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Except where noted otherwise, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C, 100 kPa)
Panthenol is the alcohol analog of pantothenic acid (vitamin B5), and is thus the provitamin of B5. In organisms it is quickly oxidized to pantothenate. Panthenol is a highly viscous transparent liquid at room temperature, but salts of pantothenic acid (for example sodium pantothenate) are powders (typically white). It is soluble in water, alcohol and propylene glycol, soluble in ether and chloroform, and slightly soluble in glycerin.
Panthenol comes in two enantiomers, D and L. Only D-panthenol (dexpanthenol) is biologically active, however both forms have moisturizing properties. For cosmetic use, panthenol comes either in D form, or as a racemic mixture of D and L (DL-panthenol).
Panthenol's expanded chemical formula is: HO-CH2-C(CH3)2-CH(OH)-CONH-CH2CH2CH2-OH.
In cosmetics, panthenol is a humectant, emollient and moisturizer. It binds to the hair shaft readily and is a frequent component of shampoos and hair conditioners (in concentrations of 0.1-1%). It coats the hair and seals its surface, lubricating the hair shaft and making strands appear shiny.
In ointments, Panthenol has good skin penetration. It is sometimes mixed with allantoin, in concentrations of up to 2-5%, and is used for treatment of sunburns, mild burns and minor skin disorders. It improves hydration, reduces itching and inflammation of the skin and accelerates and improves healing of epidermal wounds.
If ingested, panthenol is metabolized to pantothenic acid.
Other names for panthenol are: