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The Benefits of Using Panthenol for Hair Care

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It’s everywhere you look. In food, hygienic products, supplements, skincare, and hair care products. It’s panthenol. And although its name sounds all sciencey, panthenol is structurally similar to Vitamin B-5. Actually, panthenol converts into plain old vitamin B-5 into the skin. Well, maybe not so plain, since it does it all! And, boy, oh boy, does it do it all! Check out all the benefits of panthenol for hair health and scalp balance. 

1. What is panthenol & what does it do?
  1.1 Is panthenol safe for hair care?
  1.2 Other names for panthenol in hair care products
2. Why is panthenol important in hair care?
3. The benefits of panthenol for hair health
  3.1 How do provitamins affect your hair and scalp?
  3.2 Vitamin B complex is essential to hair health
  3.3 Panthenol is a humectant and an emollient
  3.4 Panthenol makes your hair shiny
  3.5 Panthenol creates a protective layer
  3.6 Panthenol encourages moisture retention
  3.7 Panthenol reduces thinning, brittle hair
  3.8 Panthenol is effective in leaving your hair smooth and easy to manage
  3.9 Panthenol makes your hair elastic, preventing breakage
4. The benefits of panthenol for your scalp
  4.1 Panthenol deeply hydrates the scalp
  4.2 Panthenol seals in moisture 
  4.3 Panthenol has anti-inflammatory, healing effects
  4.4 Panthenol boosts follicle health
  4.5 Panthenol does not clog the follicles, nor does it create build-up
5. Natural products that contain panthenol
  5.1 Nettle extract
  5.2 Argan oil
  5.3 Avocado butter
  5.4 Jojoba oil
  5.5 Apple cider vinegar

1. What is panthenol & what does it do?

Panthenol is a chemical substance made from pantothenic acid, aka vitamin B-5. It can be from botanical sources or it can be produced by animals. Panthenol is used as an additive in cosmetics. When the body absorbs it, panthenol turns into vitamin B-5. The body needs vitamin B-5 because it aids in making blood cells. It also converts proteins and carbohydrates into energy.

1.1 Is panthenol safe for hair care?

Yes, panthenol was approved as safe for topical use, even in children, by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the European Commission on Cosmetic Ingredients. There is no evidence that panthenol causes harm when added to hair and skincare products. 

1.2 Other names for panthenol in hair care products

  • provitamin B-5;
  • D-pantothenyl alcohol;
  • Dexpanthenol;
  • alcohol analog of pantothenic acid.

2. Why is panthenol important in hair care?

In skincare products, vitamin B-5 is essential because it creates a healthy barrier against irritation, it seals in moisture, leaving the skin and scalp soft, it has a soothing effect, fighting inflammatory processes and it aids in skin elasticity and rejuvenation, leaving a smooth texture and glowing complexion. That means panthenol is vital in keeping a balanced, moisturized, and protected scalp.

Vitamin B-5 also helps rejuvenate damaged hair, as it locks in moisture and combats free radicals' effects. It adds shine, softness, and strength to the hair shaft. It also prevents thinning hair and hair loss. B-5 is involved in follicle health, sustaining healthy hair growth.

3. The benefits of panthenol for hair health

Provitamin B-5 has many beneficial properties for the hair and scalp. Panthenol is used in haircare primarily to retain moisture, as it has a hydrophilic and hygroscopic chemical structure, meaning that it attracts water from the atmosphere and binds it to its molecules.  

3.1 How do provitamins affect your hair and scalp?

Panthenol is a provitamin. A provitamin is a substance that the body can convert into a vitamin, once it’s absorbed. That means the body can get its benefits instantly. Panthenol delivers all the benefits vitamin B-5 has to the hair and scalp – it has anti-aging and anti-inflammatory benefits, emollient and hydrating effects, and protective properties. 

3.2 Vitamin B complex is essential to hair health

B complex vitamins are involved in delivering nutrients to the scalp. They help scalp repair, the hair growth process, and they provide moisture. Biotin (vitamin B7), niacin (vitamin B3) and panthenol sustain hair growth and scalp balance. They combat dryness, fight free-radical damage, and sustain keratin production, boosting hair strength.

3.3 Panthenol is a humectant and an emollient

Panthenol has humectant properties. It can fully penetrate the hair cuticle and it pulls water from the air and seals it in by flattening the cuticle. That's how it aids in moisture retention in the hair shaft. Panthenol spreads evenly on the hair strands and forms a protective film. It also soothes and softens the scalp. 

3.4 Panthenol makes your hair shiny 

The protective coating that panthenol creates on the hair shafts makes them glossy. They reflect the light from the surface of the hair, so the locks seem shiny.  

3.5 Panthenol creates a protective layer

The same smooth film acts as a protective layer. It fights free radical damage and keeps precious moisture within the hair, no matter the outside conditions.

3.6 Panthenol encourages moisture retention

As already mentioned, panthenol penetrates the hair cuticle and adds extra moisture to the hair shaft from root to tip.  

3.7 Panthenol reduces thinning, brittle hair

Panthenol is quickly absorbed in the hair shaft. It provides nourishment from within, keeping the strands strong, far from damage and brittleness, without causing build-up.

3.8 Panthenol is effective in leaving your hair smooth and easy to manage

The smooth film panthenol creates on the hair keeps the strands from tangling. Hair strands become easy to manage, and they are less likely to entangle and form knots. 

3.9 Panthenol makes your hair elastic, preventing breakage

By leaving the hair cuticle smooth and the hair strands coated, panthenol prevents hair breakage and damage. Hair also appears thicker and it becomes more flexible. That means it's less susceptible to breakage.  

4. The benefits of panthenol for your scalp

Panthenol has benefits for the scalp as well. It’s fast absorbed by the skin, as a precursor of vitamin B-5. So it has direct effects on the scalp, such as increased hydration and elasticity, skin rejuvenation, enhanced micro-circulation to the follicles, and boosted hair growth. 

4.1 Panthenol deeply hydrates the scalp

With emollient and humectant effects, panthenol prevents brittle, dull, flat hair. Hair that is prone to damage and breakage often lacks provitamins B. And, more often than not, dry hair starts with a dehydrated scalp. B-5 improves the skin's barrier function. 

4.2 Panthenol seals in moisture 

When the scalp has a strong protective barrier, moisture is maintained intact. Itchiness, dryness, and inflammation are prevented. The scalp remains soft, replenished, moisturized. Panthenol is of good help against flaky scalp and dandruff. 

4.3 Panthenol has anti-inflammatory, healing effects

Panthenol has soothing effects on irritated, dry skin due to its anti-inflammatory properties. Vitamin B-5 reduces the redness, itchiness, and swelling of the scalp. 

4.4 Panthenol boosts follicle health

Aiding in the creation of new cells, reducing damage, and keeping the scalp balanced, panthenol contributes to follicle health. Healthy, strong, nourished follicles mean strong, thickened, vibrant hair. 

4.5 Panthenol does not clog the follicles, nor does it create build-up

While panthenol creates a protective coating of the strands and the scalp, it does not create build-up. It doesn’t have a waxy texture, but is rather water-soluble. It doesn’t clog the follicles, nor does it irritate, or cause scalp acne. On the contrary, it helps soothe irritation.

5. Natural products that contain panthenol

Look for ingredients such as:

5.1 Nettle extract is filled with vitamin B5, and it helps hair growth.

Coconut milk shampoo & conditioner


5.2 Argan oil is a source of vitamins, including B-5. It deeply conditions the hair, repairs damage, aids rejuvenation, soothes scalp irritations, and sustains the scalp’s barrier.

Argan oil shampoo & conditioner


5.3 Avocado butter contains B-5 and is rich in fatty acids that help deliver panthenol’s benefits faster to the scalp and hair.

5.4 Jojoba oil contains B-5 and vitamin E, being a great moisturizing agent and combating oxidative stress. It also has a similar structure to hair’s natural oils. That means it’s non-comedogenic.

5.5 Apple cider vinegar is a great source of vitamins and minerals essential for hair care. Vitamins B1, B2, and B6, biotin, folic acid, niacin, pantothenic acid, and vitamin C make apple cider vinegar a powerhouse for your strands and scalp. 

ACV shampoo + conditioner


You probably can find pantothenic acid in most hair care formulations. We advise you, however, to stick to a more natural approach. Sulfates and parabens free shampoos and conditioners containing botanical extracts, vegetal oils, and essential oils are rich in nutrients and they don’t have harsh effects on your hair and scalp. That means all the active ingredients have fewer free radicals to stop from creating damage.

Iulia Claudia Dumitru

I feel happy when I get to tell meaningful stories. About people. About the world. About life. About what people need to feel good. Healthy food, a balanced lifestyle, a grateful approach to relationships with others and ourselves. That is how I keep myself grounded and purposeful. That is how I aim to contribute: striving to make ourselves the best we can. Creating life in the little things. Living every day with the joy, wonder, and curiosity of a child. Trying to #seeKbeauty. Inside and out.

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