What to Know About Panthenol

Medically Reviewed by Debra Jaliman, MD on February 29, 2024
3 min read

Panthenol comes from vitamin B5 and is a moisturizing compound. It can come from either animal or plant sources.

Panthenol can be found in the ingredients in hair conditioners or body wash. Panthenol is used commonly in skincare and cosmetic products.

Panthenol comes from pantothenic acid. These compounds naturally help your skin and hair look and feel better. By using products with panthenol in them your hair might look shinier and feel fuller. 

This is due to the way panthenol reacts to the surface of your skin. It moisturizes and makes your skin feel soft and smooth. 

A vitamin B5 supplement might help with your metabolism or cholesterol levels. 

You can try eating foods with vitamin B5 before you turn to a panthenol supplement. Pantothenic acid occurs naturally in many types of food. You may also be eating food that it’s been added to. Foods that usually contain vitamin B5 include: 

  • Meats like beef, poultry, and seafood
  • Milk and eggs
  • Vegetables like avocados, broccoli, mushrooms, and potatoes 
  • Whole grains like whole-wheat bread and brown rice
  • Peanuts, sunflower seeds, and chickpeas

A vitamin B5 deficiency is very rare. Most people get enough in their diet. There is a rare hereditary disorder called pantothenate kinase-associated neurodegeneration. In rare cases of a deficiency, you may feel the following symptoms: 

  • Numbness and burning in your hands and feet
  • Extreme tiredness
  • Irritability
  • Feeling restless
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Headaches
  • Stomach pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Loss of appetite

If you are experiencing these symptoms you should talk to your doctor immediately. They can determine if you have a deficiency and prescribe the proper treatment.

Panthenol works well on your skin because vitamin B5 is extracted with ethanol or benzyl alcohol to dissolve into your skin. This type of topical treatment includes other vitamins and amino acids that are good for your skin.

When you put panthenol on your skin it converts into vitamin B5. The vitamin is then absorbed into your skin. You are most likely to find panthenol as an ingredient in products as an oil (D-Panthenol) or a creamy white powder (DL-Panthenol). 

You can find panthenol in many common self-care and cosmetic products. 

Hair products. If you are looking for a moisturizing and nourishing hair product, you’ll find many shampoo and conditioners with panthenol. It is also in many styling gels, hair mousses, hair sprays, and detanglers. 

Skincare products. You can find many products with panthenol for your self-care and skin care routine. These include facial moisturizers, face masks, serums, facial cleansers, toners, eye creams, sunscreens, makeup removers, bubble baths, and shaving cream products. 

Cosmetic products. When it comes to your makeup you’ll find panthenol in items you use every day. This includes some mascaras, foundations, brow liners, eyeliners, lipsticks, bronzers, highlighters, and setting powders or sprays. 

Baby products. Because panthenol is safe for skin, you can even find some baby products with it. These include baby shampoo, lotion, soap, and sunscreen. Be sure to monitor your baby’s skin to determine if certain products give them skin rashes or not. 

There aren’t many significant risks of using panthenol. The FDA considers panthenol to be a nutrient or dietary supplement that’s safe. Panthenol is a vitamin that can be used in topical treatments or taken as a supplement. 

The FDA has also said that it’s safe when used in your common makeup or personal care products. Studies have shown that there is a very low risk of getting irritated skin if you use panthenol. This could be due to the relatively low levels found in your everyday products.

Use topical creams with 1% to 5% of panthenol concentrations in them to see better results for your skin. Products with these concentrations are proven to improve hydration and absorption in your skin. 

Your body requires vitamin B5. Taking panthenol as a supplement if you don’t get enough in your diet is beneficial. Vitamin B5 can help regulate your metabolism. Talk to your doctor before making any major changes to your diet or adding a vitamin B5 supplement.