Background: Dexpanthenol-containing creams have been widely used for treatment of lesions (superficial wounds) of the skin and mucous membranes. Dexpanthenol is converted in tissues to pantothenic acid, a component of coenzyme A. Coenzyme A catalyses early steps in the synthesis of fatty acids and sphingolipids which are of crucial importance for stratum corneum lipid bilayers and cell membrane integrity.
Aim: In the present study, the effects were examined of a dexpanthenol-containing cream on skin barrier repair, stratum corneum hydration, skin roughness, and inflammation after sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS)-induced irritation.
Methods: Irritation was induced by application of SLS in patch test chambers. The dexpanthenol-contaming cream or the vehicle were applied twice daily and barrier repair, hydration, roughness, and inflammation of the skin were determined by using biophysical methods.
Results: Significantly accelerated skin barrier repair was found in treatments with the dexpanthenol-containing cream (verum) compared with vehicle-treated (placebo) or untreated skin. Both verum and placebo showed an increase in stratum corneum hydration, but significantly more so with the dexpanthenol-containing cream. Both creams reduced skin roughness, but again the verum was superior. The dexpanthenol-containing cream significantly reduced skin redness as a sign of inflammation in contrast to the vehicle, which produced no effect.
Conclusion: Treatment with a dexpanthenol-containing cream showed significantly enhanced skin barrier repair and stratum corneum hydration, while reducing skin roughness and inflammation.