Panthenol: Overview, Uses, and Misconceptions
Panthenol is a common ingredient that is found in a number of hair and skin products because of its ability to attract moisture and build healthier hair. This ingredient, which is a provitamin of B5, is water soluble and is an especially common additive in shampoos and conditioners. Those who use these products may not always read the contents of the bottles, but panthenol is also often found in many personal care items because it helps keep the products more chemically stable. The ingredient is added to protective ointments as well, and sometimes in hair therapy products. While panthenol is generally thought to be safe for use, those who use products with this ingredient should make an effort to understand how it might affect their hair or skin to prevent potential problems.
If you read the label on a random skin or hair care package, it’s likely you’ll find panthenol as one of the ingredients. This is additive is all natural and is derived from vitamin B-5, which can make the hair thicker and shinier. Panthenol works by helping the body create more nutrients specifically for the hair and skin. With better nourishment, cells stay healthier, regenerate faster and are better able to withstand environmental hazards, like radiation from sun rays or an excessively dry environment.
One common misconception about panthenol is that it is a waxy material that creates a sticky feel. The chemical is actually an emulsifier (it helps incompatible chemicals to stay mixed in creams and anti aging serums), which gives it a smooth texture. Panthenol is what is known as a chiral molecule, which means that each side of the molecule is a mirror image of the other. It works because each side has different chemical and biological properties that are either amplified or diminished, depending on the surrounding chemicals, which enables it to keep the surrounding ingredients in flux.
Panthenol’s Main Properties
Another use of panthenol is that of a humectant, which helps skin and hair products absorb and retain moisture. This ingredient has the unique ability to take moisture directly from the air before it binds to hair follicles, which results in hair that his shinier and has more volume. Panthenol also helps those who battle frizzy, unmanageable hair because the ingredient gives hair strands a smoother texture, which in turn makes hair easier to manage. In addition, the moisture that it attracts can prevent hair from appearing dry or fragile.
Because of its properties as an emulsifier, when panthenol is used in skin lotions or creams, it helps them spread over the skin evenly, for complete coverage. This is especially important for a hair product, where the hair strands must be covered from the roots to the ends to be truly effective. The multifaceted panthenol molecules also have the ability to reflect light, which can give hair a healthy shine. While panthenol has a number of positive elements, there are still many questions about this ingredient that make some people hesitate to use products that contain it.
There are a number of benefits to using products that contain panthenol, but there are several misconceptions about it because it’s used in a wide variety of applications. The most common misnomer is that it causes heavy buildup in hair that many contribute to dandruff and oily hair. However, hair care experts dispute this rumor and say that the elements of panthenol could not cause this problem.
Another misconception is that because this ingredient binds so completely to hair that it’s hard to wash out, even with hot water. The chemical does bind to the hair, but since it has no sticky or waxy properties, it will likely wash away easily, depending on its concentration in the hair care solution. If you have any concerns about using panthenol, contact your hair care specialist.