Q: Hi there, I was just wondering: how long after getting a perm do I have to wait to swim in a pool?
A: Well, most salons will advise that you give your hair between 48 and 72 hours after a perm service to allow the hair to return to
its normal balance before you do anything like shampoo your hair. Some salons advise against getting the hair wet at all during this
period. Most of these advisements come as a result of the need to prevent people from doing things that would end up damaging their freshly-permed hair.
The perming process tends to leave the hair more porous than it was prior to perming, because the
chemicals used to create the curl patterns raise the cuticle layer of the hair and allow moisture to pass more readily into and out
of the hair shaft. The waiting period give the hair time to ďresetĒ to its more-natural balance and lets the cuticle layer settle
back down. This means that until the cuticle layer closes fully, anything that can have an effect on the hair can do so more readily.
The chemicals used in swimming pools and hot tubs to condition the water and control fungus and bacteria growth
(such as chlorine) can be very harsh to the hair under normal circumstances, and to permed hair they can be doubly so if you arenít
careful. I suggest waiting at least three days after perming before you get your hair wet in a swimming pool. This would preferably
be after youíve had your first shampoo and conditioning treatment post-perm.
I know they arenít fashionable to many women, but you could also try a swimming cap to protect
your hair. If this isnít an option, remember to rinse your hair with fresh water every time you come out of the pool (so that the
chlorinated and chemically-infused water doesnít sit on your hair any longer than necessary). And you should be using a swimmerís
shampoo and conditioner after every swim as these contain ingredients to neutralize the effects of chlorine and other common pool
chemicals. This is a good idea whether your hair is permed or not if you swim a lot.