Is Panthenol beneficial for our skin?

I’ve been using some skin care products containing Panthenol, which is a derivative of Vitamin B5, and it is commonly referred to as Pro-Vitamin B5. I wasn’t quite sure of its properties when I purchased the products and was kind of disappointed to learn later that Panthenol is the alcohol form of vitamin B5. But it is said to be derived from plants and is used as natural humectant that improves the moisture-retention capacity of the skin and stimulates skin regeneration. It has an anti-inflammatory plus anti-itching effect and is said to be easily absorbed by the skin cells due to its ability to penetrate into the lower skin layers. As such, it makes an effective hydrating ingredient in skincare lotions and creams. In fact, the level of hydration panthenol provides as well as its anti-inflammatory benefits makes it effective in relieving the itchiness and discomfort of eczema, as well as skin rashes.

Used widely in makeup products
So far, I’m quite happy with how my skin is reacting to the products. Apparently, Panthenol also contains antimicrobial properties and can help to control the growth and spread of bacteria. This is why the ingredient is also used in a number of products that treat burns, cuts, scrapes and minor wounds. In addition, it is also used in acne treatments to counteract bacteria on the surface of the skin, and as an oral supplement to prevent bacteria spread beneath the top layers of the skin. I also found that it seems to work well as a face primer and discovered that the ingredient is popularly used in makeup products such as in foundations and concealers, to allow a smoother application of these products, and help create an illuminating complexion.

Pore clogging concerns
However, I read on various sources that hair shampoo or conditioner containing this ingredient can clog pores. Panthenol is widely used in hair care products and treatments to coat and bind to the hair follicles; it helps improve dry and damaged hair, reduce hair splitting, and makes hair easier to comb. Some sources also suggest that panthenol traps oil in pores and clogs them but according to this list from dermatologist, Dr. James Fulton, this ingredient is rated 0 and does not clog our pores at all.

Difference when used in hair products
So I was confused and started wondering if I should continue with the products although so far, they work for me.  Anyway, the Panthenol in my products comes from the naturally occurring D-Panthenol, which is said to contain double the activity compared to the much cheaper ”DL” form often used. It appears that “DL” version is the one commonly used in hair products. In addition, I also read that Panthenol is converted to Pantothenic Acid when used on skin and hence serve cellular metabolism. This is however not the same in hair because hair contain no living cells. I wonder if this is true.

Does anyone use skin care products containing Panthenol? Do share your experience with me!


  1. youngorgeous says:

    if I remembered my a levels chemistry correctly, the lecturer did mention that any ingredients that ends with -ol has alcohol in them. Now that you mentioned, maybe I should read the ingredients list of all the products I use.

    But I hate it when the ingredients list is printed on the box instead of the bottle. There’s a high chance that I will dispose the box without even looking at the ingredients list.

  2. sesame says:

    *sigh* never did chemistry…

    I do suspect with the “ol” cos it seems quite consistent with others containing alcohol. Think the problem with the products I bought was, I was focusing on the vitamin B5 and not paying enough attention to the word panthenol.

  3. Jo says:

    A moisturiser by AESOP which I used to use has D-Pathenol listed as like a major /key ingredient, i never knew what it was!!! I’m still a bit confused after reading your article to be honest!

  4. Raelynn says:

    the one that i remember from Aesop that has pathenol is the B Triple C gel… they claimed that its a synergistic healing when you combine the two together.

    you are right abt hair not having living cells (which is why we dont feel anything when our hair is cut as in we dont feel our hair hurts when we have our haircut. where there are living cells, there are most likely to be nerves).

    i’m actually not too concerned about pore clogging due to the use of pathenol. i think there is a difference between pore clogging where your pores are not clean in the first place and something on top is suffocating the skin and the properties of pathenol where it penetrates the skin to encourage healing, quite a different sense between this and mineral oils and paraffin?

  5. Rinka says:

    its used in haircare… is that maybe where pantene gets its name from?

    its quite funny because i was planning of purchasing kiehl’s panthenol cream as my winter moisturiser. thankyou again for your articles!

  6. sesame says:

    Sorry about the confusion. I am asking some open ended question cos I’m not so sure about the answers. But how is your AESOP moisturizer?

  7. sesame says:

    I am hoping it’s different and that Panthenol really penetrates cos I’m worried it has the same suffocating effect. Maybe I should stop being so paranoid.

  8. sesame says:

    Yes that’s how Pantene got its name. I hope my entry did not change your mind…maybe you should read reviews on it on Makeupalley to find out how others are liking it.

  9. ann says:

    I think the clog pores thing for hair shampoo and conditioner makes sense. Cos I do remember many years back, me and my frens stopped using Pantene as it was causing hair loss. The pores were being blocked causing the hair to become heavy and the root weak. Not too sure how that works on skin though.

  10. sesame says:

    I’m hoping it doesn’t clog the skin cos I’m using the products containing the ingredient.

  11. P.J. says:

    D-Panthenol is a wonderful ingredient, and very much undervalued and underappreciated. I currently use a 5% Panthenol spray after reading many comments about how it deeply moisturizes skin, and helps skin conditions like acne, and I have been thoroughly impressed with the results. My skin cleared up after a week, and a constant scalp irritation I have has improved as well, as my scalp is not so tender anymore. My facial skin is much clearer and brighter now, as it has lessened the natural redness my skin usually has. It has also softened my wrinkles, as I spray it on my face & neck when I come out of the shower, and then apply my usual facial products after it has absorbed. I don’t plan on being without it anymore, because my skin looks really healthy now. Keep in mind the reason some people have had bad luck with Pantene shampoo & conditioner is not due to the Panthenol, but due to the extremely high amount of wax Pantene uses. I had to stop using Pantene because all that wax made my scalp so itchy it was horrible. However, they use wax because it coats the hair and makes it look & feel silky almost instantly -the downside is you get major buildup very quickly on the hair and scalp, so then you have to use a clarifier every few days to remove the wax. Try using Panthenol by itself on your skin & hair, believe me, it is truly a wonderful thing, and you can find it online from companies that sell ingredients to make your own creams. Good luck to you! =)

  12. sesame says:

    Ah I see…so pure Panthenol is also good for hair. I shall hunt around and try see if it’s easy for me to get it from where I am. Thanks for sharing your experience!

  13. Eternal*Voyageur @ Venusian*Glow says:

    I think the confusion arises from the fact that we misunderstand the word alcohol ! There exist many fatty alcohols which are not drying at all. I found this helpful:

  14. sesame says:

    I don’t quite agree that fatty alcohols are not drying. They still are, but not as bad as alcohol denat. They’ve just been promoted as otherwise by skin care makers. Personally, when I use products with lots of fatty alcohols or the ingredient high up on the list, you can almost feel the drying effects upon application.

  15. outgrown says:

    i’m using EcoCare Complex Treatment Pore Serum which has panthenol as one of its major ingredients. I believed it has been helping to relieve the redness of my skin due to mild rosacea ? Btw EcoCare is also a natural skincare brand from Korea and is now available @ John Little in S’pore

  16. sesame says:

    Okay, I’ll check. I think I saw the brand retailing at Guardian too.

  17. Rich says:

    Panthenol is an excellent skincare ingredient. It is not an alcohol like ethanol or methanol which are both drying to the skin. Panthenol is a good moisturiser and has many skin and hair benefits.

    It is very likely that some other ingendient of your hair products is causing breakouts!

  18. Cheryl A Classick says:

    I found pure Panthenol on Amazon, and I am eagerly waiting for its arrival, it sounds like it’s very beneficial, I have problems with roshea, so I’m hoping.

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