Approximately 70 years ago, the first topical dexpanthenol-containing formulation (Bepanthen™ Ointment) has been developed. Nowadays, various topical dexpanthenol preparations exist, tailored according to individual requirements. Topical dexpanthenol has emerged as frequently used formulation in the field of dermatology and skin care. Various studies confirmed dexpanthenol's moisturizing and skin barrier enhancing potential. It prevents skin irritation, stimulates skin regeneration and promotes wound healing. Two main directions in the use of topical dexpanthenol-containing formulations have therefore been pursued: as skin moisturizer/skin barrier restorer and as facilitator of wound healing. This 70th anniversary paper reviews studies with topical dexpanthenol in skin conditions where it is most frequently used. Although discovered decades ago, the exact mechanisms of action of dexpanthenol have not been fully elucidated yet. With the adoption of new technologies, new light has been shed on dexpanthenol's mode of action at the molecular level. It appears that dexpanthenol increases the mobility of stratum corneum molecular components which are important for barrier function and modulates the expression of genes important for wound healing. This review will update readers on recent advances in this field.
Keywords: Bepanthen; anniversary; dexpanthenol; skin; topical.