[Skip to Content]
[Skip to Content Landing]
May 22, 1948

PERMANENT WAVE PROCESS: Clinical Report With Special Reference to the Effect of Ammonium Thioglycolate on the Skin

Author Affiliations


From the Department of Dermatology and Syphilology and the Kettering Laboratory of Applied Physiology of the College of Medicine of the University of Cincinnati.

JAMA. 1948;137(4):354-357. doi:10.1001/jama.1948.02890380024007

It has been estimated by manufacturers of chemicals employed in permanent hair-waving procedures that some "permanent wave process will be carried out at least fifty million times during the current year."1 There is then, an apparent need for a critical study of the irritant properties of the chemicals so casually applied to the hair and scalp.

Permanent hair-waving methods are classified by Reed, Humoller and DenBeste1 into two main categories. Briefly, in the "hot method, the hair is treated with an alkaline sulphide preparation and wrapped around a rod of small diameter. Heat is then applied to change the configuration of the hair from a straight to a curled state." In the "cold method, the hair is also wrapped around a rod of suitable diameter either prior to or after treatment with an alkaline reducing agent—usually thioglycolate. In contra-distinction to the hot permanent waving method, no external heat