Dexpanthenol (Vitamin B5)

Vitamin B5 is beneficial for skin moisturizing and in wound healing. Panthenol comes in two enantiomers, L and D. Only D-panthenol, also called as dexpanthenol, is biologically active; however, both L and D forms have skin moisturizing properties It is used in topical form as dexpanthenol, which is basically a stable alcohol analog of Vitamin B5.

Effect on Collagen and Keratinocyte Growth

Vitamin B5 enhances the moisturizing effect on the skin through a beneficial effect on collagen and keratinocyte growth. Professor Daisaku Kobayashi, (1) along with his colleagues, studied the impact of Vitamin B5 on keratinocytes and fibroblasts. They analyzed the growth of these two cell types by the addition of Vitamin B5 in the dish. The second dish was used as a control. They found out that keratinocytes’ proliferation was upregulated, while its differentiation was suppressed in the dish containing Vitamin B5. Moreover, They analyzed and demonstrated that Vitamin B5 upregulated the synthesis of procollagen 4a2 in fibroblasts and keratinocyte growth factors. So, they concluded that Vitamin B5 is essential for keratinocyte differentiation and proliferation, which ultimately promotes skin moisturizing. (1)

Anti-inflammatory Action

Dexpanthenol has a beneficial action of reducing inflammation around the skin. Dexpanthenol is basically converted into pantothenic acid in tissues, which is a component of coenzyme A. Coenzyme A plays a vital role in subcellular signaling pathways and reduces inflammation around the skin. (2)

Epidermal Barrier Repair

As explained above, Dexpanthenol is converted into pantothenic acid, a coenzyme A component, which plays an essential role in the synthesis of sphingolipids and fatty acids. These fatty acids and sphingolipids are of significant importance for cell membrane integrity and for stratum corneum lipid bilayers. (2) W Gehring studied the impact of topical dexpanthenol on skin (epidermal) barrier function. He concluded that topical dexpanthenol massively reduced trans-epidermal water loss (TEWL), and it also improved the hydration of the stratum corneum. So, he suggested that topical dexpanthenol (CAS 81-13-0) improves and stabilizes the epidermal barrier function. (3)

Impact on Skin Moisturizing

Topical Dexpanthenol maintains the integrity of the skin when it is applied along with effective formulations. Flávio B Camargo Jr evaluated that Panthenol- containing formulations causes a significant decrease in trans-epidermal water loss after 30 days application. This formulation also stabilizes the epidermal barrier by upregulating the synthesis of proteins and sphingolipids. With reductions in trans-epidermal water loss and synthesis of essential structural molecules, panthenol-based formulations enhance the skin epidermis’ moisturizing effect. This moisturizing skin impact helps treat skin dryness and maintains a smooth skin texture. (4)

Treatment of Skin Disorders

In this section, we will analyze and evaluate how Vitamin B5 can treat various skin disorders and lesions like psoriasis, eczema, allergy, pruritis, and various forms of dermatitis.

Pantothenic acid is vital for normal epithelial function. Why is it so vital for skin physiology and pathologies? Pantothenic acid is a coenzyme A component, which acts as a cofactor in a wide variety of enzyme-catalyzed reactions essential in the homeostasis and metabolism of fatty acids, carbohydrates, and lipids, sterols, gluconeogenesis, polyphorins, and steroid hormones. So, we can analyze how this Vitamin impacts almost all the important cell metabolic pathways.

We don’t use pantothenic acid as a topical agent because it doesn’t penetrate the skin with much efficacy. Instead, we use dexpanthenol, a stable alcohol analog of Pantothenic acid, as a topical agent, which has good skin penetration.

Wound Healing

As we have discussed, topical dexpanthenol causes the activation of fibroblasts, which plays a vital role in wound healing. Dexpanthenol causes both the proliferation and differentiation of fibroblasts, which then speeds up the wound healing process. It also accelerates the re-epithelization in wound healing by upregulating and stimulating keratinocyte proliferation. So, dexpanthenol can be really effective in injuries that cause gross skin damage such as stabbing, cut, or lacerations. Dexpanthenol also causes platelets’ activation, which are the primary cells involved in the wound healing process. Dexpanthenol performs these functions by interacting with enzymes and subcellular signals involved in the second messenger pathway. New research into the process of wound healing (across inflammation, proliferation, and remodeling) has highlighted the importance of intervention at all three phases, with multiple simultaneous actions required as soon as possible after injury, continuing until wound closure and beyond. Wound management preparations should actively modulate the three stages of wound healing, and several strategies exist that can support the body’s natural processes, including the use of dexpanthenol. Dexpanthenol may assist wound healing in all three stages by modulating inflammation, supporting cell proliferation, and protecting against infection and free radical damage. Dexpanthenol supports the remodeling phase and contributes to the prevention of scarring through its hydrating properties. If there is a risk of a wound being infected, an antiseptic should be used as soon as possible after injury, ideally combined with a compound that promotes epidermal keratinocyte proliferation, such as dexpanthenol; this should be continued until wound closure to reduce the risk of wound infection. (4)

Impact on other skin pathologies

Topical dexpanthenol treats various skin pathologies by maintaining skin softness and elasticity, acting as a moisturizer, reducing transepidermal water loss, improving hydration of the stratum corneum, reducing inflammation and erythema by its anti-inflammatory effects, by directly influencing the homeostasis and metabolism of fatty acids, carbohydrates, lipids, sterols, gluconeogenesis, polyphorins, and steroid hormones, and by synthesizing of essential structural molecules. (4)

Professor Fritz Ebner conducted research to study the impact of topical dexpanthenol on psoriasis induced skin irritation. Topical dexpanthenol was applied to the skin for 3/4 weeks, and results were analyzed and evaluated. Skin irritation and roughness were markedly improved in patients owing to its positive impact on transepidermal water loss. Skin inflammation, irritation, and dryness, which we experience in skin pathologies like psoriasis, eczema, and dermatitis, was also considerably diminished after treatment with dexpanthenol. Apart from that, It was also evaluated that topical dexpanthenol had also considerably improved the scaling, erythema, pruritis, and erosion/fissures. (5)

Protection from Free Radicals

The body needs to control and tolerate the toxic free radicals that fight various infections, while concurrently protecting itself from their deadly effects. Dexpanthenol may aid this process by reducing the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and decreasing tissue damage. An in vitro research found that both pantothenic acid and panthenol inhibited (NADP) nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate-dependent reactive oxygen species (ROS) production in fibroblasts. As we have explained above that panthenol comes in two enantiomers, L and D. Only D-panthenol, also called as dexpanthenol, is biologically active; however, both L and D forms have skin moisturizing properties. The upregulation of the anti-inflammatory and cytoprotective protein HO1 after pantothenic acid or panthenol treatment was also evaluated, and a functional assay demonstrated a post-treatment decrease in the production of reactive oxygen species. (6) (7)


We have disccussed all the beneficial impacts of Vitamin B3 and Vitamin B5 in detail. We have explained how Niacinamide and Dexpanthenol directly influence the skin cell’s metabolic pathways and upregulates the synthesis of various important structural proteins and sphingolipids. These vitamins can treat psoriasis, eczema, and various dermatitis types when applied topically on the affected skin surface.

They can reduce the redness and blotchiness effectively and can diminish the inflammation because of its anti-inflammatory actions.

They can treat skin allergy effectively, as well. Both Niacinamide and Dexpanthenol can treat allergy by maintaining the skin’s structural integrity by reducing the trans-epidermal water loss (TEWL) and their anti-inflammatory effects. Dexpanthenol can help in the wound healing process and can be used to treat skin scars and spots. So, we must use both Vitamin B3 (Niacinamide) and Vitamin B5 (Dexpanthenol) for treating these skin pathologies.


1- Kobayashi, D., Kusama, M., Onda, M., & Nakahata, N. (2011). The effect of pantothenic acid deficiency on keratinocyte proliferation and the synthesis of keratinocyte growth factor and collagen in fibroblasts. Journal of pharmacological sciences115(2), 230–234.

2- Proksch, E., & Nissen, H. P. (2002). Dexpanthenol enhances skin barrier repair and reduces inflammation after sodium lauryl sulfate-induced irritation. The Journal of dermatological treatment13(4), 173–178.

3- Gehring, W., & Gloor, M. (2000). Effect of topically applied dexpanthenol on epidermal barrier function and stratum corneum hydration. Results of a human in vivo study. Arzneimittel-Forschung50(7), 659–663.

4- Camargo, F. B., Jr, Gaspar, L. R., & Maia Campos, P. M. (2011). Skin moisturizing effects of panthenol-based formulations. Journal of cosmetic science62(4), 361–370.

5- Ebner, F., Heller, A., Rippke, F., & Tausch, I. (2002). Topical use of dexpanthenol in skin disorders. American journal of clinical dermatology3(6), 427–433.

6- Childs DR, Murthy AS. Overview of wound healing and management. Surg Clin North Am. 2017 Feb;97(1):189–207.

7- Reinke JM, Sorg H. Wound repair and regeneration. Eur Surg Res. 2012;49(1):35–43.

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