Allergy to Badger Hair?

Discussion in 'Shaving Brushes' started by JMT, Jul 21, 2006.

  1. JMT


    Lately after shaving I have noticed little red bumps after shaving that disappear after about 1 1/2 to 2 hours. The bumps are primarily concentrated around my chin where a Goatee would be if I had one. I was thinking back to when this started happening and I am pretty sure it did not begin until after I got my Kingsley Pure Badger brush. Up until then I only used Boar Bristle brushes.

    This week I decided to only used my Proraso Omega Brush to see if the bumps returned. They did not. I used a different lather product everyday and I three different razors to make sure that it was the brush and not something else.

    The result.
    No bumps.

    My question is. Has anyone ran into this before? Do you think I would still get the bumps if I used a different grade of hair? I have been thinking about getting a SR-208 but I do not want to spend the money and then find out that I just need to sell it because I can't use it. I get great lather from my Proraso brush so I certainly do not need another brush, SBAD has set in.

    Also, has anyone tried synthetic brushes? What was your opinion of them?

    Any advice or responses would be appreciated.

  2. mrob

    mrob Moderator Emeritus

    Joel tried the Man-U synthetic brush a month or so ago and loved it.

    Oh, Joel!! Your advice is requested here. . .:biggrin:
  3. Hi Jim
    Cyril R Salter does a good synthetic brushes hair they are just as good as any brush
  4. I have heard that there is at least one reasonable synthetic brush, but for the life of me I don't recall what one it was. As for having an allergy to Badger hair, well, I suppose it is possible but I haven't heard of it before now. Before you give up on badger I would suggest that you clean the brush (the hair) really well (soak it in a borax solution and then give it a good shampoo-and-condishioner washing)... If there is any "stuff" (such as chemicals,etc) left on the hair from production/shipping/whatever it might get it nice and clean... and with any luck that would make you able to use your brush again.

    Make sure that you let us know how this progresses for you.
  5. Austin

    Austin Moderator Emeritus

    Men-U does make a fine synthetic brush. Nevertheless, red bumps are usually indicative of razor burn.
  6. Scotto

    Scotto Moderator Emeritus

    Well, some people's skin is sensitive to aggressive scrubbing. It is possible that the softer brush is easier on your skin. Do you really work the lather into your beard aggressively, or are you a "painter"? I also agree with the point that it would be difficult to deconvolve this with razor burn. I would think it unlikely you are sensitive to badger, but hey, ya never know.
  7. I don't doubt your wisdom here... but I've suffered from allergies for most of my life (mild though they are) and I've noticed that some do manifest as little razor-burn-like red bumps... and I know that my allergy-related little-red-bumps have not been razor burn since I don't ever recall having them on an area that I shave.
  8. JMT


    This was the first thing I thought of when I realized the bumps did not appear until after I got the brush. I gave the brush a shampoo and condition when I bought it and then later I gave it a borax treatment followed by more shampoo and conditioner. I really was hoping this would solve the problem but, there was no difference, that is what made me try using only the boar hair brush this week.

    Thanks for the response,
  9. JMT


    Scotto and Austin,

    Regarding razor burn, I thought that was all it was for over a month. If it was razor burn would switching brushes make a difference?

    The proraso brush does actually feel softer to me than the pure badger. So your suggestion of the brush being to hard on my skin is a definite possibility. I usually try to swirl the lather on using the brush tips and not too much pressure. With the huge Proraso brush however I think I do more of a painting technique. :confused2


  10. Well, in light of this information I would suggest the following - but a big, soft brush... :biggrin:

    How is that for the standard B&B advice (buy something!)?
  11. JMT


    That is kind of where I thought this was going to go.:rolleyes:
  12. Yeah, a Kent BK12 would fit the bill.
  13. Jim, I made the comment as a joke but it does seem that is the advice for everything... I think that the B&B'ers have a little consumption problem.

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
  14. Jim

    Jim Moderator

    Immediately place that brush in a sturdy box and ship it here- I will do extensive testing to determine your best course of action....:biggrin:

    Really though good luck- I cannot add anything that has not been said already!

  15. htownmmm

    htownmmm Moderator Emeritus

    Amazing how the collective shares the same thoughts!

  16. JMT


    This might be a stupid question but What is Man U... I thought it was a soccer team.:wink:
  17. Here you go...
  18. Hi Jim,
    Allergies are tricky. On the one hand your problem is cofined to only one part of your face while your brush is used on your whole face. On the other it seems that you have very likely eliminated all other potential variables other than the brush change.

    It is actually pertty common for allergic reactions to be localized. Most people get hives on either their face/neck or hands/feet as the result of a food allergy for example. But your issue sounds like contact dermatitis (skin rash caused by an area physically making contact with an allergen) which would likely cause the reaction not to be localized. But like I said, allergies are tricky.

    I don't think it's a terrible idea to try another badger brush. Some people are allergic to cats but not dogs, etc. A different grade or a brush made from a different batch of hair may treat you just fine. Of course if you are already getting great results from the boar brush I really see no reason to buy another one. You will though, we all do.
  19. guenron

    guenron Moderator Emeritus

    Contact dermatitis sounds highly possible.. Lather the underside of your arm and your belly.. See if you get any eruptions.
  20. JMT


    After shaving today I got the red bumps again w/o using the badger brush. It occurred in the same place on my face. I think it has to do with the across the grain pass I perform on my chin. I normally only do two NS passes on my chin but today I was looking for a closer shave (even though my normal shave is very close). After shaving across the grain the bumps were apparent and they faded after about an hour.

    I think tomorrow I will try the badger brush and just a normal NS sahve on the chin and see what happens.

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