If you’re planning a major hair transformation, it’s worth checking your menstrual cycle against your calendar when you book in that bleach appointment.
Ask any hair colourist and they’ll advise you not to get your hair bleached right before your period begins.
Why? Because all that bleach on your scalp will hurt more than usual.
That’s because your pain sensitivity changes throughout your hormonal cycle. The bad news: just as you’re getting plagued with cramps and feeling teary at the sight of puppies, that’s when you become more sensitive to pain and it’ll feel like nasty stuff hurts more. Great.
The good news: knowing that means you can schedule around it, avoiding unpleasant sensations in the days before or during your period.
Sophie Hilton, founder of Not Another Salon, tells Metro.co.uk: ‘Ask any hairdresser in the works and they will tell you that time if the month is a factor.
‘We know purely by experience of watching clients twitch in our chair.
‘But scientifically there is a reason too, your pain threshold is much lower sure to a drop in oestrogen, and that goes for everything.
‘I always say to my clients “bleaches, waxes and any 50 Shades of Grey malarkey is off the cards”.’
This isn’t just one of those old wives’ tales. Science backs up the idea that you’ll find those scalp tingles more irritating when it’s a few days before your period starts – because you’ll find everything gets more sensitive around this time of month.
Dr Alex Eskander, Consultant Gynaecologist at The Gynae Centre, says: ‘I have had patients report a sensitivity to pain just before menstruation.
‘This can occur due to the accumulation of blood in the uterus which results in uterine contractions; this opens the cervix, releasing the period blood 2-3 days later.
‘These mild contractions result in cramps before and during the period, making the uterus sensitive to touch.
‘Some women may notice pain or sensitivity during intercourse due to this.
‘Additionally, research from the University of Michigan (2003) has suggested that changes in women’s estrogen levels, like those that occur during the menstrual cycle and pregnancy, can affect pain sensitivity.
‘The study shows that high estrogen levels can lead the brain’s natural painkiller system to respond by releasing endorphins which suppress the pain signals to the brain.
‘When estrogen was low, this same painkiller system didn’t control the pain nearly as effectively, resulting in a higher sensitivity to pain.’
It’s worth noting that not everyone responds to their menstrual cycle in the same way. Some women report being more sensitive during menstruation, whereas others show the complete opposite trend. As with lots of things to do with women’s health, there hasn’t been enough research and more studies are required to work out why these differences happen.
But if you do happen to be booking in your first scalp bleach and are worried about the imminent burning sensation all over your head, consider planning your appointment outside the time you’re PMS-ing.
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