'What the what' is Panthenol?
Touted for its humectant properties, Panthenol, or pro- vitamin B5 as it’s often called, is Vitamin B5 in a liquid form. This naturally occurring substance is a multi-beneficial ingredient used in hair and skincare.
Why should I care about pathen-er-whatever?
To fully appreciate the ah-mazing benefits of Panthenol, you must understand the structure of hair.
The hair shaft is comprised of three layers:
- The Cuticle- The outermost layer of the hair, the cuticle is made up of shingle-like cells that offer a protective seal around the hair shaft. The “shingle” barrier opens and closes to allow moisture and protein to flow in and out of the cortex.
- The Cortex- As mentioned above, the cortex is the central part of the hair shaft that is protected by the cuticle. The cortex is made of keratin protein and cells that determine hair color, texture, moisture, and overall strength of the hair.
- The Medulla- The medulla is a hollow like structure that is only found inside the cortex in thick hair. The medulla is absent in fine hair.
Damage to the hair's cuticle from heat styling and chemical services allow moisture and protein to escape from the cortex. When the balance of moisture and protein is compromised, hair loses elasticity and flexibility. Damaged hair is brittle, dry, lackluster and prone to tangles.
Here’s where Panthenol's restorative properties come into play.
Panthenol acts as a humectant and penetrates deep into the hair shaft to deliver moisture to restore the damage to the cortex. It also serves as an emollient and smoothes the open cuticle, adding softness and shine. Closing the cuticle creates less friction between hair strands resulting in less tangles and less breakage. Additionally, Panthenol is water soluble and very easily absorbed so it doesn’t create build up. It’s easy to see why pro-vitamin B5 is widely praised for it’s reparative properties.