Para-Aminobenzoic Acid, PABA

March 21, 2017

Para-Aminobenzoic Acid, PABA all dosage forms

What is PABA sunscreen?

PARA-AMINOBENZOIC ACID (PABA) is a sunscreen that prevents sunburn and protects your skin from the harmful effects of the sun. Para-aminobenzoic acid is a chemical sunscreen which absorbs ultraviolet (UV) and visible sun light. Limiting exposure to the sun and using sunscreen agents can help prevent early wrinkling and skin cancer. Para-aminobenzoic acid is only available in combination with other sunscreen agents. Generic sunscreen lotions containing PABA are available.

What should my health care professional know before I use PABA?

They need to know if you have any of these conditions:

  • allergy to any local anesthetic

  • herpes infection

  • skin disease

  • an unusual or allergic reaction to PABA, other medicines, foods, dyes, or preservatives

How should I use PABA sunscreen products?

The sun protection factor (SPF) found on the product label tells you the minimum amount of UVB sunlight that is needed with that product to produce redness on sunscreen-protected skin as compared with unprotected skin. Products with high SPFs provide more protection against the sun than products with low SPFs. You should choose a sunscreen product based on the type of activity in which you are involved, your age, site of application, your skin condition, and your skin type. Ask your pharmacist or prescriber or health care professional about which sunscreen product is best for you.

Sunscreen products are for external use only. Do not take by mouth. Apply evenly and liberally to all exposed areas of the skin 30 minutes prior to exposure to the sun. Apply again every 1—2 hours and after swimming, excessive sweating or towel drying. Some sunscreen products contain alcohol and are flammable. Do not use near heat, open flames, or while smoking.

Contact your pediatrician or health care professional regarding the use of this medicine in children. Special care may be needed.

Elderly patients are more likely to have damaged skin through aging, and this may increase side effects.

What if I miss a dose?

If you forget to put on your sunscreen, apply it as soon as you remember.

What drug(s) may interact with PABA?

There are no known interactions between PABA sunscreen products and other drugs.

Tell your prescriber or health care professional about other skin products you are using. Do not apply PABA sunscreen at the same site as other skin preparations without advice.

What should I watch for while taking PABA?

Do not get the sunscreen in your eyes. If you do, rinse out with plenty of cool tap water.

Minimize your exposure to the sun between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. (11 a.m. and 3 p.m. daylight savings time). Take extra precautions on cloudy or overcast days and around reflective surfaces such as concrete, sand, snow, or water. You should also wear protective clothing including a hat, long-sleeved shirt, and sunglasses and avoid sunlamps and tanning parlors.

Sunscreens containing PABA may discolor and stain light-colored fabrics yellow. Allow sunscreen to dry before covering the area to which the sunscreen was applied.

What side effects may I notice from using PABA?

Side effects that you should report to your prescriber or health care professional as soon as possible:

  • acne

  • burning or itching of the skin

  • dark red spots on the skin

  • painful, red, pus-filled blisters in hair follicles

  • pain in hairy areas

Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (report to your prescriber or health care professional if they continue or are bothersome):

  • dry skin, irritation

Where can I keep my sunscreen?

Store below 40 degrees C (104 degrees F), preferably between 15—30 degrees C (59 and 86 degrees F), unless otherwise specified by the manufacturer. Store away from heat and direct light. Discard after expiration date on the bottle.


March 21, 2017


U.S. FDA-approved Package Insert