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Need your advice on alum block - is it a reaction or what?

So, I bought an alum block.

Last week, I shaved, used alum, rinsed off, put on the AS balm. Lit up like a christmas tree. Decided to let my skin heal for a day, and then shaved this morning. This time, the shave went perfectly well (as always with two days growth with me), and when I put on the alum, it didn't sting at all because I was extra careful not to use pressure. Rinsed, balm, looks good. After 3 minutes i return to the bathroom, only to find I had razor burn - again. Now, I do understand I get burned more often, since I'm trying out blade choices, but this was too much. After a couple of hours, only slight signs of irritation. Now, would you say that alum, in my case, causes irritation, or is this a thing like: it gets worse before it gets better?

Thanks!
 
I haven’t heard that it causes serious irritation besides giving feedback on the shave as a toner.

What else did you change product wise? If it’s nothing, you’re going to just have to move on from the alum. Good thing they are cheap!
 
Sorry!

Not sure, but it does sound like you may be sensitive or allergic to the alum. I would consider dropping it from your routine. Perhaps give it one more try after awhile. I will look forward to what others have to say.
 
Try some Witch Hazel for a bit instead of the block. Thayers is affordable and you can get it at most stores. I have allum but usually prefer Witch Hazel unless I’m cut or have a weeper.
Like BigJ suggested, remove it and try to get back to a nice and comfortable shave for a few days.
 
I did change products in a sense that I have changed a razor (though I'm still using a mild one!), and with a new razor, I'm of course going through a sample pack of blades to see which one fits the bill best. But still, I've been shaving for so long I think I know during the shave if I'll be irritated or not, but this shouldn't happen today. Will try dropping it for a few days and see if there's a difference.
 
I've dropped alum from my routine about 6 months into wetshaving this year. I figured that it was very drying and not necessary. My skin/routine doesn't miss it, especially as I have dry skin during the colder months. It didn't light me up though -- skin just felt tight and dry.
 
+1 on the Thayers Witch Hazel! I usually do alum then Witch, but if you’re currently not using WH it’s worth a try. Lots of skin benefits there that alum doesn’t have.
 
When I first started using an alum block post shave I experimented with whether or not to rinse it off and, if so, how long to leave it on for

I found that if I didn't rinse or left it on for longer than a couple of minutes I got red blotches all over face (although no feeling of irritation to be fair)

I now use daily after shaving, rinsing off after about 30-40 seconds and have no problems
 
I've been using Osma Alum block regularly for the past few years, and have never experienced any
problems. But that's for me and my face ---- if you're having issues with "alum irritation," my
suggestion to you is quite simple .... stop using it ! There are many soothing ways to finish up a
fine shave, and if alum doesn't work for you, then try something else. Finish up with a nice
witch hazel splash and a mild balm. Your face may be very happy !
 

KeenDogg

Slays On Fleek - For Rizz
What Alum did you buy? I believe there's more than one type.

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G930A using Tapatalk
 
Najel alum block (potassium alum, not ammonia).

Update: I tried another careful shave, this time without alum. Result - hardly any irritation. Since I've already bought it, I might as well try it as per @Al Bundy 's proposal, so I'll see if it works. Until now, I tried Marco's method of post shave, with leaving it on for appx. 2 minutes before rinsing off. Will try with a shorter period. If it won't work, I'll ditch it.

Thanks all
 

KeenDogg

Slays On Fleek - For Rizz
You've got the right kind. Good luck with it.

Kindly,
Adam

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G930A using Tapatalk
 
I exclusively use Witch Hazel (sometimes with or without alcohol) depends on the how the shave felt. I only use an Alum Block if knicked myself or gave myself a major scraping with the blade to prevent ingrown hairs.
 
I always rinse my alum off with cold water after 30 seconds+ and never had any issues. Sounds like you are allergic to the alum or balm or combination. Alum is usually a potassium salt for shaving most of the time and closes up small skin minuet abrasions. Try just one of the products, alum or just balm if still experimenting. Aftershave or witch hazel with 14% alcohol will do much the same for cleaning and disinfecting abrasions as alum IMO.
 
Thanks, @Ron R , will see where to get it, but Witch hazel isn't all that common in my part of the world, and they sell only expensive wh serums here (imported, of course). Will check if there's a local herb that would act as an alternative.

However, after some deliberation, it might also be the balm's fault. I always got tiny pimples (as if they were ingrowns, but weren't) after using it. Will try them separately in the coming days, with rinsing the alum after 30ish seconds.

Thanks!
 
I’d personally say 2 minutes of alum is a bit long, to the point in which it’s nearly dried on the face. Which some folks allow for, and it works for them. But 30 seconds to a minute should be great!
 
Well, we're getting closer to the solution. So, I tried alum for 30-40 seconds, then rinsing. No irritation, nice puffy skin after AS splash. Now, my new suspect is the AS balm I used beforehand, and maybe I'm allergic to Urea (my significant other says that's the usual suspect with balms and creams, not everyone seems to take urea nicely).

Will try balm without alum tomorrow, and a combination of both on Saturday to see if maybe a mix of both is the issue! (If there's a chemist, is there any reason for not mixing panthenol and urea with potassium alum?).

Thanks.
 
I believe I've had interactions between products cause issues.

If I shave with Vulfix Sicilian Lime cream and then use Truefitt and Hill West Indian Limes balm afterwards I get itchy. Either of them used individually causes no problems whatsoever!
 
Well, we're getting closer to the solution. So, I tried alum for 30-40 seconds, then rinsing. No irritation, nice puffy skin after AS splash. Now, my new suspect is the AS balm I used beforehand, and maybe I'm allergic to Urea (my significant other says that's the usual suspect with balms and creams, not everyone seems to take urea nicely).

Will try balm without alum tomorrow, and a combination of both on Saturday to see if maybe a mix of both is the issue! (If there's a chemist, is there any reason for not mixing panthenol and urea with potassium alum?).

Thanks.
You could check shelf life on the balm, some products have to been thrown out after so many months or years.
 
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