Hi, Matt! Welcome to SMF!
For my routine alum is really a must. I travel a lot and some shaves are under extreme are often. Irritation, minor cuts, burns because of a hurry - alum can treat them all. If you want, you can use another aftershave after it (me not). Anyway all that bad things like burns etc are not apeeares by themselves. Wrong blade choice, wrong soap or cream (like for me Arko works like a charm, but not Tet-a-tet), wrong angle, too much preassure, or maybe your beard is too dry. If your skin like mine becomes too sensitive after hot woter - try cold water shaving! It saves my face when I'm in hurry, but tke care of making lather and massage your face by the brush longer then with hot water. Hope it will help!
-A knifeless man is a lifeless man! -