PANTHENOL (Pro vitamin B5)

Pro-vitamin B5 (precursor of pantothenic acid = vitamin B5) also known as panthenol, has several interesting properties for the skin:

  • Hydrates and repairs the skin barrier: this activity may be linked to its affinity with water and its ability to retain it. It is this hydrating effect which seems to be linked to its ability to regenerate the epidermal barrier. As the various layers of the skin undergo continuous turnover, moisturizers provide an environment that promotes the physiological processes necessary to maintain or restore skin barrier function. It has also been suggested that dexpanthenol promotes epidermal regeneration by improving epidermal differentiation and lipid synthesis. In a double-blind randomized controlled study on a total of 60 people, dexpanthenol in a 2.5% cosmetic formula improved hydration of the stratum corneum and reduced water loss over 7 days compared to placebo.
  • Reduces irritation: a double-blind, placebo-controlled study in 25 people demonstrated the effectiveness of dexpanthenol in protecting the skin against irritation. The volunteers applied SLS (sodium lauryl sulfate, potentially irritating surfactant) at 2% then an ointment containing 5% dexpanthenol and the hydration of the stratum corneum remained essentially stable on the areas treated with dexpanthenol while on the treated areas with the placebo, there was a decrease in skin hydration. Dexpanthenol, by preserving good hydration of the stratum corneum, allows under the influence of an irritant to reduce the sensations of irritation.
  • Healing: the beneficial effect of dexpanthenol on wound healing is thought to be due to an increase in fibroblasts and accelerated epithelialization which are two important processes for wound healing.

Note: Panthenol has two enantiomers: D and L. Enantiomers are identical structures, images of each other in a plane mirror, but are not superimposable. Only D-panthenol (dexpanthenol) is biologically active.


  • Topical use of dexpanthenol: a 70th anniversary article, Journal of dermatology Treatment, 2017
  • Effect of topically applied dexpanthenol on epidermal barrier function and stratum corneum hydration. Results of a human in vivo study. Arzneimittelforschung. 2000
  • Efficacy of dexpanthenol in skin protection against irritation: a double-blind, pla- 51. cebo-controlled study. Contact Dermatitis. 2003