Allergies: Is There A Sunscreen That Is PABA Free?
You and your family may encounter skin problems related to prolonged sun exposure. Are you using sunscreen?
“We sunburn easily, but maybe we are allergic or sensitive to our sunscreen. Is that possible?”
Many people do experience skin problems directly related to prolonged exposure to the sun. The risk of skin damage from sunburn is one of those problems. The possibility of different kinds of cancer of the skin or melanoma, is more serious. The reality of allergies or sensitivity to PABA in sunscreens, is yet another area of growing concern.
Sunscreens containing PABA were initially introduced, with the expectation of lessening the danger of sunburn and skin cancer, as well as reducing the incidence of melanoma. It was originally understood that PABA would provide some measure of protection from the ultraviolet rays emitted by the sun.
Another problem became apparent, as people began to suspect that they were sensitive to PABA. Some were having allergic reactions to sunscreen products that contained PABA. Over time, more and more people were proven to be reacting adversely to PABA, in the sunscreen they were using to prevent skin problems. Infants and children were found to be particularly sensitive to PABA. Skin cancer appeared to be on in the increase in those using sunscreen with PABA.
So, if you are a person who is experiencing skin problems after you have applied your sunscreen, you may be one of those people who is sensitive to or allergic to PABA. Do not continue to use that sunscreen.
The skin care product that you are using, should have a label that states what its contents are and thus to get to the root of the problem, begin by checking to see if the sunscreen that you are currently using contains PABA.
How are you to understand PABA allergies and PABA free sunscreen options?
What is PABA?
“Aminobenzoic acid (also known as para-aminobenzoic acid or PABA) is an organic compound with the molecular formula C7H7NO2. PABA is a white crystalline substance that is only slightly soluble in water. It consists of a benzene ring substituted with an amino group and a carboxyl group.” (1)
The benzene ring is where the problem lies, as benzene is recognized as being a known carcinogen.
“In the past, PABA has been widely used as a UV filter in sunscreen formulations. However, it has been determined that it increases the formation of a particular DNA defect in human cells, thus increasing the risk of skin cancer. Currently, safer and more effective derivatives of PABA, such as octyl dimethyl PABA (padimate 0), are more commonly used.” (2)
There are those who have regarded PABA as being a vitamin or more specifically, Vitamin B. Note that PABA is not a vitamin. It is produced naturally, by E-coli in the colon and acts as an intermediate, in the bacterial synthesis of folate. Some people cannot synthesize folate. A lack of folate may cause a deficiency that renders symptoms of scleroderma or hardening of the skin, weeping eczema and vitiligo or white spots on the skin. It is normally found in liver, brewer’s yeast, kidney, molasses and whole grains. (3)
One might ask if there is a 100% environmentally friendly, natural sunscreen on the market, that reduces and prevents the incidence of sunburn and skin cancer.
Before using any skin care product, it is always advisable to seek advice from your own doctor or from a dermatologist, as a skin care product that appears to be appropriate for someone else, may not necessarily prove to be appropriate for you or your family.
Further information on PABA free, natural sunscreen product options, may be found on the following web sites:
Everyone appears to need UV protection from both UVA and UVB rays. UVA rays are understood to do photodamage to the deep layers of the skin and cause some skin cancers, premature aging, dark spots and wrinkles. UVB rays cause sunburn, redness and itching, as well as most skin cancers including melanoma. (4)
It is not the intention of this article to advertise any specific sunscreen product. Note that every product, non-natural and natural, may have some short or long-term, positive or beneficial effects, but may have other adverse or non-beneficial side effects as well.
In the future, it may be proven that the best sunscreen protection one can possibly have is through the enhancement of the body’s own natural self-protection mechanisms. It is also possible that the secret to preventing and resolving skin care problems, may have more to do with the amount of something that is used, than what is actually used. In other words, practice moderation in all things, including the use of sunscreen products.
With regard to understanding PABA allergies and PABA free sunscreen options, in relation to sunburn, as well as skin cancer reduction and prevention, one must suggest “Consumer, become aware!” You do have options.