Panthenol for skin: What it is & proven skin-soothing benefits

Panthenol for skin has been recognized to be highly beneficial by dermatologists. This particular skincare ingredient is able to provide hydration, skin soothing effects, and improve skin texture. These effects are achieved from applying topical panthenol directly to the skin.

Woman using panthenol for skin

What is panthenol? 

Panthenol is also called pro-vitamin B5 and is a form of vitamin B5, a vitamin which is naturally found within the skin and hair. In fact, the biologically active form of panthenol, pantothenic acid, exists within all living cells. This is because pantothenic acid exists in all living cells, as it is necessary for metabolism.


Panthenol as a cosmetic ingredient has many uses, and its efficacy has been evaluated in many peer-reviewed publications. 

Panthenol for skin

The effects of panthenol on skin 

The multiple benefits of panthenol for the skin include an effective moisturizing ability, a soothing effect and an increase in the appearance of skin elasticity.



Panthenol is a humectant which means it is a moisturizing agent which draws water into the outer layer of the skin (stratum corneum), from deeper levels and from the air.. By hydrating this layer of skin, panthenol exerts a revitalizing effect which leads to smoother, softer skin.


As well as boosting skin moisture, panthenol-based formulations have been shown to improve the skin barrier function.¹ The skin barrier helps maintain the integrity of the skin and also locks moisture in. The dual effect of both drawing moisture in and preventing it from being lost, means that panthenol helps skin remain moisturized for longer.


Soothing effects

Using daily formulations of panthenol maintains the skin barrier - this leads to a reduction of transepidermal water loss (water being lost from the outermost layer of the skin).


If you have skin sensitivities, you may find that your skin can be less tolerant to the prolonged use of cosmetic products. However, products containing panthenol have been shown to be suitable for use on skin sensitivities,² and can also provide support in reducing the appearance of aging and hydration benefits.  

Panthenol for skin soothing benefits

Uses of panthenol in skin care 

Panthenol has several benefits for the skin - making it suitable for a number of different skincare products.


  • Baby products - Due to panthenol’s high safety profile for both skin and hair, it is suitable for baby products. This includes hair products for babies as well as skin care products such as lotions and soaps. If you would like to learn more about skin care for babies, read Should You Moisturize Baby Skin? for more information.


Panthenol’s gentle moisturizing effect makes it a suitable ingredient to address baby skin concerns; you can find out more about this on the Understanding Baby Eczema page. Some of Cetaphil’s dermatologist tested and clinically proven baby products which include panthenol are our Baby Daily Lotion, Baby Soothe And Protect Cream, and Baby Gentle Wash

Explore more Cetaphil products 

If you’d like to find out more about our products’ ingredients, visit our ingredients page. Here you can learn about specific ingredients in detail, how they could help you to address your specific skin needs, and how to adopt our products into your skincare routine


  1. Camargo, F., Gaspar, L. and Pm, M. (2011) "Skin moisturizing effects of panthenol-based formulations.", Journal of Cosmetic Science, p. Available at: (Accessed: 8 April 2022).
  2. Spada, F., Lui, A. and Barnes, T. (2019) "<p>Use of formulations for sensitive skin improves the visible signs of aging, including wrinkle size and elasticity", Clinical, Cosmetic and Investigational Dermatology, Volume 12, pp. 415-425. doi: 10.2147/ccid.s212240.