Is it safe for a chemo patient who has now grown back their hair to get a perm?
Is it safe for a chemo patient who has now grown back their hair to get a perm? (And, I'm still getting chemo.)
The new hair that grows in after a round of chemotherapy is very delicate and prone to breakage, so treatments such as perms and hair dyes are not a good idea. Chemotherapy drugs affect the health of the follicles in the skin that produce the hair, so you don't want to introduce new chemicals that could damage the hair shaft just as it's becoming healthy again. Also, the results might not be what you have in mind -- some strands could take the curl while others remain straight.
And if you're still undergoing chemotherapy, a perm is not a good idea at all, because the perm chemicals could interfere with the effectiveness of the chemotherapy itself.
You will probably need to wait several months after completing your last round of chemo before experimenting with perms or dyes. Most cancer patients find their scalp is very tender during chemotherapy, and for some it continues to be unusually sensitive for up to a year after stopping chemotherapy. If this is true for you, you probably won't be able to tolerate perm chemicals until your skin toughens up. See our article on chemo-related hair loss for more information.
The way to find out is to have your hairdresser do a strand test (or do one yourself if you're home perming) to make sure your scalp can handle the chemical solution before you apply it to your entire scalp.
Thank you this was very helpful. My Mom wants a perm in a bad way. At the moment she is in the mist of under going her second round of Chemo (which has been going on for a year now). She is very unhappy with her appearance, her hair is very fine and flat, she can't do anything with it. We feel for her beacuse we want her to feel good about herself. My Sisters and I cringed when she scheduled an appt. for a perm today because we don't want her to hurt herself or the chemo treatments. This helps us to explain the reason "not to get a perm" yet.
Thanks for your help