Panthenol AKA Vitamin B5: The Secret Weapon Revealed
In food, it’s called vitamin B5 and if you eat even a semi-healthy diet, you’re probably already getting a ton of it — everything from your avo toast to a spicy scallop roll, even a slice of pizza has some.
But, in your skincare products, it’s called panthenol, and like a refreshing Hydro Flask of water, it’s one of the best things you can do for your skin when it’s feeling dehydrated.
Where Does Panthenol Come From?
It’s always, always a good idea to question where the ingredients you use come from especially the ones you put on your skin — you know, your body’s largest organ.
Panthenol has a good answer: it’s an ingredient derived from vitamin B5 (or pantothenic acid) which is an essential nutrient for your body as a whole. Like we mentioned before, it’s in almost everything you eat — seriously, its name comes from the Latin pantothen, which means from everything. The catch there is that it can come from both plant and animal sources, which isn’t necessarily bad, but if you prefer vegan products make sure to also look out for a vegan seal if it’s on an ingredient list.
Panthenol in Skincare Products
If pantothenic acid is already in everything, why do you need to worry about it? Well, because even though you’re already getting it inside your body by eating, when applied topically it has a whole list of other benefits that you’re probably missing out on.
If you’re wondering if it’s in any of the products you already use also look for out for its other names: pro-vitamin B5 and dexpanthenol.
Why Pay Attention?
We’re especially into it right now (and probably forever after) because it’s super hydrating and it’s so gentle that it can be used on even the most delicate skin. P.S. We’ve already talked about the differences between moisturization and hydration, but it’s a crucial convo, so here’s a refresher).
Aside from it’s heroic hydration benefit, panthenol also does these super things:
Conditions your skin
Acts as an anti-inflammatory
Restores your skin barrier
Sounds almost too good to be true; so, the next question that comes to mind would be: Is panthenol safe? Our answer is yes. Seeing as it has pretty much zero risk of toxicity, we think it’s pretty much the definition of “all good”.
Don’t Waste a Single Drop
We could talk for days (and we have) about how a healthy skin barrier is one of the best ways to keep your skin mood feeling zen on the regular.
In case you don’t have all day, here’s the cliff notes: just as much as you need a strong skin barrier to act like a bodyguard to keep irritants out, you also need it to seal the good stuff in... like those expensive products you use.
This is exactly why we nerd out about panthenol so hard: Not only does it deliver the hydration your skin needs for that supple look you’re going for, it also helps restore the protective barrier that keeps it there.
TL;DR the more regularly you use panthenol the better it works.
Wait But, Isn’t Alcohol Bad for My Skin?
If you’re already a label-reading expert, you can tell by the “enol” at the end of its name that panthenol is an alcohol. So, you might have given some side-eye when you saw the word hydrating. Let’s fact check for a second:
Before you start thinking that we are suggesting something like doubling your gin and tonic as a friday-night unwind and your serum, know that when it comes to skincare alcohol isn’t bad it’s just misunderstood.
Just like there are good and bad fats for your body (like avocado vs. string cheese), there are good and bad alcohols for your skin.
Alcohol got its bad reputation from forms like ethanol, isopropyl alcohol, and methanol, which dry you out — so, yes, still stay away from those. But, in the right cases, you actually DO want an alcohol around, especially when it’s a hydrating one like panthenol, because it helps products penetrate the skin. Read: you’re getting more mileage out of your products when it’s on the ingredient list.
Can Panthenol Help My Acne?
It’s still unclear if panthenol can do anything to prevent or get rid of zits, but does have anti-inflammatory and soothing properties.
Cutting-edge research has shown it can calm irritation, stimulate skin regeneration and help with wound healing. If you’re using it along with the things your dermo recommends, it can aid the long-term skin recovery process that happens after your acne has chilled out.
Will Panthenol Make My Skin Glow?
Glow is a hot word in the beauty industry right now and, to be honest, we’re not 100% sure what that means and how it shows up on all the different skin types. What we do know, is that panthenol will brighten your skin mood.
Hydrating means supple, healthier-looking skin with less fine lines; anti-inflammatory equals less redness; And, skin conditioning translates to smoother skin.
Basically, we’ll give it a glowing review.