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Meet Panthenol: The Hydrating Skincare Ingredient Everyone Should Have on Their Radar


If you’re anything like us, you see a plethora of skincare ingredients constantly flooding your FYP and IG feeds. But right now, the hot topic is hydrating heroes. Among the most common? Hyaluronic acid, glycerin, and polyglutamic acid. But what about panthenol? It’s the lesser known of the bunch, but not any less effective or necessary for that bouncy, plump skin we all strive for.

Have you seen it before? Maybe you haven’t noticed, but it’s definitely packed in some of your fave moisturizers and serums because of the TLC it can provide for your skin barrier. It’s an unsung hydrating ingredient derived from vitamin B5 and we’re here to let you know just how amazing of a humectant it is, as well as why it should be the next ingredient on your skincare radar.

About the Expert:

Caren Campbell, MD, is a San Francisco and Napa based board-certified dermatologist. 

What Is Panthenol?

Simply put, panthenol is a derivative of vitamin B5 and helps combat water loss from your skin barrier by acting as a humectant. Its superpower is helping your skin retain moisture from all the other goodies packed in your skincare routine. However, what makes panthenol stand out among the other hydrating heroes we know and love is its emollient benefits.Not only does it bind water to the skin, but it also seals all that hydration goodness in. It’s almost like weatherproofing your skin—keeping the good stuff in and bad stuff out.

“Panthenol is a vitamin that helps with the skin's barrier by serving as a humectant that helps moisturize the skin. It helps to produce more lipid building blocks for your skin barrier,” says dermatologist Caren Campbell, MD.

Given panthenol is a humectant and moisturizing ingredient, you’ll likely find it in hydrating cleansers, serums, and lotions. You might even find it in hydrating masks, serums, and toners. Anything claiming to be a hydrating superhero for your skin is worth checking to see if it contains panthenol.

A close of photo of a model's skin with bright and glowy skin on a pink background

What Are the Skin Benefits of Panthenol? 

Hydrates Skin

Given panthenol is a humectant and an emollient ingredient, it does a great job at preventing transepidermal water loss. If you have dry skin or you struggle with flaky patches or even eczema, using a product with panthenol may be helpful.

Repairs and Supports Skin Barrier Functions

Everyone loves ceramides for protecting those protein blocks that make up our skin barrier. You’ll find ceramides in a lot of body lotions meant to heal eczema. Panthenol works very similarly to repair any weakness or compromise in your skin barrier. “Panthenol improves the skin barrier, which helps keep moisturize in the skin and keeps outside environmental irritants and allergens from causing irritation and dryness,” adds Dr. Campbell.

Heals Dryness and Irritation

If you’re part of the sensitive skin crew, or have skin conditions like rosacea, eczema, or psoriasis, panthenol is a skincare routine must-have. Because of its non-irritating and anti-inflammatory properties, it does wonders in healing dryness and any irritation and redness.

Are There Any Skin Side-Effects to Panthenol? 

Luckily, there are no side effects to using panthenol. Actually, it’s often used for wound healing and can be found in a lot of post-sun products to soothe burned skin. It’s safe for use and provides excellent skin hydration. “There are no major side effects to worry about as it is pregnancy and breastfeeding safe with little to no allergy potential,” says Dr. Campbell. 

How to Use Panthenol for Your Skin?

You can likely find panthenol is any hydrating beauty product. As the ingredient grows in popularity, you’ll see it touted on packaging as well. “It's often used as a moisturizing ingredient in lotions, creams, ointments, and serums. It's also used in hair care products as it binds to the hair shaft and increases the shininess of hair,” explains Dr. Campbell.

We love to use a facial cleanser containing panthenol to get our skincare routine off on the right foot. Additionally, looking for a post-pimple treatment (popping happens!) that has panthenol can soothe and speed up wound healing with its anti-inflammatory properties.

Best Skincare Products With Panthenol

1. Best Overnight Panthenol-Infused Treatment:

AVANT Skincare 8 hour Radiance Renewal Sleeping Mask

AVANT Skincare 8 hour Radiance Renewal Sleeping Mask

Looking for an intensive overnight treatment to hit reset on your skin? Look no further than this 8 hour radiance mask from Avant Skincare. It features shea butter, vitamin a, e and panthenol to keep skin soft and supple while targeting the appearance of fine lines.

2. Best Panthenol Product for Eczema:

LA ROCHE POSAY Cicaplast Balm B5 for Dry Skin Irritations

LA ROCHE POSAY Cicaplast Balm B5 for Dry Skin Irritations

You can find this in just about every drugstore skincare aisle. It’s one of La Roche Posay’s top sellers and it can clear up any skin irritation you might be facing. It’s recommended for rough, cracked skin and works well with sensitive skin types. It’s even suitable for babies to help diaper rash and other skin irritations.

3. Best Exfoliating Panthenol Serum:

BYROE Beet Glow Boosting Serum

BYROE Beet Glow Boosting Serum

Want to revive dull skin without all the irritation? This gentle formula is powered by polyhydroxy acids (PHAs) to help buff away dead skin cells while a beet and panthenol combo helps to make sure redness and irritation stay far away.

4. Best Hydrating Panthenol Serum:

NEOGEN DERMALOGY Real Hyal Panthenol Serum

NEOGEN DERMALOGY Real Hyal Panthenol Serum

The hydration is so real with this serum! It’s packed with vitamins (B5, B3, C, and E!) and hyaluronic acid to provide deep and long-lasting moisture. The combination of these ingredients help replenish and strengthen skin’s barrier so you’re left with a soft and supple complexion.

Interested in learning about more FYP-famous skincare ingredients and products to level up your routine? Take our Beauty Quiz now to get started with your own IPSY beauty subscription. Already an IPSY member? Refer your friends to earn points, which you can use toward products. Either way, don’t forget to check us out on Instagram and TikTok @IPSY.

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About the author
Olivia Cefalu
Olivia Cefalu
Olivia is a freelance beauty writer. With experience in influencer marketing at Tata Harper Skincare and editorial at Very Good Light, she loves covering Gen Z beauty, wellness, and nail trends. Read her work on Very Good Light and Well + Good.
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Article Last Updated May 20, 2024 12:00 AM