What is scalp micro-pigmentation?
Scalp micro-pigmentation (SMP) is an increasingly popular yet relatively new alternative for, or compliment to, hair transplant in men suffering from male pattern baldness. The look of a natural, close-shave hairline is carefully and skilfully ‘tattooed’ onto the scalp creating the look of a close-shaved but full head of hair or what’s known as a ‘cropped buzz cut.’
How does SMP work?
The pigment, known as a ‘stable chromophore’ is tattooed into the dermal layer (second layer of the skin which does not shed like the first layer of the skin) using a multi-needled pigment device. Tiny incisions are made into the scalp through which pigment is distributed carefully, dot by dot, over the area affected by hair loss until the whole area is covered. The size of each pigment dot depends on the desired look, the natural behaviour of the individual’ skin and surrounding hair and the pressure applied by the hand of the practitioner.
Who is SMP ideally for?
Scalp micro-pigmentation works very well for those who for various reasons are not suitable for a hair transplant or those who would like to keep the look of a cropped buzz cut rather than grow hair out again from a head which has suffered hair loss. Our gentleman in the image above could create a straight line travelling across, concealing where his hair has receded back and inwards, creating a more deliberate shaved-hair look. SMP is also effective for:
- Those not suitable for hair transplant due to complete baldness (hair follicles are now absent), diffuse hair loss conditions or alopecia areata
- Those who would prefer a non-surgical solution to their hair loss
- Those with scars from either previous procedures or scalp burns
- SMP can also be used as a camouflaging device for those with a strip-harvesting scar from an FUT hair transplant
Is SMP painful to have applied?
Scalp micro-pigmentation is not considered very painful by hair loss patients and most describe it as ‘no more painful than a regular tattoo.’ Sensitivity to the potential discomfort is also known to become reduced with each regular treatment, much like waxing.
How long does SMP last, typically?
Unlike hair transplant, scalp micro-pigmentation treatment is non-surgical and therefore may need to be readdressed every six months or so to keep the look fresh and the layers of colour natural-looking and clearly visible. There is a natural level of fading which occurs a few days after every treatment (much like a regular tattoo) and is to be expected. Following that, the pigments will, depending on scalp care, come to fade very much more gradually and most men opt to have further treatments to keep their desired look neat and natural.
How can I keep my scalp micro-pigmentation looking great?
Similar to regular tattoos, some SMP may fade faster with some clients than with others as the lasting effects can be down to the body’s own immune system and the behaviour of the individual’s skin. However there are three key ways you can look after your pigmentation and enjoy your results for longer:
- Avoid pro-longed periods of direct sunlight/hot sun-bathing periods. SMP skin needs to be moisturised regularly and the natural colour created by the pigment will fade faster if the skin has cause to renew itself after long or repeated periods of tanning. If you are out and about use a hat where possible and an effective SPF cream which blocks the heat.
- Follow post-treatment advice which will in most cases tell you to avoid heavy scrubbing of the head, swimming, and excessive sweating for four weeks after each treatment. Wearing a hat such as a cap for twelve days post treatment is also advised. If you’re in any doubt as to the best care tips, ask your specialist.
- Avoid certain hair or skin products such as those which are alcohol or bleach-based. These may include for example some products aimed at treating acne which contain benozyl peroxide or some hair products or creams which contain alcohol. Be sure to check labels and do the research.
Skilled SMP in combination with hair transplant at The Wimpole Clinic
As with hair transplant, the natural-looking effect of a man’s SMP is largely down to the skill of the technician who applies it. The pressure applied by the hand of your specialist is key in delivering an even, lasting pigmentation into the dermal layer of the skin. Naturally we are very proud of the skill of our techicians here at The Wimpole Clinic. A stready hand takes practise, and each of our SMP and hair transplant specialists have years of experience providing high-end, tailored looks taking always into consideration the many variables of a person’s particular skin and hair behaviour. We offer a unique service here at The Wimpole Clinic which can combine both an FUT hair transplant which provides natural-looking, undetectable and permanent hair restoration with SMP to conceal the procedure. It’s one of our most discreet, effective and popular treatment combinations. For a free, definitive assessment of your hair loss needs, get in touch with us here
photo credit: r0bm867 via photopin cc