Generally associated with shaving, razor bump or shaving bump is a skin condition whose real cause and best method of treatment had, for many years, been a source of concern among skincare experts. One man however rose to turn the tide with his groundbreaking discovery of the biochemistry of shaving bumps formation.
Meet Dr (Pharm.) Aloysius Anaebonam, the renowned international expert on skincare and shaving bumps treatment. In 1999, he became the first scientist to correctly implicate melanin as being responsible for the higher incidence of shaving bumps in black skin.
Dr Anaebonam elucidated and published the biochemical pathways involved in shaving bumps formation and developed a comprehensive ten-product line for its resolution and prevention. He holds 12 United States pharmaceutical patents, and is a co-author of a chapter in the Encyclopedia of Pharmaceutical Technology and the Pharmaceutical Textbook, Tablets Volume II.
Dr Anaebonam has over 30 years pharmaceutical and cosmetic technology experience, including formulation development and testing, analytical method development, quality control, stability testing, process development and scale-up, manufacturing, packaging, validations, regulatory affairs and business development.
He has travelled extensively throughout the world working with top pharmaceutical and cosmetic companies in Italy, Switzerland, France, England, Germany and Japan.
Background and education
Anaebonam Aloysius Onyeabo was born on 25 June, 1955, to the family of George Nwoye Anaebonam and Maria Nneka (Ofoedu) Anaebonam, in Udi, Enugu State, Nigeria. His father, George, commonly referred to as “Akunne” or “Otutu Abagana”, was a well treasured member of his community. He served as the private secretary to the military governor of Eastern Nigeria, Lt. Col. Ojukwu, from February 1966, till the end of the civil war. He also served as the secretary to several local governments in eastern Nigeria at different times before retiring as the deputy permanent secretary of the Ministry of Works, Enugu State, in 1984.
Dr Anaebonam was an exceptional student with a great flair for the sciences. He gained admission in 1973 to study Pharmacy at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, and obtained his Bachelor of Pharmacy degree with first class honours in 1978. He then relocated to the United States in 1980 for further studies and soon obtained his master’s and Doctor of Philosophy degrees in Industrial Pharmacy from the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy, Boston Massachusetts, in 1983 and 1986 respectively.
Dr Anaebonam started his career as a research scientist at Pfeiffer Pharmaceutical Science Laboratories, Boston, from 1981 to 1986. After his doctoral studies, he worked as product development scientist at Fisons Corporation, Bedford, Massachusetts, from 1986 to 1989. He was later promoted to the position of manager pharmaceutical development, Fisons Corporation in Rochester, New York, a position he held from 1989 to 1991.
Dr Anaebonam moved to Ascent Pharmaceuticals, Inc., now known as Ascent Paediatrics, in Billerica, Massachusetts, in 1991. He served as the director of product development and quality control from 1991 to 1994, before being promoted to the position of assistant vice president, product development and quality control, from 1994 to 1996.
In 1996, Anaebonam rose to the position of vice president, product development and quality control, Ascent Paediatrics, Wilmington, Massachusetts. He has been working in this capacity since then. He is also a pharmaceutical and biotechnology consultant assisting start-up companies in drug development, testing, pre-submission reviews and provision of turnkey services for the costing and layout of new pharma and biotech production and testing facilities.
Dr Anaebonam is founder and CEO of BREEJ Technologies, Incorporated, a company that develops and markets the world’s most advanced bump treatment system for skin problems. Established in 1999, BREEJ Technologies also develops and markets advanced personal care products for people of colour worldwide.
Path to prominence
Dr Anaebonam was the first scientist to disagree with the widely held view that shaving bumps are caused by “in-grown” hairs – wiry, curly hairs that curl and grow back into the skin. Ingrown hairs or, more appropriately, entrapped hairs, result when existing shaving bumps block the opening of the hair follicles on the skin, forcing the normally growing hairs to grow into the existing bumps.
Dr Anaebonam postulated that “shaving bumps are primarily caused by the trauma from shaving, resulting in inflammation of the shaved area manifested as ‘bumps’ as the body reacts to the trauma, compounded at times by bacterial/fungal infections. Induction of melanogenesis by irritated keratinocytes during shaving produces additional inflammatory mediators exacerbating the condition. This is the main reason why black people with higher levels of melanin, have a higher incidence of shaving bumps.”
In June 2007, Dr Anaebonam published the definitive paper on the real cause and treatment for shaving bumps, titled “A New Hypothesis for the Cause and Treatment for Pseudofolliculitis Barbae”. Later that year, he presented a paper titled “Shaving Bumps Impact on the Premature Aging of Black Skin” where he linked shaving bumps to premature skin ageing in black people at the cosmeceuticals summit in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, (February 21 to 22, 2007).
Recently, he published an article on shaving bumps – “Pseudofolliculitis Barbae (Shaving Bumps); Ingrown Hairs – Real Cause, Treatment & why Black Men are Disproportionately Affected – Sofw Journal, Thannhausen Germany, Vol 144; March 2018.
Affiliations and achievements
Dr Anaebonam is a member of many notable academic and professional societies, including the American Association of Pharmaceutical Science, the Rho Chi Society, and the Beta Simga Society, University of Nigeria, Nsukka where he served as governor from 1976-1977. He was also the chairman of the New England Chapter of the United States Society of Cosmetic Chemists (1994, 1999, 2009).
Dr Anaebonam holds patents for stabilization of pentamidine isethionate solutions, calcium polycarbophil sprinkles, terfenadine oral powder, and extended release acetaminophen particles among others.
Dr Anaebonam is happily married to Nneka Chinyere Esimai Anaebonam.