While retinol and hyaluronic acid are front-runners in the world of beauty, allow us to introduce you to an unsung skincare hero—Panthenol—that deserves all credit for its phenomenal moisturising properties.
Also known as pro-vitamin B5, it is typically used in hair care products, where it works to strengthen your strands. However, latest research suggests that the wonder ingredient serves a multitude of benefits to your skin as well. Of note, panthenol has risen to become a popular humectant in skincare products due to its ability to attract and bind water to your skin—a moisture-magnet that boosts hydration. Besides, it has emollient properties which help lock-in moisture, allowing the hydration effect to last longer.
"When topically applied, panthenol converts to pantothenic acid, a naturally occurring substance within the body. Research also indicates that 1% panthenol rapidly increases your skin’s hydration, while decreasing transepidermal water loss (the amount of water that evaporates through the skin). Overall, your skin looks and feels fabulous, with a visible improvement in its appearance and alleviation of dryness," explains Desiree Stordahl.
Studies also show promise for panthenol’s ability to reduce inflammatory redness in the skin, and it been proven to aid in superficial wound healing and barrier repair. "Strengthening the skin's barrier is of particular significance since a weak barrier will be overly reactive to any and every external stressor it comes in contact with," she adds. Panthenol can also be combined with other humectants including hyaluronic acid, to maximise skin hydration. Other panthenol-infused skincare products include body washes, moisturisers, serums, essences, and toners; along with makeup products such as foundations, lipsticks, setting sprays, and mascaras.
Apart from skincare, panthenol is prevalent in shampoos and conditioners, as well as in leave-on hair care products to enhance the quality of your hair and repair any damage caused by dyes, heat styling etc. It is also known to be gentle on the skin and has a proven track record of safety—with the highest concentration of panthenol in a personal care product being 5.3%, which was deemed safe by the Cosmetic Ingredient Review assessment of 2018.
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