Molecule of the Week
August 7, 2006
Benzocaine, a common ingredient in sunburn remedies and first aid creams, is a topical anesthetic—it numbs the nerve endings near the surface of the skin where it is applied. This ethyl ester of p-aminobenzoic acid (PABA, a common sunscreen ingredient) can react with compounds in sunscreens and hair dyes or produce an allergic reaction.
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