How a Perm Can Damage Your Hair

(c) 2016
(c) 2016

Some of us hate our straight hair or curly hair so we spend tons of money to get it permed to our liking. Perming our hair can make our hair curly or straight for a couple of months and then we go into the salon to get it retouched. However, have you noticed how dry and frizzy hair becomes when perms start fading away? Well, that is because perming hair can severely damage your beautiful locks.


So, how does a perm work?

According to Yale Scientific, “disulfide bonds are key players for the curls that a perm produces.” Disulfide bonds are formed when “two cysteine residues” from the amino acid chain of keratin in hair is on two molecules. A disulfide bond plays the role of keeping the keratin molecules connected so that they won’t slip past each other. These bonds are very strong but does not match with the strength that keratin molecules have – disulfide bonds can be broken with reducing agents that are needed for a perm. Usually for a “cold” perm, curlers are applied onto the hair and ammonium thioglycolate, a reducing agent, is added. Once this chemical enters the hair, disulfide bonds become weak and are able to move freely, following the shape of the curlers. Then, hydrogen peroxide, a neutralizer, is applied onto the hair to “reverse the effect of the reducing agent” and in turn, the hair locks in the shape of the curlers because new disulfide bonds are formed in the keratin molecules.

Permed hair becomes dry and frizzy after some time because chemicals are breaking into the hair to reform the hair structure, and eliminating natural moisture. Hair is meant to keep its natural shape and using chemicals to alter the biological structure damages the hair. Using chemicals strips away hair’s health and body structure so try to keep perming or other chemical usage on hair at minimal.