Panthenol, Vitamin K, and MSM: The Unsung Heroes of Healthy Skin
OK, I’ll admit that panthenol, vitamin K, and MSM aren’t exactly unknown ingredients, as many serums and creams contain them, but they don’t really get talked about all that much. Popular ingredients such as retinol, vitamin C, and peptides get more attention. Nevertheless, panthenol, vitamin K, and MSM shouldn’t be overlooked. While these three ingredients may not be the impressive powerhouses that the others are, they also serve important functions, such as skin lightening and collagen boosting and strengthening the bonds of skin, all of which make them crucial supplements for your skincare routine. Here’s a little more about these ingredients and the reasons that they shouldn’t be ignored:
Panthenol is a form of pantothenic acid (vitamin B5) that is better at penetrating the skin than other forms of vitamin B5, making it an ideal ingredient in topical skincare products. Panthenol has been reported to reduce itching and inflammation, improve rough skin, and increase skin hydration. Panthenol, particularly the D-panthenol form, has been shown to stimulate the growth of important skin cells and boost the strength of the outer skin layers, which help to protect the skin.
When it comes to moisturizing, D-panthenol and L-panthenol are both great at hydrating the skin, due to their ability to attract water. This makes an immediate difference, but panthenol has long-term moisturizing power as well, because having a healthier outer layer of skin helps to retain hydration.
You can find panthenol in Bio-Vive’s Tri-B Complex Serum and Advanced Skin Care’s Skin Rescue.
Vitamin K is a group of compounds, which include vitamin K1 (found in leafy green vegetables) and vitamin K2 (mostly found in meat, cheese, and eggs). These compounds assist with blood clotting in the body. Vitamin K is not often taken as a dietary supplement because most people get enough from their natural diets. However, some people may be deficient in vitamin K, and taking supplements can help prevent uncontrolled bleeding and even counteract an overdose of blood thinners, according to a WebMD article on vitamin K.
But wait, if its function is primarily blood clotting and most people have plenty of it already, why are we even talking about it in this article? Well, when using it topically for skincare, vitamin K can have great effects on skin elasticity and dark circles around the eyes.
A study conducted by researchers at the University of Maastricht in the Netherlands suggests a link between vitamin K and skin elasticity. The study examined a genetic disease that causes extreme wrinkling, known as pseudoxanthoma elasticum (PXE), and how vitamin K interacted with it. They found that a protein known as MGP inhibits the cause of the wrinkling in PXE and that MGP is activated by vitamin K. People who can’t metabolize vitamin K show signs of PXE as well. While the study wasn’t specifically targeted at those who don’t suffer from this disease, the link between vitamin K and the protein MGP is promising for vitamin K’s use in skincare products that aim to address wrinkles in healthy skin.
OK, this chemical has a name that’s a mouthful and hard to spell: methylsulfonylmethane. Let’s just call it MSM. MSM is a naturally occurring chemical compound that is classified as an organosulfur compound (an organic compound that contains sulfur.) Now, when most of us think of sulfur, we imagine the foul smell that is often associated with it, but sulfur is a component of many essential compounds, including amino acids and several antibiotics. Allicin, the flavor released when garlic is crushed, is another example of such a compound. I don’t know about you, but I couldn’t imagine a life without antibiotics or garlic, so sulfur is pretty important in my eyes.
Back to MSM. It is naturally present in our bodies, as well as in some plants, and in addition to being used as a dietary supplement, it has some interesting uses for the skin and hair.
Hyperpigmentation/discoloration of the skin
MSM is a powerful antioxidant that helps to protect the skin from the oxidative damage caused by free radicals. MSM is reported to be able to reduce the appearance of melasma, or dark spots on the skin. In her book Melasma – Is This the Clear Solution, Vanessa Wild suggests that MSM is able to address the underlying factors that cause dark spots and that it is a natural hormone balancer. In addition, creams that contain MSM seem to help with rosacea, another skin condition denoted by discoloration on the skin.
Vanessa Wild also states that MSM helps to maintain the permeability of cell membranes, causing the skin to better absorb nutrients and vitamins. This is another reason that MSM is a great ingredient in skincare products. This ability to boost the absorption of other skincare ingredients into the skin increases their effectiveness.
MSM can be found in a variety of products, including Advanced Skin Care’s Eye Medic and Retinol Plus serum.