May 31, 2016

Para-Aminobenzoic Acid (Paba)

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What other names is Para-aminobenzoic Acid (paba) known by?

4-Aminobenzoic Acid, ABA, Acide 4-aminobenzoïque, Acide Aminobenzoïque, Acide p-aminobenzoïque, Acide Para-Amino-Benzoïque, Acide Paraaminobenzoïque, Acide Para-Aminobenzoïque, Acido Para Aminobenzoico, Aminobenzoic Acid, Aminobenzoate Potassium, Bacterial Vitamin H1, Ethyl Dihydroxypropyl Aminobenzoate, Glyceryl Paraaminobenzoate, Octyl Diemthyl PABA, P-Aminobenzoic Acid, Padamate O, Para-Aminobenzoate, Vitamin B10, Vitamin Bx, Vitamin H1, Vitamine B10, Vitamine Bactérienne H1, Vitamine Bx.

What is Para-aminobenzoic Acid (paba)?

Para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA) is a chemical found in the folic acid vitamin and also in several foods including grains, eggs, milk, and meat.

PABA is taken by mouth for skin conditions including vitiligo, pemphigus, dermatomyositis, morphea, lymphoblastoma cutis, Peyronie's disease, and scleroderma. PABA is also used to treat infertility in women, arthritis, "tired blood" (anemia), rheumatic fever, constipation, systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), and headaches. It is also used to darken gray hair, prevent hair loss, make skin look younger, and prevent sunburn.

PABA is best known as a sunscreen that is applied to the skin (used topically).

PABA doesn't seem to be taken by mouth as often as it used to be, possibly because some people question its safety and effectiveness.

Effective for...

  • Sunburn. PABA is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use as a sunscreen. PABA seems to be effective during sweating, but not when skin is submerged in water - during swimming, for example.

Possibly Effective for...

  • Peyronie's disease. PABA is FDA-approved for use in this skin condition.

Possibly Ineffective for...

  • Treating a condition that causes hardening or thickening of the skin (scleroderma). Although PABA is FDA-approved for scleroderma, there is only limited evidence that it is effective. Some research studies suggest it might help for some symptoms of scleroderma, but the most convincing evidence shows that it does not help.

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...

  • Skin condition called dermatomyositis. PABA is FDA approved for this skin condition. However, there is only limited evidence that it is effective.
  • Eye infection caused by herpes virus (herpes keratitis). Early research suggests that using a specific PABA eye solution (Actipol) as eye drops can be effective for treating herpes keratitis.
  • Patchy, white skin (lichen sclerosis). Early research suggests that PABA can improve symptoms of lichen sclerosis.
  • Patchy hardened skin (Morphea). PABA is FDA approved for use in people with this skin condition. However, there is limited evidence that it is effective.
  • Skin condition called pemphigus. PABA is FDA approved for use in people with this skin condition. However, there is limited evidence that it is effective.
  • Skin condition called vitiligo. PABA is FDA approved for use in people with this skin condition. However, there is limited evidence that it is effective.
  • Arthritis.
  • "Tired blood" (anemia).
  • Constipation.
  • Headaches.
  • Preventing hair loss.
  • Darkening gray hair.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of PABA for these uses.

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).


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