When it comes to non-surgical replacement for hair, there are a number of options out there. From hair fibers to finasteride to Rogaine, those dealing with hair loss have many ways of trying to regain a full head of hair without having to go under the knife for a hair transplant.
Another hair loss treatment option is also out there in the form of scalp micropigmentation treatment or SMP. What exactly does the process entail and is it the hair loss solution for you? In this blog, we will take a deeper dive into all things scalp micropigmentation.
What is scalp micropigmentation?
Scalp micropigmentation is essentially a medical-grade tattooing of the scalp to provide the illusion of hair or a more voluminous and fuller appearance on areas of thinning hair. It is similar to the process of eyebrow microblading and is usually performed over a period of sessions, usually spaced a couple of weeks in between each other.
The process, which is non-invasive and relatively quick compared to a hair transplant, involves the use of a needle or electric tattoo device by a scalp micropigmentation artist or practitioner to inject hair color pigment onto the affected areas of the scalp. After each session, the skin will eventually heal while the pigment settles to give you the look you're going for.
When do you see results from scalp micropigmentation?
Ultimately, this varies by the person and goes on a case-by-case basis. However, in most cases, one can expect to see significant results after the third or fourth session. While this might seem like a lot of time, given that sessions are usually two to four weeks apart, you can expect to see results much quicker compared to a hair transplant, which can take anywhere from six months to up to a year for full results.
Is scalp micropigmentation permanent?
Unfortunately, this procedure is not permanent. “It’s a semi-permanent procedure — it’s not a permanent procedure because even though it’s pigments tattooed into your scalp, the pigments do fade and do require maintenance as well,” says Superhairpieces stylist Christina. “The only thing is you would want to go to someone reputable because I’ve seen when SMPs are not done correctly, you end up looking like your whole head is colored black.”
With that said, it can last around four to six years before it eventually starts to fade or discolor. In some cases, it can even last 10 to 15 years, but this ultimately depends on your technician and where you got the procedure done. The good news is you can go for a touch-up should any fading or discoloration occur.
How much does a scalp micropigmentation cost?
The cost of the procedure will depend on where you’re located and how reputable your SMP technician is. In general, however, one can expect to pay anywhere between $1,500 to $3,500 for the procedure. Just like with a hair transplant, it’s not advised to skimp on the price as this is long-term solution that requires the best to be working on your scalp.
Is the scalp micropigmentation procedure painful or does it hurt?
Again, this depends largely on the person undergoing the treatment as well as their overall pain tolerance. In general, however, there is minimal pain as a numbing agent is used prior while the procedure is also said to be less painful than a regular tattoo. There can be a little soreness following each session, but one shouldn't expect to experience any pain once it's completed.
What is the healing process for scalp micropigmentation? What should one do after an SMP session?
After a session, an individual can experience redness on their scalp for a couple of hours. This should resolve on its own and in no time, patients can continue with their daily routine usually within a day. However, it is advised not to perform any physical activities and to avoid sweating in the initial days following the procedure as it can interfere with the pigment.
That doesn't mean you can't take a shower. You can even take a quick shower right after a session; you just need to use lukewarm water, avoid shampoos with sulfates and make sure not to scrub your scalp so that the pigment does not wash off.
Does scalp micropigmentation affect hair follicles?
You don’t need to worry about your hair follicles being affected by an SMP procedure. Remember, scalp micropigmentation is non-invasive and does not penetrate the scalp deep enough to affect your existing follicles. So if you have existing natural hair remaining, you don’t need to worry about experiencing any further hair loss as a result of these pigments.
What’s the difference between scalp micropigmentation and hair fibers?
An SMP procedure is very similar to hair fibers when it comes to what they are achieving in the end. Like the SMP procedure, hair fibers are an option to add volume to your pre-existing hair and make it appear more voluminous and full. But while hair fibers are more affordable, quicker and can be done by an individual, they are also temporary and will have to be reapplied everyday. SMP is a better solution if you’re looking for a more long-term and semi permanent hair loss treatment.
Can women do scalp micropigmentation?
Scalp micropigmentation is not only an option for men; women can certainly undergo the treatment as well. If a woman is dealing with diffuse thinning or wants to conceal a thinning area, they can opt for an SMP procedure.
The great thing is they don’t need to shave their head for the procedure either contrary to popular belief. Instead, the technician will work in sections and make sure the appropriate pigmentation is applied to minor or major gaps on the scalp.
What are the side effects of scalp micropigmentation?
Like most hair loss treatment solutions, there are always downsides and potential side effects. The same applies to SMP as there are a number of side effects one can experience following even though it’s a non-surgical procedure.
Most are mild, but in some cases, there can be severe side effects:
- Loss of sensation
- Itching or burning skin
- Allergic or adverse reactions
- Drying skin
- Redness and bumps
- Permanent scarring
Am I a candidate for scalp micropigmentation? Who is SMP ideal for?
SMP is not ideal for those who are at an extreme level of hair loss or balding. You need to have some remaining hair in order for the procedure to be effective and look natural. In most cases with men, it’s ideal for those who prefer to keep a buzz cut or a shorter stubble look. Those with thinning hair are also great candidates.
“For SMP, I find it ideal for people who shave their heads or they keep it really short because it gives more of a stubble look,” says Christina.
That said, it may not be the best option if you tend to have naturally oily skin as it can interfere with the pigment. “That tends to happen when you’re oily, that’s when pigments tend to blend in more and you don’t see the actual dots that are actually tattooed for the stubble look,” she adds. “I think it’s better for those who are on the drier side so the pigments don’t bleed together and you end up with a black bald spot.”
In the end, there are other factors that will come into play as well. “The stubbles underneath each follicle will make it look like your hair is fuller without actually having any surgical procedure done. At the same time, it all depends on the client’s scalp. If they don’t know how to take care of it, it ends up looking like a big black spot on their head.”
Better alternative to scalp micropigmentation?
Scalp micropigmentation is a great long-term option for hair loss that doesn’t require any surgery. However, it does come with risks and potential side effects while it won’t work on everyone because you need to have some hair remaining.
A better option, however, can come in the form of hairpieces. No matter your level of hair loss, you can try men’s toupees, wigs for women or hair toppers for thinning hair to fulfill your specific needs. Watch an online consultation and book yours today to speak to one of our many hair specialists to determine what the best hair system option is for you!
Interested in learning more about getting started with hair systems? Browse through our website at www.superhairpieces.com (US & International) or superhairpieces.ca (CAN)
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