Dl or D Panthenol

A wise old chemist once told me D Panthenol was best for skincare and DL Panthenol was best for haircare. I am trying to find some literature to support this. Does anyone else support this theory or know of any literature to either confirm or refute this please? Many thanks in advance for your comments and support. 


  • PharmaPharma Member, Pharmacist
    Dexpanthenol is the natural enantiomer (can also be obtained by synthesis) whereas D/L-panthenol is of synthetic origin (cheap synthesis).
    For skincare, biologically fully active dexpanthenol is preferred whereas on hair it doesn't matter (since hair is dead) and hence, the racemic mixture is of higher economical importance in the latter case.
  • Thanks Pharma, do you know of any published literature on this? 
  • SibechSibech Member, Professional Chemist
    edited July 2019
    When you have a formulation that allows for absorption of the panthenol, then D panthenol would be better for skincare as this isomer is the one our cells convert to pantothenic acid (Vitamin B5), as the racemic (DL) mixture contains both active and inactive panthenol.

    however for haircare there is no such need as hair is essentially dead keratin and the cheaper option is better when used only as a moisturizer.

    edit: Pharma beat me to it - but here is an article instead https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/09546634.2017.1325310
    Dabbling Formulator — Qualified Cosmetic Safety Assessor — experienced in claim substantiation & EU regulatory affairs.
  • Thanks Sibech
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