Vitamin B5, also known as pantothenic acid, is a member of the powerful B-complex vitamin family.
Its provitamin, panthenol (also known as provitamin B5), is the alcohol form of vitamin B5. When lotions, creams, ointments and formulations containing provitamin B5 are applied to and absorbed by the skin, this provitamin is transformed into vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), which has natural broad abilities to moisturize, soothe, heal and regenerate the skin.
Provitamin B5: The Hydrator
Provitamin B5 is commonly billed in personal care products as dexpanthenol, d-panthenol or dl-panthenol and is most noted for its ability to function as a humectant--a water-binding substance that attracts and retains water.
As a humectant, provitamin B5 stabilizes the skin barrier function, reducing the amount of water lost through the skin. By applying a provitamin B5 formulation to the skin, you will not only increase its hydration but improve its softness and elasticity, making provitamin B5 ideal for the treatment of dry, scaly or rough skin.
Provitamin B5: The Healer & Protector
Provitamin B5 goes beyond its role as a moisturizer and acts as a natural skin healer and protectant.
When applied to the skin, it offers relief from itchiness and pain and reduces redness. Wounds treated with provitamin B5 have resulted in regenerated tissue that is more solid and elastic. Additionally, a 2002 "Journal of Dermatological Treatment" study noted that provitamin B5 enhanced the repair of the skin barrier while reducing inflammation. In terms of protecting skin, provitamin B5 acts as a barrier, shielding the skin from skin irritation.
Provitamin B5's effectiveness in hydrating, soothing, healing and protecting skin makes it an effective ingredient in formulations to alleviate the following conditions: acne, bed sores, minor cuts, diaper rash, contact dermatitis (produced when the skin comes in contact with irritants or allergens), eczema, insect bites, scrapes and sunburn.
Provitamin B5: Usage Tips
The importance of absorption: The bounty of provitamin B5 is reaped only if it penetrates the skin. Massage provitamin B5-containing treatments thoroughly into the skin to ensure maximum absorption and effectiveness.
Potency counts: Provitamin B5 typically comes in formulations of 2 percent.
Sensitive skin: A 2002 "American Journal of Clinical Dermatology" paper notes that the topical use of provitamin B5 carries a low risk of adverse reaction such as irritation or sensitivity.
Factor in vitamin B5: Ensure healthy skin by also making sure you intake adequate stores of vitamin B5 via your diet or supplements. Important to building new cells and fighting infection, vitamin B5's daily adequate intake level is 5 mg per day for adults age 19 years and up.
- American Journal of Clinical Dermatology; Topical Use of Dexpanthenol in Skin Disorders; Fritz Ebner, Andreas Heller, Frank Rippke and Irene Tausch; 2002.
- Journal of Dermatological Treatment; Dexpanthenol Enhances Skin Barrier Repair and Reduces Inflammation After Sodium Lauryl Sulphate-Induced Irritation; Ehrhardt Proksch, MD, PhD and Nissen, MD; 2002
- Contact Dermatitis; Efficacy Of Dexpanthenol in Skin Protection Against Irritation: A Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study; Kathrin Biro, Diamant ThaÇi, Falk R. Ochsendorf, Roland Kaufmann and Wolf-Henning Boehncke; Dec 2003
- Medline Plus. The National Library of Medicine (NLM) and National Institutes of Health (NIH)