Perms often have a notorious reputation. There are plenty of safety concerns regarding perms that you need to understand before your next visit to a salon or purchasing a home kit. The most important areas to consider before getting a perm is the level of dryness it can create on your scalp, the type of hair loss it might cause, what types of harmful chemicals are used and the hassles of maintenance.
People with psoriasis or extensive dandruff should avoid perms. One way to avoid certain levels of dry scalp is to line your scalp, before applying the perm solution, with either Vaseline or a thick, nonscented body lotion coated in aloe vera. However, be careful not to grease your scalp line too much or else the chemicals of the perm solution might not take to your hair.
Perms, often when self-applied or done improperly, can cause hair loss. Often, if hair has breakage and dries out, it can take six months to a year for a full head of healthy hair to grow back. Unfortunately, perms are extremely popular with older clients for their presumed ease of maintenance, but perms are one of the most unhealthy options for hair care at this age because the hair is at its thinnest and driest. In rare cases, particularly with older clients, not all the hair will grow again along the natural scalp line.
Most chemicals need to set at 212 degrees Farenheit, so chemicals in the perm solution are extremely toxic and can burn the scalp line easily. If you feel burning along your scalp line or if you see pink or red patches of inflamed scalp, immediately rinse.
Maintaining a perm can initially be expensive if you do not already have the necessary hair care products. Be sure to use a pre-conditioner before applying the perm solution and deep conditioner afterward. Do not shower for at least 24-48 hours after rinsing your hair from the initial perm solution to allow your hair time to heal.
Perms can give dull, limp hair a full head of curls. However, not everyone's hair takes to a perm easily. Some hair types and textures might not take to a perm solution, and will cause slight waves or kinky, frizzy hair.
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- "Hair Rules! The Ultimate Hair-Care Guide for Women with Kinky, Curly, or Wavy Hair;" Anthony Dickey; 2003
Randall Jenson is a documentary filmmaker and ethnographic researcher on marginalized communities in America. He received a Bachelor of Arts in anthropology and women and gender studies from DePaul University.