Panthenol Properties and Uses
Panthenol is used in cosmetics and other consumer products such as pharmaceuticals and biocides. Its wide variety of applications is explained by its properties, most notably the ability to attract and hold moisture and the capacity to enhance skin repair.
Liliana Teles

Liliana Teles

Regulatory Affairs Manager

PANTHENOL AS A COSMETIC INGREDIENT

Panthenol is an alcohol derivative of vitamin B5, which is also known as Pantothenic Acid. Panthenol and pantothenic acid have the same biological activity and panthenol can be converted by oxidation to vitamin B5 in the skin. Pantothenic acid is found in all living cells and is essential for normal metabolism and hormone production.

In cosmetics and personal care products, panthenol is used as an antistatic, hair conditioning and skin conditioning agent. This ingredient can be used in two forms: D-Panthenol (viscous oil) and DL-Panthenol (crystalline powder). Only D-Panthenol (Dexpanthenol) is biologically active, but both forms have moisturising properties. When used in cosmetics, it is usually present in its D-form or as racemic mixture.

Panthenol is often used in hair conditioners, shampoos, hair sprays, make-up products, skin moisturisers and other products for skin care. On the skin, panthenol can act as a lubricant, giving it a soft and smooth appearance, and also enhance the appearance and feel of hair (e.g., improving its texture). Panthenol is widely used as humectant in cosmetics because of its ability to attract and hold moisture.

The Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) Expert Panel has assessed the safety of Panthenol in cosmetics and concluded it was safe as a cosmetic ingredient when used at the present practices of use and concentration described in the report. According to data received from the 2017 FDA’s Voluntary Cosmetic Registration Program (VCRP), Panthenol was used up to 5.3% in leave-on cosmetics and up to 5% in rinse-off products.

The CIR Panel concluded that panthenol has low potential for systemic toxicity at high doses. This ingredient is not mutagenic in vitro. In several animal and clinical studies, panthenol was non-to-mildly irritant, but it was considered to have minimal potential to cause sensitization and irritation. It was neither photoirritant nor photosensitizer.

When administered in an adequate vehicle (e.g., water-in-oil emulsions), dexpanthenol topically applied has good skin penetration and reaches high local concentrations. Topical applications of these compound are well tolerated, with minimal risk of skin irritancy or sensitization.

The low concentrations of use of panthenol in cosmetics and personal care products and the requirement of vitamin B5 for normal metabolism suggests that the dietary exposure levels to this ingredient would greatly exceed the amount that could be absorbed from cosmetic use.

OTHER USES OF PANTHENOL

There are several studies about panthenol (especially dexpanthenol) and its activity on the skin. Creams containing dexpanthenol have shown to significantly accelerate skin barrier repair when compared to placebo. These creams also reduced skin redness (a sign of inflammation, which was induced by sodium lauryl sulfate) and roughness, while enhancing the hydration of the strateum corneum. Dexpanthenol has proven to be able to reduce transepidermal water loss, maintaining skin softness and elasticity. In vitro and in vivo studies show that this compound elicited activation of fibroblast proliferation, which is relevant in wound healing.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) includes panthenol on its list of nutrients and/or dietary supplements Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS). D-Panthenol is an ingredient approved by the FDA in prescription drug products for use as injectable vitamins. Panthenol is listed as an ingredient that may have chemical activity in wound dressing.

The FDA also includes Panthenol on its list of Over-The-Counter (OTC) drug products that are not generally recognized as safe and effective or are misbranded (“Insect Bite and Sting Drug Products” and “Poison Ivy, Poison Oak, and Poison Sumac Drug Products”).

In the European Union, D-Panthenol is employed in several pharmaceutical presentations (e.g., ointments, nasal sprays), being commonly used in repairing creams. According to the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), dexpanthenol is used in cosmetics and personal care products, pharmaceuticals, air care products, biocides (e.g., disinfectants, pest control products), polishes and waxes and washing and cleaning products.

If you wish to get more information on panthenol or other related ingredient, do not hesitate to contact us at info@criticalcatalyst.com.

References:

  1. Regulation (EC) No 1223/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30 November 2009 on cosmetic products.
  2. Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) Expert Panel. Safety Assessment of Panthenol, Pantothenic Acid, and Derivatives as Used in Cosmetics. 2017.
  3. Camargo FB Jr, Gaspar LR, Maia Campos PM. Skin moisturizing effects of panthenol-based formulations. J Cosmet Sci. 2011 Jul-Aug;62(4):361-70.

further
reading

cosmetic products

How are Cosmetic Products Regulated in India?

The different expectations and needs of consumers are continually changing and therefore the cosmetic industry needs to be gradually evolve to meet the new consumer’s demand. In this regard, India has recently introduced some regulatory updates to ensure that cosmetics placed on the market are safer for all consumers.

Read More »
cosmetic products

Is Phenoxyethanol Safe for Use in All Cosmetic Products?

Phenoxyethanol is a common preservative used in cosmetic and personal care products worldwide. It has been subject to various safety assessments and most concluded about its safety under the current most frequent uses. Nevertheless, some concerns were raised by the French Agency ANSM, particularly regarding its use in products intended for the nappy area in children up to 3 years old.

Read More »
cosmetic products

Cannabis-Derived Ingredients in Cosmetic Products

Cannabis-derived ingredients are popular compounds with interesting properties. There is specific EU and national legislation regarding cannabis-derived ingredients, identifying which extracts and derivatives may be used in cosmetic products. There are several aspects to consider to ensure compliance when adding these compounds to cosmetics and personal care products.

Read More »
cosmetic products

Cosmetic Products Testing in the European Union

A cosmetic product which is made available on the European Union market needs to prove that it is safe for consumers. Apart from the mandatory testing, depending on the claims to be used or the type of cosmetic product to be placed on the market, additional tests may be required.

Read More »
cosmetic products

European Commission Report on Nanomaterials – 2021

The European Commission is required to submit to the European Parliament and the Council an annual status report on the use of nanomaterials in cosmetic products and to review the provisions concerning nanomaterials in the European Regulation (EC) No 1223/2009 on cosmetic products. In July 2021, the Commission has issued its latest annual report on this subject.

Read More »
COVID-19

New EU Commission Recommendation for PPE and Medical Devices – COVID-19

PPE and Medical Devices have proven to be essential for healthcare workers in the efforts to contain the COVID-19 outbreak. In March 2020, the EU Commission urged the economic operators to increase rapid supply into the market. Currently, the Commission considers that the conditions for exceptional access to market are no longer met, limiting the placing of PPE and Medical Devices which have not successfully undergone the relevant conformity assessment procedures applicable on the EU market.

Read More »
cosmetic products

Animal Testing Ban in Mexico

Mexico has become the first country in North America to ban animal testing in cosmetic products. There are now 41 nations in the world that do not allow cosmetics to be tested on animals.

Read More »
cosmetic products

New Amendments to the European Cosmetic Regulation

Commission Regulation (EU) 2021/1099 of 5 July 2021 sets out that Deoxyarbutin should be prohibited in cosmetic products and that the use of Dihydroxyacetone should be restricted in non-oxidative hair dye products and in self-tanning products. This results in one new entry to Annex II and one new entry to Annex III of the European Cosmetic Regulation, respectively.

Read More »
cosmetic products

50th Amendment to the IFRA Code of Practice

On June 30, IFRA announced the notification of the 50th Amendment to the IFRA Standards. The Standards form the basis for the globally accepted and recognized risk management system for the safe use of fragrance ingredients and are part of the IFRA Code of Practice. The amendment introduced one update to the Standards and one new prohibited substance – Mintlacton.

Read More »
cosmetic products

Fullerenes and Hydroxylated Fullerenes

Fullerenes and Hydroxylated Fullerenes have shown interesting biological activity and have been gaining interest from several fields, including the cosmetic industry. These substances are not regulated under the Cosmetic Regulation (EC) No. 1223/2009. However, there are concerns of potential absorption of nanoparticles with their use in cosmetic products. As such, the SCCS is mandated by the European Commission to assess the safety of Fullerenes and Hydroxylated Fullerenes until the end of 2021.

Read More »
cosmetic products

New Packaging Material and Labelling Requirements in South Korea

Korean cosmetic products are among the most popular products in the beauty industry, representing one of the leading global markets for cosmetic products. With consumers’ increased concern with the environment and demand for recycled and recyclable materials, South Korea is adapting its regulations to become more ‘eco-friendly’ and empower brands and consumers alike using innovative waste management processes.

Read More »
cosmetic products

Regulatory Framework for Cosmetic Products in South Korea

South Korean cosmetic products are among the most popular products in the beauty industry. But how are these products regulated? Safety is one of the major goals of South Korean cosmetics regulations and the country has been aligning its regulations with the European Union.

Read More »