A New Hypothesis for the Cause and Treatment for Pseudofolliculitis barbae

It is estimated that 45–83% of the black male population experiences shaving bumps. Other ethnic groups also suffer from shaving bumps, razor burn, bikini bumps and shaved legs bumps, but at a lesser rate. Other ethnic groups with lower levels of melanin do not have the secondary inflammatory effects from the induction of melanogenesis as people of African ancestry do, due to their higher levels of melanin.

Men of color have faced career-limiting re-assignments and major social setbacks due to their inability to get smooth shaves. For example, in the military, with its strict uniform and grooming standards that require clean-shaven personnel, individuals with Pseudofolliculitis barbae (PFB) could face a significant dilemma when it comes to retention and advancement of their military careers. Servicemen are required to be clean-shaven for appropriate gas mask placement around the face. When shaving bumps interfere with the fitting of a gas mask, a potentially dangerous issue in the combat environment arises.4 The problem is similar for fire fighters who have to wear gas. Men in the corporate environment with shaving bumps are self conscious in social settings due to the appearance of their skin.

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