Hairstyles, Hair Care & Fashion

Perm & Hair Growth Pattern

Q: A few years back, I had surgery on my scalp to remove skin cancer. The plastic surgeon did a wonderful job, leaving only a very thin straight-line scar (no bald spot), not to mention that he also was successful in removing all the cancer! And I am so thankfully grateful for that!
However, to conceal the removed portion of scalp and hair, my entire growth pattern is moved about 2-3 inches to the left. So, of course, my natural 'part', which used to be in the center, is now a somewhat crooked left-side part, as well as the 'swirl' we all have at the crown also off to the left.
So my question is this: When I get a body perm, instead of the center row of rods being in the center, should I ask my hairdresser to follow my *new* natural side-part and crown swirl?
I have had a few perms since this surgery in which she used a normally centered row of rods on the top, and my hair just does not lay right. Trying to force what used to be the right side of my hair to now be the center, as well as what used to be the right-back to now be the crown ... well ... I really am struggling to try to 'retrain' my hair into a new growth pattern. It is NOT working. Should the rods follow my new off center growth pattern? Thank you so much, in advance, for your suggestion.

A: First off, congratulations on your successful cancer treatments. I wish you continued good health.
But to address the issues resulting from your surgeries, let’s approach it from a “new client” perspective:
The goal of a good hairdresser is to create a style that is flattering to the client and works well with the client’s hair specifics. To this end, any style created should take into account any hair issues that are present. In your case, the growth patterns normally found in specific points on the scalp are shifted due to surgery. To cope with this, your stylist should be working to create a style that takes this into consideration.
Rather than trying to force the hair to behave contrary to its growth pattern, you should look at the way the hair NOW behaves and treat that as its “natural” way. If your natural parting is now more of a left-side parting than a center parting, then your new look should take that into consideration.
Working with the hair’s specific characteristics rather than against them can help you create a flattering, easy to manage style. It can also mean less chemical treatments and styling stress on the hair, since you may not need extra services to get the look you want because you’re not working against the natural tendencies of the hair.
Related post: Perms and perming