PABA stands for the chemical compound "para-aminobenzoic acid". It was one of the first active ingredients used in sunscreen to protect against ultraviolet (UV) radiation. PABA is naturally found in grains, molasses, yeast and animal food sources. PABA can also be produced by an intestinal bacterium that exists in the human body, in the liver. PABA only works effectively to block UVB rays. To protect your delicate skin from sunburn you need to apply a sunscreen or sunblock with both UVA and UVB protection.
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In recent years, PABA's popularity as a sunscreen has lessened quite considerably, due to reports that reveal PABA can cause allergic reactions, skin irritations and stain clothing. As a result PABA-free sun protection products were introduced as the first choice for individuals with sensitive skin.
There is an easy way for you to find out if you're sensitive to PABA. Just apply a small amount of sunscreen with PABA to your forearm. Apply an adhesive bandage to cover the area. Remove it after 24 hours and expose the area to sunlight for 15 minutes. If you're prone to an allergic reaction visible redness and itchiness will occur.