There are plenty of ingredients in beauty that do wonders for the skin and hair. Specialized ingredients form the basis for all the products we reach for each day that are tailored to our needs. Someone figured out that a particular compound was good for this use and the industry set about trying to figure out how to properly refine it. This is how we found out that vitamin C has a myriad of topical uses and that the secret ingredient in several natural astringents was salicylic acid. This is the story of the beauty industry. People also routinely promote ingredients that don’t actually do anyone any good. They claim all sorts of miracles and the products using the ingredients fail to deliver time after time. It seems like new miracle products turn up every year. That is what can make it hard to trust beauty products sometimes. With that in mind, we’re looking into an ingredient that we know works: panthenol.
What Is It?
Panthenol is B5 provitamin. This is a fancy way of saying that it is a chemical that your body is capable of converting into vitamin B5 on its own. Vitamin B5 has some potential associations with increased wound healing and hydration. In general, it may help wounds to heal a little cleaner than they might otherwise. Panthenol itself is generally used in a liquid or foam form that is easy to spread on the skin or through hair. This varies depending on the product and its intention. Liquid forms are particularly good when used as an ingredient in a thicker product like a cream that will give the ingredient time to rest on the skin. You’ll want it to do so if you expect to get any benefits from it though.
Panthenol is capable of penetrating into the skin with a high degree of effectiveness compared to many other products. This is partly due to your body knowing exactly what to do with the compound once it recognizes it. It will begin the process of converting it fairly shortly after contact. One of its better potential uses is as an anti-inflammatory. Anyone who struggles with a chronic skin condition like acne or eczema knows that inflammation plays a prominent role in helping to make breakouts and flare ups worse than they would otherwise be. Inflammation is a big problem when it comes to taking proper care of the skin. Soothing the skin is only one step in this though. Once soothed, the potential boost to healing may kick in further and help the wound heal a little faster and cleaner over routine use. It should be noted that the evidence for a pronounced effect is rather low, but there does appear to be some effect.
The bigger benefit that most people notice is that panthenol is capable of helping hydrate the skin. You’ll typically see it in dry skin and anti-itch products as a result. This is where its anti-inflammatory and hydrating properties overlap. You’ll want to look for panthenol when you’re trying to find a good, general purpose hydrating ingredient. It isn’t quite the specialist ingredient that hyaluronic acid is, but it remains effective. Ensuring you’re using a product with ingredients of the appropriate strength is key to avoiding overhydrating your skin and accidentally causing a breakout by trapping too many of your natural oils close to your skin. You will typically see panthenol in lighter products as a result. Foaming and lotion-based products are typically the best options for topical application. It is sometimes used in liquid form for hair and scalp care though.
Panthenol is one of those beauty ingredients that we know works, but frequently has its abilities oversold. It is good, but not great when compared to similar ingredients. You can expect it to help manage dry skin and potentially inflammatory conditions if the issues aren’t too strong. Remembering to do research and finding out about the ingredients in your products will keep your well-informed and capable of ensuring you only get the products best for your skin.