SMP is a form of cosmetic tattooing that works by placing pigment (ink) in the layers of the skin; similar techniques include microblading to fill out eyebrows and permanent makeup. SMP makes a stippled pattern on the scalp by placing microdots less than 1 mm in size, decreasing the contrast between hair and skin, and creating the illusion of fuller hair.
Hair loss (or alopecia) is a problem that affects over 80 million people in the United States; this can cause psychological and social distress to both men and women (NIH, 2015). While there is no cure for this condition, there are hair loss solutions to camouflage hair loss. Scalp micropigmentation (SMP) is one such option and has grown in popularity since it was first introduced in the early 2000s. The goal is for the microdots to look like hair follicles, the specialized structures in your scalp that produce hair.
Scalp micropigmentation (SMP) uses tattooing techniques to camouflage thinning hair by decreasing the contrast between skin and hair. It usually requires three sessions, one week apart for each session, with each session lasting one to two hours.
SMP can cost anywhere from $1800-$3800 per session. It is important to find a qualified SMP tattoo artist, as quality of work varies from clinic to clinic. His Hair Clinic | Hairtattoo.ca is a reputable clinic with 3 locations in the Toronto area, downtown Toronto, Richmond Hill, and Mississauga. In fact, His Hair Clinic invented the procedure almost 20 years ago, and is world renown as a leader in scalp micropigmentation.
Scalp micropigmentation uses standard tattooing instruments with several microneedles to create the stippling on the scalp. It is crucial to have a skilled tattoo artist performing the SMP. Every patient is different and the skin on the various parts of the scalp is not the same, so the tattoo artist needs to be able to make technical and artistic changes as he or she performs the procedure. If the pigment is placed too deep, it will become blotchy; if it is too shallow in the skin, it will bleed out and fade quicker.
What should you do after SMP treatment?
For the first two to four days after your treatment session, avoid showering or touching your scalp.
Do not perform activities that cause excessive sweating or expose your head to sunlight for two to four days.
After four days, start moisturizing your scalp, especially if you have another session scheduled.
In the first 30 days after your treatment, avoid direct sun exposure; wear a hat or sunscreen that is at least SPF 30.
Avoid swimming for 30 days after your last treatment and in between sessions.
Who should/should not get SMP?
SMP is a hair loss solution for people with many different types of alopecia. You may benefit from SMP if you have one.
Androgenic alopecia, also known as hereditary baldness; can be used for male or female pattern baldness
Scalp scars, from scarring alopecias or scalp surgery (hair transplant surgery, trauma, etc.)
Autoimmune hair loss, like alopecia areata
Chemotherapy-associated hair loss that doesn’t grow back
“Failed” hair transplant (hair does not look as full as you would like)
The SMP tattooing process does cause some irritation and you should not have it done if you have inflammation in your scalp, like scalp acne, eczema, or psoriasis.
SMP does not treat the various causes of hair loss. Instead, it camouflages the thinning hair by decreasing the contrast of skin and hair; it is a cosmetic procedure.
To minimize these risks, make sure that you seek out a competent practitioner. There is no specific nationwide certification for SMP. In some areas, little to no training may be required before someone can perform SMP. Since it is a complicated process that involves adjusting techniques based on your skin, you should consult with someone who has had a lot of experience with SMP.
For more information about SMP scalp micropigmentation, visit https://hairtattoo.ca or book a free consultation at