Stress-Damaged Hair

Q: I have some questions about my hair... I’m not sure if the hair is becoming damaged or curly... I had a similar situation to the person who asked this question.
I always thought I had straight hair, not perfectly straight but reasonably straight. However, I have noticed over the past three years that I had some “super curly hair” (as I have begun to call it). The strands of curly hair I found feel/sound crinkly when I gently run through it with my index finger and thumb.
I have also noticed it is like a longitudinal wave as in the earlier article I mentioned, except the hair thins and thickens where it makes a curve during the curve is thin and the top and bottom of the curves are thicker. They vary from the “super curly” (curves in 2-3 millimeters) to moderately curly (curves every 4-5 millimeters). Curves can be uniform or varying.
This kind of hair pattern can be seen either at the tips/parts of my hair to whole, long strands of my hair. I’m not sure if it’s growing like that or if it’s changing like that. After plucking the long strands of hair the same curly pattern forms in the small, baby hairs that grow from that spot. And when I pluck them, I have moderate pain. I consider this strange since the majority of my hair is fairly straight (even though it is slightly wavy).
I just got a straight perm (does this damage hair?) and 99.99% of my hair is straight, however I occasionally feel the same crinkly feeling of those curly strands of hair even though they are now straight. Those particular straightened hairs still have patterns of thick to thin where the curls would have been.
So is the hair being damaged, changing from straight to curly, or something described in the article I mentioned above (“transition into the shedding phase of the hair’s growth cycle”)? If it helps any, I shampoo my hair once every several weeks at varying intervals and once a week is the most frequent with shampoo and conditioner. I do not use a hair dryer or flat iron my hair. I also notice my mother had “super curly” strands too. There’s also a picture for examples, but the “super curly” hair is not in it, unfortunately.

A: Based on the photo you enclosed, I would say that the hairs in the picture are actually stress-damaged. The shapes are distorted and appear to be the result of styling stresses.
This, of course, doesn’t mean that you don’t have other hairs that are transitioning into new wave patterns due to changes in the follicles as you grow older. It simply means that in my opinion, the hairs you have shown me in the photo indicate some damage to the hair due to styling.
This damage is likely due to pulling from brushes or combs that meet snarls or snags and stretch the hair when pulled on through.
As for whether a straight perm damages the hair, the answer is this: any chemical service causes a stress to the hair. The service uses chemicals to change the configuration of the hair’s chemical bonds and allow the hair to be reshaped from curly to straight, or straight to curly.
The key is to be aware of the changes this causes in the overall condition of the hair and to compensate for the changes in your care routine. Use gentler shampoos, and moisture-rich conditioners, and products that will protect the hair from other damaging sources, such as thermal protectants and serums that will prevent heat styling damages.
See also: Damaged hair