Panthenol is a derivative of Vitamin B5, and it is often referred to as "pro-vitamin B5." This derivative is widely used within the cosmetics industry for a variety of reasons. When isolated, panthenol is a liquid that is somewhat transparent, though this liquid dissolves when mixed with certain alcohols and water, which is why it is a preferred cosmetics additive. There are many different uses for panthenol within the cosmetics industry, though it is most commonly added to shampoos and conditioners.
When shampoo or conditioner containing pro-vitamin B5 are applied to hair, it leaves behind a thick transparent residue. Since this residue actually coats the hair, the result is shiny hair. Essentially, this form of Vitamin B5 acts as a type of lubricant for the hair, though it does not thicken or strengthen hair. Panthenol is also frequently added to various ointments and creams, since it can soothe the skin reducing the effects of sunburn, dry skin, and certain skin disorders.
Once a product containing panthenol has been applied to the skin, the skin will absorb this additive thoroughly. As soon as the skin has completely absorbed this derivative, it is then turned into Vitamin B5. Thus, using products that contain panthenol is not bad for the skin. In fact, this Vitamin B5 derivative can even be ingested without harm, though this is not recommended.
Large cosmetics companies often used panthenol in numerous products ranging from haircare products to mascara, though this ingredient is also used by smaller natural companies. Companies that produce natural skin products often used the Vitamin B5 derivative, since it is organic and safe for skin. Therefore, products containing panthenol can be purchased both in large supermarkets and in smaller stores.
Consumers shopping for products containing panthenol should look at complete ingredient lists. Even though this vitamin derivative is not harmful to hair or skin, certain products may contain other harmful ingredients. Some skin and hair experts believe that additives such as mineral oil, petroleum, and glycerin may harm the skin, and these additives are often mixed with pro-vitamin B5.
People who want to purchase natural cosmetics products should search for products that do not have numerous chemical additives. Such products can be found in health stores, online, or through natural cosmetics retailers. While pro-vitamin B5 is not harmful to the skin, other product ingredients have been know to age and damage skin.