Thursday, May 20, 2010

What kind of sunscreen is best for people with eczema?

I had a question on my facebook fan page about PABA free sunscreen and eczema. This person has twins with eczema and wants to know which sunscreen is best to use that doesn't cost too much.

To answer this, I had to do a little research. PABA stands for para-aminobenzoic acid. It is a compound that is related to the synthesis of folate. However, humans lack the enzyme to convert it to folate so there it has no nutritional benefit. It has other uses, such as drugs to treat Pyronie's disease and irritable bowel syndrome but has been widely used in suncreens as a UV blocker. There were some studies in the 1980s that showed it might increase the risk of cellular UV damage. It has also been known to cause skin irritation and stain clothing. Because of these reasons, it has started to fall out of favor in sunscreen.

You can find everything you ever wanted to know about PABA here:

So since patients with eczema are more prone to skin irritation it would make sense that they should have PABA sunscreen.

This site lists some sunscreens that are PABA free but they are all very pricey:

Then I started looking at the more common sunscreens and lo and behold.. the are PABA free!

Coppertone sunscreen is PABA free

Target's store brand (Up and Up) does not say it is PABA free.

Neutrogena makes a PABA free sunscreen

I looked at sunscreens in the store today and none of them listed PABA as an ingredient but they also didn't say PABA free. I think I have come to the conclusion that PABA isn't in sunscreen anymore... can anyone confirm if this is true?

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