Scalp micropigmentation is an increasingly popular alternative to a hair transplant. Instead of increasing real hair density by transplanting hair into the thinning areas of your head, scalp micropigmentation (SMP) creates the illusion of density by tattooing tiny dots across the scalp.
SMP is a good choice for many patients. But some people also report having scalp micropigmentation regrets after their procedure. This can stem from lack of research, questionable clinics giving out misleading information, and choosing the wrong procedure.
In this article, we’ll outline some of the most common scalp micropigmentation regrets, and show you how to avoid them.
As with any kind of cosmetic procedure, your technician should use the appropriate technique for SMP. If your technician has poor SMP technique, you could end up with unnatural-looking hair like this:
This patient’s SMP has quite a few problems:
All these problems can be avoided if you choose a technician with the right skill level and technique. Proper technique includes :
As a patient, you can’t check if the technician will do all of the above during your own procedure. But you can see what they’ve achieved for their previous patients. View their patient gallery to see their previous results, or ask if you can speak to previous SMP patients.
You can also ask them how they prepare and perform SMP on each patient, and check this against your own research. Make sure you’re satisfied with their answers before you hand over any money.
Hairline design is extremely important in SMP, especially if you’re not planning to regrow your hair. The tattoo should follow your natural hairline, and fade where the hair would naturally be thinner (namely, around the sides of the temples).
In these examples, there’s zero fade around the temples, creating sharp, unnatural hairlines:
This second example is particularly bad. Most men — even those who don’t have male pattern baldness — have slight recesses at the temples. This hairline veers downwards too early, so his hairline is almost in line with his eyebrows. The sideburns are also too thick, and the pigment is too dark (more on pigment choice later).
Some tattoo artists have branched into scalp micropigmentation to cater to this growing market trend. But standard tattooing requires different equipment to SMP. SMP requires extremely fine needles — the dots should be less than 1mm in diameter . So your technician must use the right needle for this delicate procedure.
It’s good practice to use a single-pronged needle for finer areas on the scalp, such as the hairline. Up to six-pronged needles can then be used across the rest of the scalp, provided good technique guidelines are followed .
Your safety is also at risk if your technician uses the wrong needle or equipment. According to the ISHRS, there’s a chance of blood-borne disease transmission if the incorrect needles are used . So make sure your chosen clinic adheres to safety standards.
It can be tricky to choose the right person to perform your SMP procedure. They need the skill to create a hairline that enhances your look and makes you feel confident.
But it’s important for your SMP artist to have experience as well as training. It takes a lot of experience to be able to execute the perfect technique repeatedly across your scalp. So we recommend choosing a technician with several years of SMP experience.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions about their background. As a prospective patient, you have the right to know what professional qualifications and skills the technician has before you allow them to perform your scalp micropigmentation.
SMP pigment choice is critical for a natural result. Most SMP pigments are metallic-oxide-based products. They include colour compounds that generate different tones. Your technician will help you choose and/or mix the right pigment based on your skin tone and natural hair colour.
Skin tone is often based on the Fitzpatrick scale, though in recent years dermatologists have attempted to come up with a more accurate ‘evidence-based’ scale. The Fitzpatrick scale is based on perceived colour, so different people may have different perceptions of their actual skin tone:
The Eumelanin Human Skin Colour scale, meanwhile, is based on the amount of eumelanin (a type of melanin) in a person’s skin . This makes it easier to quantify and measure without a visual comparison aid. This may allow SMP technicians to create a pigment colour that’s better suited to your skin tone.
Black pigments can end up having a blue-grey tint to them after a few months or years . Some pigments can also react with UV light, causing the colour to change over time.
SMP can be itchy, especially if you have it in conjunction with a hair transplant. It’s a common side effect, but if you scratch your SMP too vigorously, you can spoil the effects.
Fortunately, it’s relatively easy to avoid this potential scalp micropigmentation regret.
Some people love their look after SMP — and regret not getting it done sooner.
One US-based SMP patient reported, “My biggest regret was actually not coming in earlier and getting it done. I’m super excited about the results.”
That said, it’s important not to rush into your decision. Do your research, find out which hair loss solution will be best for you, then follow the steps in this article to avoid future regrets.
For some people with hair loss, SMP is the perfect solution. As this SMP patient explains, it works well if you’re used to being bald:
But for those who want more styling options, or prefer to wear their hair long, a hair transplant is a better option. Follicular unit extraction and strip surgery create genuine hair density, rather than just the illusion. So it may be a better investment in your appearance.
Other people have both. An SMP hair transplant creates the illusion of density while you wait for your new grafts to grow in. So it’s becoming more common for patients to have both of these male hair loss treatments. But if this seems like overkill, it’s important to make the right choice from the start, so you can save money and restore your hair as quickly and efficiently as possible.
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