Change my view - Panthenol provides no special benefits in hair or skin care products

PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
We had an interesting discussion with the Hyaluronic acid vs Glycerin topic that I thought I'd post another. 

Panthenol.  You see it in lots of hair care products (most famously Pantene) but I also see people putting it in DIY formulas and skin care products. I've never seen any good evidence that it does anything special. 

In hair care, any effect it might have can be gotten better and for less money by using a cationic surfactant or silicone.  In skin care, I'm not even sure what it's supposed to do, moisturizing?  This could easily be gotten in better ways.

So, what do you think?  What's the best evidence that Panthenol provides a unique benefit to any cosmetic formula?

Comments

  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
    Here's a study purporting to look at Panthenol in skin products.

    https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/29f8/5e7b925f71483995027c89bf7d757c64f1a0.pdf

    According to the study, panthenol improves moisturization. Of course, you could easily achieve this with petrolatum or increasing the level of glycerin.  Additionally, the study is single blinded, so the people getting the treatment don't know what the samples are but the people doing the measurements do? That seems sketchy.
  • I do believe panthenol can do something beneficial in skin applications
    (for leave-on applications, it is totally useless in rinse off ones as it all goes down the drain)

    Not surprising since panthenol structure is roughly similar to glycerin which is proven to help moisturization (both are polyols).

    In my opinion, once absorbed, panthenol leaves a less sticky afterfeel than glycerin does.
  • Interesting. I think panthenol is sticky but I didn't compare afterfeel. 
  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
    @Gunther - I guess a reduction in stickiness is good although I think the same could be achieved if formulating with glycerin properly.
  • As per my experience glycols reduce stickiness of glycerin. Also when there’s high amount of petrolatum is used in a formula glycerin ‘doesn’t feel’ much. 
  • This is why I love real people saying real thing and no BS!

    I 'feel' the same about the claim of Panthenol. It is not only very expensive but also nothing special about it.

    The only special thing I found about Panthenol is it is very sticky. Way more tacky than Glycerol at very low concentration. I do not know why this happens. Looking at its structure I think it is the extra naughty Nitrogen, the rest is pretty much Glycerol-esque with the 3 hydroxy groups. The 2 Methyl groups should make it oily but very weakly oily.

    Actually, it depends on how much water is in the mix. High concentration of Glycerol is not sticky if the amount of water is kept constant. But of course we are talking about real-world application where water can evaporate and leave serious sticky residue.  :p

    In all seriousness, that is the reason why Glycerol-based personal lubricant requires repeatedly application or spray water to retain its sliminess. It becomes sticky and rather draggy as soon it lacks water.

    In my humble experience, polyols can be used to detack. Not necessarily glycols. My best cost-effective polyol, humectant, and detackifier is Sorbitol. The most natural, organic, and vegan too! LMAO!

    I am trying to know whether Glycerol is superior than Sorbitol or not in certain ways. I might add a bit, extremely little Glycerol just to enhance moisturisation, speed up healing, turn back time, and all the wonderful claims of Glycerol.  XD
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