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Butylparaben occurs as colorless crystals or a white, crystalline, odorless or almost odorless, tasteless powder.

Nonproprietary Names

  • BP: Butyl Hydroxybenzoate
  • JP: Butyl Parahydroxybenzoate
  • PhEur: Butyl Parahydroxybenzoate
  • USP-NF: Butylparaben

Butylis parahydroxybenzoas; butyl p-hydroxybenzoate; CoSept B; 4-hydroxybenzoic acid butyl ester; Lexgard B; Nipabutyl; Tegosept B; Trisept B; Uniphen P-23; Unisept B.

Chemical Name and CAS Registry Number

Butyl-4-hydroxybenzoate [94-26-8]

Empirical Formula and Molecular Weight

C11H14O3 194.23

Functional Category: Antimicrobial preservative.

Applications in Pharmaceutical Formulation or Technology

Butylparaben is widely used as an antimicrobial preservative in cosmetics and pharmaceutical formulations. It may be used either alone or in combination with other paraben esters or with other antimicrobial agents. In cosmetics, it is the fourth most frequently used preservative.


As a group, the parabens are effective over a wide pH range and have a broad spectrum of antimicrobial activity, although they are most effective against yeasts and molds. Owing to the poor solubility of the parabens, paraben salts, particularly the sodium salt, are frequently used in formulations. However, this may raise the pH of poorly buffered formulations.

Related Substances

Butylparaben sodium; ethylparaben; methylparaben; propylparaben.

Method of Manufacture

Butylparaben is prepared by esterification of p-hydroxybenzoic acid with n-butanol.

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