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What is Scalp Micropigmentation?

SMP is a non-invasive, permanent make-up application. This technique uses a machine designed specifically for cosmetic micropigmentation to implant tiny, layered dots of pigment into the upper layers of the skin to replicate hair follicles (i.e., hair which is starting to emerge) to create natural-looking depth and definition. SMP is suitable for men and women.


Is SMP the Same asa Traditional Tattoo?

Scalp pigmentation is not a traditional tattoo – the colors used are formulated differently from tattoo ink so that they can be broken down by the body, and they’re implanted a bit closer to the surface of the skin. So SMP does not last forever, although it can last for 4-8 years or longer.


What Are the Benefits of SMP?

  • The longevity of the results is very individual, and it depends on many factors. Generally, scalp micropigmentation lasts between 4 and 8 years for most clients, but there are cases of it fading after just a year or two or lasting out as long as 10 years.

  • The style of scalp micropigmentation – tiny dots – is subtle, so your cosmetic tattoo will appear natural and blend into your everyday look no matter your original hair situation.

  • SMP is customizable and adjustable. You can adapt your scalp tattoo to match the changing rhythm of natural hair loss that occurs as we age.

  • If you choose an experienced, certified artist, and follow their prescribed aftercare routine post-treatment, you’re guaranteed to have a visually voluminous head of hair – or a tidy buzz cut – for many years to come.

  • Despite the cost, the improvement in appearance and self-confidence is worth the expense.


What Can SMP Help With?

  • Help remedy the appearance of thinning hair due to age, postpartum hair loss, male pattern baldness, receding hairlines, alopecia, and similar occurrences. SMP can also help to camouflage a scar.

  • Works for people with all hair colors, as well as those with fair or graying hair.

  • SMP isn’t just for hiding bald spots but can be done on heads with longer hair to improve visual volume and create an illusion of greater thickness and fullness.

  • This procedure can be applied to the entire scalp or just to specific areas.


How Long Does SMP Last?

The procedure typically lasts for several years. Keep in mind that scalp micropigmentation is a form of cosmetic tattoo and the method of implementing pigments is different from traditional tattooing. As they fade over the years, you’ll need refresher sessions, and each of those is charged as a standalone.


How Many SessionsAre Needed to Complete My Treatment?

SMP typically includes 3 sessions, and always 2 at a minimum: first the initial treatment, and then one or more mandatory touch up sessions to improve pigment saturation.


How Is Scalp Micropigmentation Done?

The treatment is a process, and it takes several sessions to achieve the desired effects. Here’s a step-by-step overview of the SMP treatment:

  • Consultation - The artist will inspect the area and tell you what results you can expect. They’ll also provide you with pre-treatment instructions and inform you on the aftercare routine.You will decide on the shape of the hairline (if applicable), but the color choice should be left to the artist to choose.

  • 1st Micropigmentation Session - The first treatment creates the look to a large degree.It begins by drawing the outline of your future hairline (if applicable).Once you are happywith the outline, the needling begins. The artist will go back and forth over the scalp with a pigmentation machine, saturating the skin with tiny dots of pigment.The first session can take anywhere from 2 to 4 hours. Your results will first look very dark, then lighten as some of the pigment is extracted from the skin during the healing process. Proper saturation can’t be achieved, and the skin can’t retain enough pigment from only one session.

  • 2nd Session - The 2nd session is booked about 10-14 days after the first session. During the second session, the artist goes over the dots again, replenishing them with pigment. It’s also an opportunity to modify the shape of the hairline if you want to.This session won’t last as long as the first one.

  • 3rd Session - After another 10-14 days, most clients need to come back in for another round of scalp micropigmentation (but not all – those with great retention may not need another session).By this session, a significant amount of pigment should be retained and you can get a good sense of what the final result will look like. The 3rd session is an opportunity to replenish the pigments a bit further.


Does Scalp Micropigmentation Hurt?

The treatment shouldn’t be exactly painful, but it might be uncomfortable. You might feel certain sensations like pressure, tingling, or slight stinging. Nothing unbearable, but you should know what to expect.


Is Scalp Micropigmentation Safe?

Yes, if done right. Potential risks are infection or allergic reactions to the pigments or other products used.Infections can occur if the treatment was performed in unsterile conditions or using unsterilized products, or in the case of improper aftercare and contamination in the days after the procedure. To prevent this, always go to a certified, licensed artist, and follow the aftercare instructions they give you as closely as possible.


To prevent allergic reactions, have the artist do a patch test before the treatment.


How Much Does It Cost?

SMP is a fairly pricey treatment. On average, the cost of scalp micropigmentation in the US ranges from $2000 to $4000.


The overall price is determined by several factors, including:

  • The size of the area treated

  • The type of treatment (e.g. scar camouflage, hairline correction, full head micropigmentation)

  • The total number of SMP sessions necessary

  • The location of the facility

  • The tools and materials used

  • The cost of aftercare products

  • Maintenance touch ups down the line

  • How the artist charges:

    • Each session independently

    • Initial session and one touchup, and all subsequent touchups separately

    • Some offer free consultations before the initial SMP appointment, while others charge for the consults.


Who Isn’t a Candidate for Scalp Micropigmentation?

Certain conditions make cosmetic tattooing unsafe. If you suffer from any of the conditions listed, you cannot undergo the treatment, or you need a doctor’s clearance:


  • People with diabetes (consult your doctor)

  • People with bleeding disorders

  • People who take blood-thinning medications (consult your doctor to discontinue use if possible)

  • Pregnant or nursing women

  • People with a history of keloids or hypertrophic scarring

  • People with viral infections or diseases

  • People who are going through chemotherapy

  • People with skin irritations or Psoriasis near the scalp area

  • People whose skin was tanned recently (will need to wait 4 weeks after)


Does Scalp Micropigmentation Affect Hair Growth?

No. The layer of the skin treated is above the hair follicles, so you don’t have to worry about the treatment affecting hair growth.Additionally, It is important to note that scalp micropigmentation is not a permanent solution for hair loss and will not prevent future hair loss from occurring.


How Do I Prepare for Scalp Micropigmentation?

Here’s what to avoid before the treatment for it to go smoothly:

  • No sunbathing or tanning for about 2 weeks. Tanned skin is more sensitive.

  • Stop using any retinol or Vitamin A products on the forehead and temples one month prior. These thin out the skin and make it bleed more.

  • Avoid alcohol, caffeine, ibuprofen, aspirin, and fish oil supplements for at least 24 hours before your appointment.

  • Don’t do any scalp treatments at least two weeks before the treatment.

  • If you take blood-thinning medication, consult with your doctor, and see if it would be safe to discontinue the use for a few weeks.

  • Some artists also advise exfoliating the scalp the day before the treatment to remove dead skin cells or moisturizing the scalp to make it softer.


What’s Aftercare Like?

SMP is relatively non-invasive, but the area will need a few days to heal. You need to follow an aftercare routine between sessions. This will affect your washing regime:


  • Keep the scalp dry for 3 days. No washing, swimming, sweating, use of saunas or steam baths.

  • Between days 3 and 7, wash your head with water, but no soap or shampoo.

  • After day 7, you can wash your head with mild soap.

  • Avoid the following between sessions, and at least 2 weeks after your last session:

    • Touching your scalp

    • Sunlight exposure

    • Excessive sweating

    • Long, hot showers and any steamy environment

    • Shaving the head

After each session, your artist will give you more detailed instructions, and you should do your best to follow them as closely as possible.


What’s SMP Healing Like?

The treatment is relatively non-invasive, but since it does involve breaking the surface of the skin, it takes a few days for the micro-wounds to close. After each session, you can expect:

  • Some redness and irritation (it will subside within a couple of days).

  • The pigments will look darker than expected, then very light (they take their final color after the healing is over).

  • The area will probably feel dry and itchy – have your artist recommend an ointment to relieve this.

  • Some scabbing might form over the treated area – do not pick the scabs!


Since SMP sessions are done so close apart, you will virtually go from one healing cycle straight into another. This means healing is completely over 4 weeks after your last session.This is how long it takes for the pigments to show their true color, and for the tissue to heal completely. After that, you don’t need to pay any special attention to your scalp but try to minimize sunlight exposure and wear SPF when outdoors – sun radiation speeds up pigment fading.


For Long-term Care, When Should You Get an SMP Touch Up?

You can get color refresher touch ups when you feel like your results have faded significantly. Many clients only come back after 4 years, or even longer. It all depends on the pace at which your pigments fade.


Generally, it’s best to book a touch up as soon as you notice the fade is significant. The further the pigments fade, the more work will be needed, and the price of the session will increase.

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