Scalp Micropigmentation: Is it Worth Doing?

Scalp Micropigmentation: Is it Worth Doing?
Man before and after hair loss treatment on white background

Scalp micropigmentation is not something that is as popular to talk about as other things. If you have not heard of scalp micropigmentation, or if you have heard of it and think it sounds expensive, then you are probably wondering if this is even something that is worth looking at.

I think that scalp micropigmentation is something that can help a lot of people. You may be someone that micropigmentation can help, but you won’t know until you get a closer look at it.

What Is Scalp Micropigmentation?

Scalp micropigmentation, abbreviated SMP, is sometimes also called a hair tattoo. This micropigmentation and tattoos both do have many similarities. For example, both SMP and regular tattooing are done by putting ink in just the top of your skin.

However, SMP is not exactly the same as regular tattooing in a few different ways. For starters, SMP uses ink impressions, meaning the ink doesn’t go deep enough to damage your hair follicles. In fact, scalp micropigmentation only goes 1mm into the skin instead of 2mm like tattoos do.

Getting SMP done is something that will only take a few hours to do. Depending on the amount of scalp micropigmentation you want, 1 to 5 hours is all it might take per session. Three or four sessions are the most you will likely need to build up layers and make it more realistic.

Each of these sessions are usually at least two weeks or more apart. All of them will hurt no more, and probably less, than getting a tattoo would. Though there is some SMP basic aftercare, you can go straight back to work afterward.

Your scalp will be tender and perhaps slightly red for a few days. Also, like with a tattoo, there is probably going to be some scabbing, which you should never scratch. You can shower after four days, but without shampoo for seven. Aftercare also includes avoiding swimming for about three weeks and not applying any hair growth products like minoxidil for a month.

Like tattoos, however, scalp micropigmentation will fade some over time. Touchups are easy to do and usually only require one session every 3 to 6 years at most. Many places that do SMP offer a one-year guarantee and will give you a free touchup within that time if there is any fading.

What To Look For And Expect

Scalp Micropigmentation: Is it Worth Doing?

When looking for a place to get scalp micropigmentation done at, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, look for SMP technicians that are Certified Impression Technicians. This certification for SMP ensures they have had specialized training and know all about hairline placement and hairline pigmentation techniques.

Once you find an SMP place you like, you can go in for a consultation. Preferably, the consultation is free, and it is also a good idea to look for a place that has some type of guarantee. Many offer free touchups in the first year so that you can get your look perfect.

You may even get a free mock-up, where they take a photo of you and give you a realistic preview of what this would look like on you. Sometime during this, you will tell the doctor the exact hairline you want and the color of the pigmentation.

You can feel perfectly free to go with a hairline that looks just slightly receded, so it looks more natural. It is also possible to request smaller stages to hide the fact that you are getting this done. Though this means more sessions, it will also make it look more like your hair is slowly growing there.

Once these decisions have been made as to how much micropigmentation you are looking for, they’ll tell you the cost. Most SMP procedures cost about $4,000 on average, though it can be a few hundred or up to $8,000.

Be prepared to shave your head, and make sure that your scalp is thoroughly washed before each session. The color won’t be just right at first, so allow a few days for the pigmenting to settle. Since numbing creams don’t work as well on the scalp, you might need a numbing injection.

The Advantages Of Scalp Micropigmentation

Scalp micropigmentation is the perfect solution for a few different hair problems. Most people use SMP for balding areas. The patterning of the pigmentation makes it look like you have short stubbly hair in that area. This area can be your whole head or only the top part.

If you keep the rest of your hair short, this creates the perfect illusion of a full head of hair. In fact, when scalp micropigmentation is done correctly, you would have to literally run your hand over your head to tell that it isn’t actually hair there.

The other thing that scalp pigmentation can be great for is thinning hair. Though this is less common, adding some color to your part line is something that people buy hair powders for all the time to make hair look thicker. So, why wouldn’t SMP be perfect as a more permanent way to do this for both men and women?

Because scalp micropigmentation is meant to be done on your scalp, it is less likely than tattoos to damage your follicles. This means that SMP is something you can do to make your hair look thicker while you try to grow out it thicker.

Besides those things, SMP is often used to hide scars. While scalp micropigmentation cannot always hide scars completely, it can go a long way towards making them less noticeable. For this reason, SMP is sometimes used after hair transplant surgeries or other scalp surgeries to hide the lines.

Best of all, the SMP results are almost instant, and you can get the exact hairline you want to have. Once the micropigmentation is done, you don’t have to do anything daily for it but enjoy your new look. Scalp micropigmentation also doesn’t require any drugs or have any known side effects.

The Disadvantages Of Scalp Micropigmentation

 

Scalp Micropigmentation: Is it Worth Doing?

First, SMP, while it can definitely do a lot to make your hair look better, doesn’t actually help with hair growth. This micropigmentation is, therefore, more likely to be something you do after you have given up on that.

For those that use SMP for cover over completely bald frontal areas, it is highly unlikely that you will ever be able to have anything other than a short stubble hairstyle. Though it looks like stubbly hair, it will never be able to grow out like actual hair.

So, if you start growing out your hair, the area with the SMP will, obviously, stay the same. The result looks terrible. And that is if the SMP turns out right and your skin accepts the dye, which might not be the case. Certain conditions and poor care can make the scalp micropigmentation fail. You can also react to the ink or numbing cream.

Next, scalp pigmentation is quite expensive. In some cases, SMP can be almost as expensive as getting a hair transplant. Though it is called permanent, don’t forget that SMP will fade too. This means you will have to pay for a touchup, which is yet another cost of hundreds of dollars.

If you are familiar with fading tattoos, you may know that sometimes these take on a bluish or greenish tint. This will hardly look good on your scalp, though most places that do SMP use colors that won’t do this.

Finally, if you want your scalp micropigmentation removed, you will have to have it done with a laser. Though SMP is slightly easier to remove than a tattoo is, it will still cost you to have it done. Considering how expensive it is to get micropigmentation done in the first place, this is yet another expense.

Final Thoughts

Scalp pigmentation can be incredibly useful in giving you a good-looking head. There are hundreds of places to get SMP done at, meaning there are plenty to choose from. What’s more, getting a pigment touchup sometimes isn’t ever necessary.

You may need to wear a hat after getting scalp micropigmentation done, since you are supposed to avoid your scalp getting sun too soon, and you should avoid getting wet or sweaty for a while. However, those are minor things to avoid while in order to make it look like you have nice hair.

SMP is something that can work even for light hair and on dark skin, so it truly is something that virtually anyone can do for their head. Perhaps micropigmentation is what you need to help you feel more confident.

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Christopher is the founder of Hair Loss Geeks, which launched back in 2011. At the time there wasn't any credible information on the internet about hair loss. As someone suffering from hair loss himself, Christopher began his extensive research journey. After launching the site, he later graduated from Boston University in 2012 with his PhD in Biochemistry. What started off as a hobby project quickly became a bigger focus as it grew. Christopher hopes everyone can learn from both his experience and research.

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