What Is Scalp Micro-pigmentation: A Nonsurgical Hair Loss Treatment

Scalp Micro-Pigmentation (Hair tattoo): Hair loss is a rampant problem that men of all ages face. Baldness is the most common among 50% of all men, who are older than 50 years. This percentage decreases with decreasing age groups. About 42% of all men suffer from hair loss between the age group of 18-50 years. The fact is that as men grow old they do start to lose hair. Some men experience this earlier in their life. A major cause for this is that they may be suffering from male pattern baldness.


While hair loss for men is the harsh reality, there are many methods available for treating hair loss in men. There are certain medications which aid hair growth on a long term, Minoxidil is one such medicine. Other than this hair transplant is also a solution. This helps you re-grow hair by adding follicles to the existing ones on the scalp.


The fastest and the most efficient way, however to re-grow hair is scalp micro-pigmentation. It is also known as a “Hair Tattoo”. Scalp micro-pigmentation is known to restore a receding hairline. It makes the hair thick and also hides all traces of scarring caused due to transplant.

Here, we will discuss about the reasons of hair loss and take a closer look at scalp micro-pigmentation, how it works, its benefits and flaws. We shall also discuss about how SMP compares to other hair loss treatments.      

Why am I losing my hair?

There are a few factors that result in men losing their hair. Some of these are genetic while others are hormonal. Age is also a factor that effects hair growth and loss thereof.

  • Genetic factor: genetics play a major role in deciding whether you will lose your hair at an earlier stage in life. The hair follicles on the head have a DNA blueprint, which means that if your father and grandfather and so on suffered hair loss, chances are that you will also suffer from early hair loss.  
  • Hormonal factor: the hormonal factor and the genetic factor are inter-related. If you are genetically prone to hair loss you are more likely to inherit hair follicles that are prone to release a particular hormone called dihydrotestosterone (DHT). This hormone is responsible for shrinking hair follicles. This results in eventual hair loss and the growth of hair also become thinner and finer. In the end the hair growth eventually stops.
  • Age factor: age is another factor that affects hair loss. As you grow older the growth of hair slows down and eventually stops in certain cases. This causes baldness.
  • Miscellaneous factors: excessive drinking or smoking may cause hair loss. Other than this you may be allergic to certain medication which may cause you to lose your hair. Poor diet, fungal infections of the scalp, nutritional disorders and certain steroids may also cause a man to start to lose his hair.  

Scalp Micro-Pigmentation: What is it and how it works?

Scalp Micro-pigmentation is a process in which micro-needles are used to literally “tattoo” pigment into the scalp. By doing this it appears as though there are tiny hair follicles. This creates the look of a fuller head. During this procedure little follicles are replicated on your scalp to create an illusion of a shaved head. This procedure is also great for men with a receding hairline. If you are suffering from hair thinning and you need to add density to your hair this technique can be applied to tattoo some hair creating a fuller look.

This technique is a highly advanced method of cosmetic pigmentation to create the illusion of actually a shaved head. It is similar to traditional tattooing but with more sophisticated equipment and techniques. This is an extremely intricate procedure which has guaranteed results. This technique may require more than one sitting to get the right pigment. But the results are absolutely worth it.

How does it actually work?

These treatments generally take place in multiple sittings, mostly three separate sessions. The time taken to complete the treatment can also depend on the amount and extent of hair loss.

In this procedure, just like how a tattoo is made a micro needle is inserted into the scalp to make a layer of dots of pigment. It is similar to a tattoo, but not quite this technique is highly specialized and technical, which can only be performed by a highly skilled technician.

The layer of pigment dots that is made using this technique creates the illusion of a shaved head.

If you do plan to go in for this technique before you get started a practitioner will meet with you , who shall discuss the treatment with you and will also explain the various options available for you, depending upon your hair line and hair growth pattern. He shall also discuss with you important aspects like the shade of the pigment etc.

When each of the dots is made on the head and the colour is added to it, it creates a wound. This wound is extremely small and grows a scab on itself eventually. This scab also heals and eventually falls off. When this falls off it tends to take some amount of pigment with it. This is why a second sitting is important. Other than this over a period of time there may be gradual fading and for that you may need to attend multiple sittings. This will need to be repeated till the desired colour of the pigment is achieved.

When a person is getting himself treated using this technique, there will be application of several colours of pigments. The initial stages will have lighter pigment and as the number of sittings increase the colour of the pigment also becomes darker.

Then if in the end you are still not satisfied with the shade you can chose to go another shade darker.

  The Types of Scalp Micro-Pigmentation Options Available

Soft Hairline and Widowed Peak: sometimes people desire a lower hairline, so that they can cover the area from where they have previously lost hair. This gives a fuller appearance and a cleaner hairline. This is done by creating a illusion by layering the present hairline to give a more realistic look. It is important to make sure that the colour of the pigment match the colour of the hair already present on the head. Only when the colour of the ink is in perfect sink with the colour of the hair, will the effect look incredible.

Image Link: https://www.hishairclinic.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/hairline11.jpg

Adding Density to thinning hair: men of all ages can be prone to hair thinning. Scalp micro-pigmentation is a great technique to cover up and fill in for thinning hair. Sometimes due to thinning of hair the scalp of the individual starts to become visible and to hide than an illusion is created using this technique and density is added to hair giving it a fuller look.

Image link: https://www.hairlineink.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/filling-in-hairline-scalp-micropigmentation.jpg

The permanent edge up: this is also known as the ‘Jamie Foxx’. This is a very popular choice of SMP. This technique requires a lot of preparation to create the perfect sharp hairline. In this there needs to be some hair on the side temple area so that more hair can be added to the top. This requires a lot of precision and it takes time to create the perfect illusion of a full head of hair. The edge-up style is quite sought after by celebrities and general public alike.

Image Link: https://www.teammicro.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/img9.jpg

Scalp micro-pigmentation for hair transplant patients: depending on your needs after a hair transplant you can chose this technique to cover up any scars which may have been left due to the hair transplant. This also helps by creating an illusion of a head which is fuller head of hair. This creates the perfect shaved look or helps by adding density to the hair depending on the needs of the person getting the SMP.

Image Link: http://www.smpdebate.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/gli-fue-scars.jpg

Other Hair Loss Treatments vs. Scalp Micro-Pigmentation

Scalp micro-pigmentation is comparatively a newer treatment for hair loss that is available today. It is a unique approach when compared to other techniques and has been growing rapidly since it has been introduced. There are other techniques too that are available to grow hair, there are certain medicines which are supposed to help, hair-transplant surgery, hair growth shampoo, wigs, etc can also be used. Minoxidil and Finasteride are two medicines which are commonly used. Both these medicines have the approval of the FDA.

#1: Minoxidil:

this medicine is also known as Rogaine, can be bought withought a prescription is a medicine that can be applied to the scalp to aid hair growth. This medicine needs to be applied twice everyday to see best results.

Initially this medicine was introduced as an oral medication to treat problems associated with high blood pressure the side effect of which was hair growth. Then this got appropriated into being used as a hair growth agent by directly being applied to the region where hair growth is most required.

This medicine works by stimulating the follicles and widening them to aid the absorption of oxygen and the flow of nutrients and blood. This in-turn aids hair growth. Most people that adopt this technique of hair growth see results in two to six months.

#2: Finasteride:

this drug is also known as Propecia and is only used for hair growth in men. This can only be purchased by producing a prescription for it by the doctor. This has to be taken orally and once every day. This medicine works by lowering the levels of DHT (dihydrotestosterone) in the scalp. This hormone has a shrinking effect on the follicle and hence its production needs to be curbed to aid hair growth. This medicine does exactly that. This drug lowers the DHT in the scalp by up to 60% to 70%.

#3: Hair Transplant Surgery:

in this hair from one part of the head are removed from the follicle itself and transplanted to another area where there is balding or receding hair. There are two ways in which transplant of hair can be done. In one a strip of skin is removed and put on another part. Another way is to take out a few follicles and put them in an area where are there are less hair. When follicles are taken individually then, an area of the head is shaved and some of the hair follicles are taken and transplanted to a different place. In this the hair takes about four to eight weeks to grow. The surgery lasts for about four to six hours.

#4: Other Techniques:

other methods of preventing hair loss and aiding hair growth include dietary changes and addition of supplements in the diet. A protein rich diet will aid hair growth hence from the very beginning protein should be included in daily meals. Zinc, iron and biotic are known to slow hair loss. One can choose to include iron rich food in their diet but iron supplements should be avoided till such time that you do not suffer from anaemia. Also, there isn’t enough evidence to prove that supplements actually do aid hair growth.   

Why Choose Scalp Micro-Pigmentation?

This procedure is great because it is discreet and very effective to create a fresh close cut look. It is discreet because no will ever notice anything different. That means that it will not look out of place. This ink treatment looks absolutely natural and people will rarely be able to tell that it is anything but hair. There is no rest or recovery period that is required after the procedure and you can return to work the next day without anyone noticing that there is much of a difference. This treatment gives the illusion of actual hair. It gives you the best blunt shaven look’s effect. It helps if you have a receding hairline by adding the effect of hair to your head. This helps provide a fuller look.    

There may be any number of reasons for your hair loss. Ultimately scalp micro-pigmentation is the best option due to the following reasons:

Unlimited density: while getting a regular hair transplant density of the hair is mostly lost because hair from a denser area is put on a less dense area. This results in a gradual decrease in density of hair as the denser parts also become less dense and the area where the hair is transplanted also takes some time to grow properly and create a dense natural effect.

If one goes in for Scalp Micro-pigmentation density will only be added to the hair, right from the beginning of the procedure. If you have a receding hairline or are going bald this is the easiest way to attain it.

Ongoing maintenance: the general length of your hair after the treatment will be completely dependent upon the individual’s hairstyle and preference. This technique provides adequate density to last at least a few years after which a touch up is recommended. When the procedure is completed it only demands that the scabs are left to dry out and fall off and no water is applied on it. Also the hair should not be shaved at all for at least a period of 10 days after the procedure.

Applying shampoo should also be avoided as much as possible for at least a week after the procedure.

Corrective Procedures: sometimes less experienced technicians may cause certain error which may be rectified at any time after the treatment. Not all technicians are as well experienced in this art and hence one should conduct through research before going in for this procedure. Also, this treatment is flexible and can be done any number of times depending upon the shade of the pigment. So even if it goes wrong at one point in time it can be re-done at another. It does not look odd and can be rectified with ease.

Hair-Related Diseases and Treatment

Sometimes people experience hair-loss as a side effect of some medication or it may be a scalp related disease. Lupus is a common condition which causes hair loss among men. Thyroid problems also sometimes result in men and women losing hair. Another disease which causes hair loss is Alopecia this occurs without any initial symptoms or signs and can affect both men and women. There is no definitive reason or cure for this disease.  

Under all these circumstances scalp micro-pigmentation is your safest and best bet to create a look of a fuller hairstyle.

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 Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How long does one session of the treatment last?

The time taken for one sitting of the treatment can vary depending on the number of session. If it is your first session it can take anywhere between four to five hours. However, if it is a second or third sitting then it may take up-to two to three hours since the colour and the pigment will already have started to show on the scalp.    

Q: What are its applications other than hair loss?

It can be used for a variety of reasons, like skin diseases, to correct botched up hair transplants, to hide scarring, to remove blemishes or rather hide them. It is also appropriate for burn scars.

Q: Does getting a scalp micro-pigmentation hurt?

There is obviously mild discomfort that is faced by most people who get a scalp micro-pigmentation treatment done. In the beginning of the session the pain is the highest, this gradually decreases as the person becomes more used to it. Also, some parts of the head have more nerve ending than others and those areas may hurt more. It is however, less painful than a hair-transplant or getting a tattoo, for that matter.    

Q: How long does it take to recover?

There is no particular time prescribed for recovery, there may be a little redness after the procedure which goes away after about 15 to 20 hours. Most people who get this procedure done are able to return to work the very next day.

Q: How much maintenance is involved?

There is little or no maintenance required after this procedure is complete. The only thing to remember is that you should not wet your head on the parts where the scab has not yet fallen off and you should also not use a razor to shave your head for at least a period of 10 days after the procedure.

Other than this one may only need to go for another sitting 6 to 7 years after the first procedure that too only if the pigment starts to fade.   

Q: What are some disadvantages of SMP?

This procedure is permanent, much like a tattoo. If you have gotten this procedure done once you will have to continue with it for the rest of your life. To remove this effect one will have to undergo a laser removal procedure.

Another disadvantage is that the sun’s UV rays aids fading of the pigments which have been inserted in the scalp. This will result in more frequent visits to the scalp clinic. Other than this there is another drawback of SMP that is, only men with short hair or have which are closely shaven can take most advantage of this technique.

Q: Are there any side effects?

There are little or no side effects of scalp micro-pigmentation; you will notice redness right after the procedure. Other than that there will be large scabs which will eventually fall off taking a bit of pigment with it.

Q: How old is the procedure?  

The first ever documented evidence of pigmentation as treatment for hair loss can be dated back to the 1970’s. It became more developed in the early 2000’s and became open for use by the public in 2006. This technique is highly recommended since. It is a new and modern technique of making hair denser. It is an upcoming method and should be given adequate chance and time to show its positive effects.


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