it is a completely gentle and non-drying form of alcohol, unlike SD or denatured alcohol, which are known to be damaging to skin.Panthenol is water soluble and “plays well” with many different types of ingredients, making it easy to formulate with for moisturisers, serums, toners, etc. It is also widely used in hair care products and can be found in makeup products, such as powders, mascara, and lipstick.As a raw material, two forms of panthenol can be incorporated in personal care product formulas: D-panthenol is a viscous oil and DL-panthenol comes in the form of a white, crystalline powder.According to the Cosmetic Ingredient Review assessment from 2018, the highest reported concentration of panthenol in a personal care product was 5.3%, which was deemed safe in its use.

Panthenol references

  • The Linus Pauling Institute, Oregon State University, Accessed April 2021, ePublication
  • International Journal of Cosmetic Science, December 2019, pages 534-547
  • Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, January 2019, pages 346-354
  • Cosmetic Ingredient Review, March 2018, pages 1-51
  • The Journal of Dermatological Treatment, August 2017, pages 173-180
  • Journal of Cosmetic Science, August 2011, pages 361-370
  • American Journal of Clinical Dermatology, Volume 3, 2002, pages 427-433

Peer-reviewed, substantiated scientific research is used to assess ingredients in this dictionary. Regulations regarding constraints, permitted concentration levels and availability vary by country and region.

Ingredient ratings


Proven and supported by independent studies. Outstanding active ingredient for most skin types or concerns.


Necessary to improve a formula's texture, stability, or penetration.


Generally non-irritating but may have aesthetic, stability, or other issues that limit its usefulness.


There is a likelihood of irritation. Risk increases when combined with other problematic ingredients.


May cause irritation, inflammation, dryness, etc. May offer benefit in some capability but overall, proven to do more harm than good.


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Not Rated