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The Effects of Medications on a Perm

Category Styling
Certain medications can adversely affect your perm. This is a guide about the effects of medications on a perm.


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By 0 found this helpful
March 31, 2017

I am trying to find out where I can get a list of medications that will cause a perm not to take. I have been looking for a list. If anyone knows or has a list please let me know.


April 1, 20170 found this helpful
Best Answer

From Sally Beauty:

Always tell your stylist what medications you are taking, and if you have had any recent surgery, including cosmetic or reconstructive surgery. Because medications are excreted through the hair, they could possibly affect the outcome of a perm. Among the types of medications that affect perm results are hormones or high blood pressure medications which tend to make a perm "take" faster than normal. It is believed that these medications raise the temperature of the scalp which accelerates the perm process. Low blood sugar medication can cause early curl relaxation. Retin-A can cause the scalp to be more sensitive to chemicals resulting in a burning sensation. Iron supplements can cause the hair to be more resistant to perming. Ask your doctor what effect specific medications may have. It is also a good idea to use a clarifying shampoo before a perm.


From Hair Sentinel:

The most common type of interruption results in a type of hair loss called 'telogen effluvium'. The hair falls out because the medication causes it to enter the telogen - or 'resting' phase - earlier than it should.

This type of hair loss doesn't take place immediately after taking the drug, though. In fact, it doesn't usually occur until around 2 to 4 months AFTER taking the medication.

The second type of hair loss associated with certain medications is 'anagen effluvium'. As the name suggests, this kind of hair loss happens at the 'anagen' stage, when the hairs are actually growing. It's caused by the medication acting upon the matrix cells, preventing them from dividing normally and producing new hairs. And THIS type of hair loss occurs very soon after taking the drug involved - anywhere from just a few days to a couple of weeks later.


Anagen effluvium can cause the majority of the hair on the head to fall out and can cause the loss of body hair too, including eyebrows and eyelashes. It's most common among people taking the chemotherapy drugs used to treat cancer - these drugs, unfortunately, destroy or damage the hairs' healthy matrix cells, along with the cancer cells. Chemotherapy-related hair loss seems to be more common and more severe when the patient is taking a combination of drugs, rather than a single chemotherapy drug.

Some women experience hair loss when they stop taking birth control, after having used it for some time. Although the reason for this isn't completely clear, it may be because some oral contraceptives contain something called 'anti-androgens'. Anti-androgens lower the body's testosterone levels... and testosterone can cause hair loss in some women. Once the contraceptive pill is stopped, the protection against the testosterone is taken away and hair loss can be the result.

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July 13, 20140 found this helpful

I had a perm and it did not work. My hair is frizzy and dry like wool. It takes a long time to dry and then it is lank and dull. Is this because of my medication or due to an over processed perm?


By Sandra


July 15, 20140 found this helpful
Best Answer

When I had long hair my regular hairdresser would not not do a "wave" until 4 weeks after I had surgery. He said the anesthesia and antibiotics could have effect on my hair for that length of time.

Not sure about other medications but friends have told me they believe their blood pressure medication affected their hair.

I take a biotin supplement and it has made a big difference in the texture of my hair and also I no longer lose a brush full of hair everyday. Results take several months but it has been worth it to me.

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