Panthenol (Vitamin B5)

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What is it? Panthenol (vitamin B5) is a vitamin that is fantastic for skin and hair care. D-panthenol (dextrorotatory panthenol) is metabolized into D-pantothenic acid by the body, and that’s the type of panthenol that works wonders in our formulations.
INCI Panthenol
Appearance You can purchase it as a white crystalline powder or a clear liquid.
Usage rate 1–5% in skin care, with the higher end of the range for more therapeutic applications.

0.75–1% for shampoos and conditioners, 0.5–0.75% for hair styling products. 1% for nail care.

Scent None
pH 8–9
Solubility Water
Why do we use it in formulations? Panthenol acts as a moisturizer by drawing water from deeper layers of the skin into the upper layers of the skin. It helps with softness and elasticity, and is anti-inflammatory. It stimulates skin re-generation and boosts healing.

In hair care it is a small enough molecule to penetrate the hair and moisturize it, helping increase elasticity/reduce breakage. It makes hair softer and shinier, and reduces static.

Do you need it? I highly recommend it.
Strengths Panthenol is an insanely versatile skin and hair care ingredient with a proven track record of awesomeness.
Weaknesses I can’t really think of anything. There’s been a shortage lately so it’s more expensive than it was in 2017, but given the low effective usage rates it is still a very cost effective ingredient.
Alternatives & Substitutions N-acetyl glucosamine, allantoin, and urea share some similarities with panthenol. You can attempt to replace some of the humectant properties with ingredients like a hydrolyzed protein or a humectant, and some of the skin soothing benefits with an herbal extract like calendula.
How to Work with It Include the powdered version in your heated water phase; the liquid version is heat sensitive so it should go in the cool down phase. Both versions can be cold-processed in products that don’t require heat.

If a formulation calls for powdered panthenol and yours is liquid, you’ll need to make some slight modifications as the liquid version is less concentrated than the powdered version. The first thing you’ll need to do is determine the strength of your solution; this is a piece of information your supplier should provide. From what I’ve seen, liquid panthenol products are usually a 50% solution. That means that in order to get the same amount of panthenol, you’ll need to use twice as much, and reduce the amount of water in the formulation to make room for it. So, if a formulation called for 2% powdered panthenol you’d need to use 4% liquid panthenol, and reduce the water in the formulation by 2%.

Storage & Shelf Life Stored somewhere cool, dark, and dry, panthenol should last two years.
Tips, Tricks, and Quirks The “Pro-V” in Pantene is panthenol! V = 5 in Roman numerals.
Recommended starter amount 30g (1oz)
Where to Buy it  Buy it from an online DIY ingredient supplier or Amazon.

Some Formulations that Use Panthenol


Posted on

November 29, 2018