What is Scalp Micropigmentation?
Scalp Micropigmentation, also known as Superficial Micropigmentation or SMP, is a minimally invasive, non-surgical procedure aimed at replicating your hair using a specialized tattoo process. Performed by highly skilled technicians, using medical grade ink, tiny dots of pigment are placed in the scalp using micro needles. These pigment dots essentially mimic your individual hair follicles and decrease the contrast between scalp and hair color in balding areas and give the illusion of hair.
Why Choose a Scalp Micropigmentation Procedure?
Good candidates for SMP:
- Men and women with diffuse thinning who are not candidates for hair transplant and have high contrast between hair color and scalp. (dark hair, light skin)
- Men and women who undergo hair transplant but cannot achieve the desired density and wish to decrease the “see-through” quality creating “3-D SMP.”
- Patients with scars from previous hair transplants (both FUT and FUE) who wish to minimize scar visibility.
- Patients with scalp scars from trauma or other surgery that are looking for a “permanent” option to minimize visibility of their scar.
- Balding men who want to wear the “shaved look” but would like a more uniform appearance and stronger hairline using SMP to fill in the thinner areas to match their native stubble.
The concept of scalp pigmentation is similar to using hair loss concealing powders or fibers like Toppik, X-fusion, or DermMatch. However, SMP is a long-term or even “permanent” option without the hassle of applying these products daily or continually purchasing them month after month. If you’ve tried powders, sprays, hair pieces or other camoflague techniques, it’s worth looking into scalp micropigmentation. After the initial treatments are complete, upkeep is virtually non-existent until it’s time for a touch-up.
How Does Scalp Micropigmentation Work?
Professionally performed SMPs are done by hair restoration surgeons or their expertly trained staff. It’s an incredibly safe procedure carried out with sterile, single-use, pre-packaged needles in a clean operating room. High-quality pigments are formulated to match the color of your hair’s roots. The ink is placed into the upper dermal layer of the scalp using extremely tiny needles. This procedure generally does not require any anesthesia but is available if necessary since it is overseen by a physician in our office.
The SMP process typically requires 1 to 3 treatments which take about 2 to 5 hours for each session. Sessions are spread about 1 to 4 weeks apart to ensure the color and coverage is aesthetically pleasing. The pigment is often very intense (darker) immediately after application but will fade within a few weeks, so time is necessary to see the final color evolve. As every patient has a unique skin quality, it’s difficult to determine how many sessions will be required to achieve the desired look or how soon a touch-up will be needed.
Though the procedure is similar to a traditional tattoo, it is very different. First off, the needles used are much smaller and the pain is less intense. The pigments are medical grade with fewer additives/colors required resulting in a very low risk of allergies or other tattoo reactions. Also, the inks are placed more superficially in the skin than a traditional tattoo. This ensures that the pigments are less likely to spread or discolor over time, something that is common with traditional tattoos. However, because the ink rests in a shallower layer of skin, the color will inevitably fade. Therefore, to maintain the look, touch-ups are necessary about every 3 to 5 years.
Another important contrast to traditional tattoos is that SMP is also potentially reversible via laser treatments. Because of the purity of the ink, if you have a change of heart, change your hairstyle, or for any other reason, the pigment can be removed if desired. Yet it’s also still possible to undergo additional SMP in the same area again.
Lastly, the micro dot technique SMP specialists use to create realistic hair results are vastly different from the brush strokes used by tattoo artists. SMP artists are able to replicate the fine, delicate look of natural hair follicles and hairlines. While those performing Permanent Make-up Tattooing or Traditional Tattooing are no doubt artists in their own right, it is a completely different skill set from the work of SMP.
Scalp Micropigmentation Recovery
Recovery for a scalp micropigmentation procedure is quick and easy, usually taking about a week after each session.
Immediately after the procedure there will be some mild redness and swelling but very little pain. This all typically subsides within the first few days.
You will also see the results of the pigment immediately, however expect the color to be darker than anticipated. This intensity will fade within the first few weeks.
You can resume regular grooming using shampoo or hair products within 4 days but no swimming for a month after each procedure.
Cost of Scalp Micropigmentation Procedure*
|Entire Balding Scalp||$5,000|
|Partial Scalp/Beard||$1000 – up (Price Varies on Size)|
|Scar Repair||$1,000 – $2,000 (Price Varies on Size)|
|Touch Up (single session)||$350 – $2,000 (Price Varies on Size)|
*Price Includes 3 initial treatment sessions (must be completed within 1 year)
Ready to talk to a hair loss specialist and find out if a scalp micropigmentation is right for you? Call us at (210) 496-9992 or schedule an appointment here.