Para-Aminobenzoic Acid (Paba)

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How does Para-aminobenzoic Acid (paba) work?

PABA is used as a sunscreen because it can block ultraviolet (UV) radiation to the skin.

Are there safety concerns?

PABA is safe for most people when applied directly to the skin. When taken by mouth, it seems safe if taken correctly. PABA can cause skin irritation and might also stain clothing with a yellow color. Nausea, vomiting, upset stomach, diarrhea, and loss of appetite might sometimes occur.

Taking more than the recommended dose of 12 grams a day can cause serious side effects such as liver, kidney, and blood problems.

When applied directly to the skin, PABA appears safe for children, and also for pregnant and breast-feeding women. Although PABA might be safe for children to take by mouth, serious side effects can occur.

Do not take PABA by mouth if:
  • You are pregnant or breast-feeding.
  • You have kidney problems.

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Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.


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