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Alum block

Here in India the barbers use one after every shave. Then they apply aftershave lotion. I bought a chunk because it's dirt cheap and used to use it in the beginning. Haven't used it for maybe 5 years now. Perhaps it's time to take it out for a spin. I remember it used to tighten my face up a bit after use. Also burned if I had a nick.
 
I don’t see any use for alum. I can always tell if my skin is sore after a shave by the soreness of my skin after the shave.

I think I mentioned on the forum before, but alum blocks make a great fake ice cube if you want to ruin a friend’s whisky as a joke. So there’s that, I guess.
 
Hated it when I started and love it now. It used to sting like crazy but as my technique improved it’s now as smooth as ice. I like the feedback (lack of feedback mostly) and feel like it improves my complexion. It also works great as a deodorant.
 
I shaved for 45 years before I joined B&B and was introduced to alum. I figured this might be one of those "You don't know what you don't know" things. I may have used it a year when I decided it was a waste of time. Never used aftershave either, but that's for another post.
 
I use an alum block from a local Indian market for $2. It helps provide feedback as to how good my shave was. I apply it right after shaving and leave it on while I clean my gear. Immediately after that, I wash it off (either in the shower or by washing off my face). I apply an aftershave splash and an aftershave balm after that to complete the shave.
 
Does anyone know if there are long-term downsides to using Alum for a deodorant or on the face? For example, can you get over-sensitized to it, or any sort of over-ingestion through pores?
 
Use one occasionally to check on irritation - it gives me feedback on my technique, especially on my neck. Otherwise, I use witch hazel mixed with tea tree oil and peppermint essential oils as my aftershave astringent / skin toner.
 
An alum block is a must for me. After the shave, it tightens your skin and closes your pores. It is effective on small weepers, but after applying, you need a splash of very cold water to complete the process. For larger weepers, styptic is necessary. Alum blocks vary in price because some are formed and some are cut as a single block. Look for the better ones because they perform better. The cheap ones become rough and don't feel very good on your skin when this happens. Also, try and dry it off after each use to keep it smooth.
 
Agree fully with mptbab. The alum block is a key part of my shave. I change razors frequently and the alum block feedback helps me to identify the areas where I need to pay attention with any given razor. Most of the time I have minor feedback but on the days when the block gives no feedback ting at all, I know that I have been right on for that day.
 
Does anyone know if there are long-term downsides to using Alum for a deodorant or on the face? For example, can you get over-sensitized to it, or any sort of over-ingestion through pores?
I have used it as a very effective deodorant for years, as traditional antiperspirants gave my skin severe irritation. It is antibacterial, which is why it is used on the face after shaving. As a deodorant, it neutralizes the bacteria in sweat that cause stink. It is topical, and not absorbed through the skin.

If you are considering trying it, note that alum is a deodorant, NOT an antiperspirant.

The alum block is made of potassium alum, a salt mineral. Antiperspirants contain aluminum chloride, the harmful chemical.

According to the National Library of Medicine,
Aluminum potassium sulfate - https://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/Aluminum-potassium-sulfate

"Potassium alum is considered by the FDA as a generally recognized as safe (GRAS) substance. It is an inorganic salt, also called potassium aluminum sulfate"

And it is not absorbed through the skin:
Absorption
Potassium alum is found in its dodecahydrate form that produces a very large molecule. This large molecule cannot be absorbed through the skin when this substance is included as an astringent agent in topical OTC. If ingested, the aluminum salts are rapidly solubilized in the stomach and then they can generate aluminum hydroxide or poorly absorbed basic aluminum salts.
 
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I have used it as a very effective deodorant for years, as traditional antiperspirants gave my skin severe irritation. It is antibacterial, which is why it is used on the face after shaving. As a deodorant, it neutralizes the bacteria in sweat that cause stink. It is topical, and not absorbed through the skin.

If you are considering trying it, note that alum is a deodorant, NOT an antiperspirant.

The alum block is made of potassium alum, a salt mineral. Antiperspirants contain aluminum chloride, the harmful chemical.

According to the National Library of Medicine,
Aluminum potassium sulfate - https://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/Aluminum-potassium-sulfate

"Potassium alum is considered by the FDA as a generally recognized as safe (GRAS) substance. It is an inorganic salt, also called potassium aluminum sulfate"

And it is not absorbed through the skin:
Absorption
Potassium alum is found in its dodecahydrate form that produces a very large molecule. This large molecule cannot be absorbed through the skin when this substance is included as an astringent agent in topical OTC. If ingested, the aluminum salts are rapidly solubilized in the stomach and then they can generate aluminum hydroxide or poorly absorbed basic aluminum salts.
Wow, that is an awesome answer. Thank you. I really appreciate the time you put in the response.

I am trying it tonight and will report back!
 
I used it in the first part of the wetshaving journey. By now I figured out that my skin feels better if I skip it and go to the AS right away.
 
As far I'm concerned, it's either alum block OR aftershave. They both close the pores and tighten up the skin. The advantage of alum is that it contains no perfume. I don't want to have different perfumes in aftershave, deodorant, cologne etc, and smell like a male brothel. I don't sweat much and never have a bad smell, lucky me, but the wife likes it when I wear EDT.
 
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