Your hair follicle is in the shape of a long tube with a rounded bottom in your skin. The follicle sits in your scalp and holds the root of your hair. SMP uses a power pigment-depositing machine to carefully place cosmetic-grade color pigments onto the scalp in a pattern that replicates the appearance of hair follicles. It doesn’t interfere with the natural growth cycle of your hair. Go to this website at https://www.dotmatrixink.com/ to learn more.
What is Scalp Micropigmentation?
Scalp micropigmentation, or SMP, is a non-surgical procedure that camouflages thinning hair and scalp scars by depositing medical-grade pigment into the skin. Essentially, it’s like a mini-tattoo or a more clinical variation of eyebrow microblading. A trained practitioner uses a tiny needle to tattoo thousands of tiny dots on your scalp, giving the illusion of shaved stubble or fuller hair.
The SMP technique is incredibly versatile and can be tailored to suit your specific style goals. Gisele Jara, a Los Angeles-based camouflage tattoo artist at Studio Sashiko, tells Allure that SMP can add a buzz cut look to a thin head of hair, define a receding hairline, or even create the effect of lush volume in areas of thicker strands. “It can even make a person’s crown look fuller,” she says.
A skilled SMP practitioner will carefully consider your facial features and hair loss pattern to provide a realistic result that aligns with your personal aesthetic. It’s important to communicate openly with your practitioner about your preferences, and to share reference photos or style inspiration to ensure a complete understanding between you and your provider.
SMP is a great option for men and women suffering from genetic or dermatologic conditions such as intractable alopecia areata, female pattern balding, or scarring from hair restoration procedures performed between the 1950s and 1990s (think FUT strip scars, FUE scars, Historic Plug scars, and cobblestone scars). And though it’s usually marketed to men with male-pattern baldness, SMP can be used by any man or woman who wants to create the look of a shaved head, a cleanly trimmed beard, or a more defined hairline.
SMP isn’t a permanent solution for hair loss, but it can last several years before fading or needing to be refreshed. And while it can be a costly investment, it is a non-invasive and minimally invasive treatment that can be done in your own salon. You’ll want to find an experienced SMP practitioner, and check their patient gallery and reviews before committing to an appointment. They should also have a valid clinic license for the practice, and be certified in scalp micropigmentation.
What is the Scalp Micropigmentation Procedure?
Scalp micropigmentation, or SMP, is a highly specialized tattoo process that requires an immense amount of training and experience. It is also extremely important that the artist you choose has a well-rounded portfolio of SMP clients and treatment results.
During the procedure, your artist will use a combination of finer needles to construct the perfect natural hairline, and a series of larger dots for a more filling effect in the rest of the scalp. The color of the pigment used is carefully matched to your skin and hair, so it looks like a natural shadow and will fade over time. This is completely normal, and touch-up sessions can be scheduled or built into the initial package price.
A wide range of clients seek SMP. While it is traditionally sought by men for redefining their hairlines and restoring density to balding spots, it is also popular among women who want to add fullness to their hair or correct uneven facial hair. In addition, women with alopecia, hair loss due to cancer treatments and other conditions may benefit from the treatment.
Before your treatment, it’s crucial to prepare your skin. Avoid using products with exfoliating ingredients that could damage the skin, and do not bleach or dye your hair for at least a week before the appointment. It is recommended that you also refrain from taking any medications that thin your blood.
During your session, your artist will apply numbing cream to reduce any discomfort you may feel. Depending on the size of the area being treated, the session will last 2-4 hours. After your treatment, you will need to allow the skin to heal for a few weeks before you start your maintenance routine.
Most SMP artists will require you to attend 2 or more sessions for optimum results. This allows for the proper healing and ensures the color saturation is even. This will also help prevent the appearance of scarring or fading. Touch-ups are typically included in your initial package, but you can always purchase them as needed. With the right care, your SMP can last several years before it begins to fade.
How Does Scalp Micropigmentation Work?
Scalp micropigmentation mimics the natural look of hair follicles using pigments that are customized to match your skin tone and blend in with existing hair. The process uses a tattoo machine to create dots or strokes that fill in sparse areas of the scalp. The procedure is less painful than most tattoos and can take anywhere from two to five hours depending on the size of the area being treated.
A skilled SMP artist can give you the appearance of closely shaved hair or more density in the scalp, and they will also be able to construct a natural hairline that complements your face shape. This can give you the confidence boost you need to stop hiding under a hat or using messy hair fibres, sprays or medication.
You can expect a few side effects from scalp micropigmentation, including slight redness that can last several hours after the session. You will also need to avoid getting your head wet until your provider tells you it’s okay to do so. This includes avoiding steam rooms or hot showers, and you should use a cap while swimming. It’s important to follow your provider’s care instructions to protect your investment and get the best results from your SMP treatment.
The biggest risk of scalp micropigmentation is choosing an unlicensed or inexperienced practitioner who may not take the necessary precautions. There is always a risk of infection anytime needles are punctured into the skin, but an experienced practitioner will minimize this risk by working in a clinical environment and taking all safety measures into account.
It’s also important to remember that scalp micropigmentation is a camouflage, not a hair restoration technique. It doesn’t stimulate new hair growth or reverse the pattern of thinning and receding hairlines or alopecia, but it can hide these imperfections to restore your self-confidence. It’s not recommended for people who have keloids or are pregnant, nursing or on blood-thinning medications. However, it is safe for people with autoimmune conditions such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis and is even effective for women who have undergone chemotherapy or radiation.
What Can Scalp Micropigmentation Treat?
Many men and women experience thinning hair or bald spots, whether from hereditary conditions like male pattern baldness or autoimmune diseases that lead to alopecia. And while there are plenty of options available that promise thicker strands—from over-the-counter topical products to in-clinic hair transplants and PRP —many of them can be expensive, time consuming and often won’t produce results right away.
Scalp micropigmentation, or SMP as it’s more commonly known, is a contemporary cosmetic treatment that conceals bald spots and thinning hair by tattooing the scalp with simulated follicles. Unlike a tattoo, however, the pigments used in SMP don’t interfere with your natural hair growth cycle and can be easily removed or changed if desired. And because it’s essentially hair camouflage, it works on all hair types and colors.
SMP is also less invasive than hair transplants and doesn’t require anesthesia, which makes it a good option for those who don’t want to deal with the recovery and recovery period of surgery. And although it may feel like a tattoo, the process isn’t painful. Most clients experience a little bit of redness and ‘dotting’ in the affected area after each session, but that soon passes.
Before your appointment, it’s important to take extra care of your scalp and hair. Jara recommends moisturizing and avoiding use of any topical hair products—especially those with abrasive ingredients or exfoliating scrubs. “Anything that will irritate your scalp or hair will impede the delivery of pigment,” she says. Additionally, you’ll need to refrain from drinking alcohol, which thins the blood, for several days leading up to and following your appointment. And don’t expose your scalp to heavy exercise or steamy showers (it’s best to wear a hat) for the same reason.
But SMP doesn’t just cover bald spots and thin hair, it can also be used to perfect your hairline by zeroing in on the way strands frame the face or create the appearance of a buzz cut on someone who is completely bald. And it’s not just for men, though they tend to be the ones who get the most benefit from it, as it can help women regain confidence by covering up a receding hairline or thinning crown and revealing more of their natural luster.