We all love to experiment with different hair styles. While some opt for smoothening or straightening, there are others who may choose to perm their hair! Hair styling has always been one of the core aspects of fashion, cosmetics and personal grooming or braiding.
Over the centuries many factors have influenced hair styling, be it cultural, practical, symbolic or popular. The oldest known depiction of hair styling can be traced back to about 30,000 years, both for females and males.
We opt for different processes to groom our hair like washing, cutting, combing and brushing, braiding, updos and drying. Just like grooming, there are different ways to dress our hair like perming, weaves, coloring and highlighting, extensions, straightening and curling or using permanent relaxers or texturing. While these methods look chic and cool, they do damage our hair to a great extent. Let us find out how perming harms our hair.
Ways Perming can Damage Your Hair
The process of perming hair involves the application of heat on the hair and the use of chemicals. In order to perm ones hair, it needs to be rolled up and then heat and chemical is applied on it. Perming is considered to be an effective way of getting fuller and heavy curls. Nonetheless, hair perming has its own set of drawbacks. It may severely damage your hair, make it frizzy and might also change the texture of your hair, damaging its quality.
Our hair is made up of a protein called keratin which contains bonds of disulphide. Disulphide bonds give the hair its shape or form. The process of perming chemically breaks the disulphide bonds and reforms it based on whatever style the hair is groomed or wound into. Usually this is done with the help of rods, rollers or curlers.
Then, heavy chemicals and heat is applied. Straightening of the hair is done in the same manner. Only this time the hair is ironed flat and straight. Therefore, leads to constant rolling up, straightening, applying chemicals and ironing, damages the disulphide bonds of the hair.
Some of the severely damaging effects are as follows:
- Scalp Damage
- Hair Damage
- Balding Patches
- No Hair Re-growth
- Allergy or Burns on the Scalp
- Fibroid Tumors
- Split Ends
- Pain around the ears
- Texture Change
- Loss of Hair Thickness
- Poor Hair Quality
How Perming Products Affect Our Hair
The most common ingredient in hair perming product is thioglycolic acid. It is an organic compound that contains a carboxylic acid and a thiol group. Thioglycolate likeAmmonium, Butyl, Glycerol, Magnesium, Potassium and Sodium are some of the salts that are used along with thioglycolic acid in perming, haircoloring, permanent wave and depilatory products.
Thioglycolic Acid and the salts are more like a reducing agent that break down the disulfide cystine bonds in the hair cortex. It modifies the hair fibers so that one can get the desired hair style or shape such as permanent waves, heavy curls or straightened hair.
Unwanted hair can also be removed by simply wiping it away from the skin. After applying the perming product, the next step is to wash the hair and treat it with hydrogen peroxide, which is a mild solution. It is more like an oxidizing agent, altering the cysteines back to cystine, forming new chemical bonds.
These newly reformed chemical bonds give structural rigidity that makes the process of hair perming successful. But the consequences of this can be damaging. The hair as a result becomes weaker than before. Repeated applications of the chemical over the same spot eventually cause hair fall, strand breakage or baldness. Some serious olfactory problems can also be an issue.
Ammonium Thioglycolate- Many of the perming products there is a solution containing ammonium Thioglycolate which has a lot of free ammonia. This is what helps to give the swelling effect and rigidity to the hair and is permeable.
Hence, it is always better to give a deep thought before opting for such hair styling to maintain our crown’n’glory!