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SCALP MICROPIGMENTATION: AN ALTERNATIVE ALOPECIA TREATMENT
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Scalp micropigmentation as an alopecia treatment is a relatively new technique of placing tiny dots of specialized pigment ink on the scalp area. SMP uses a tattoo machine and needle to give the illusion of a buzz-cut hairstyle on a head with baldness or to add density to a thinning hairline or diffused hair loss. This treatment can also conceal scars from hair transplants or treat hair loss due to skin problems like alopecia areata.
What is Alopecia Areata
Hair loss that occurs in patches on the scalp or other areas of the body results from Alopecia areata, an autoimmune disorder that targets hair follicles. This condition affects around 6.8 million people in the United States alone. While it is not life-threatening, it can be emotionally distressing for those affected. Alopecia areata can be treated with various methods, including FDA-approved medications such as topical immunotherapy.
Topical immunotherapy uses a chemical solution to create an allergic reaction on the scalp, which can lead to hair regrowth. However, this treatment option may have side effects such as severe redness and itching. Another treatment option is hair transplantation, which involves moving hair follicles from a donor site to the balding area.
It may prove to be an effective treatment option for individuals experiencing complete hair loss on the scalp or entire body, such as those with alopecia totalis or alopecia universalis. However, this treatment option may only suit some, requiring a healthy donor site and adequate hair growth.
Additionally, it can be expensive and may require multiple sessions. Other treatment options include minoxidil, corticosteroids, and phototherapy. Discussing all treatment options and risk factors with a healthcare professional before deciding on a treatment plan is essential.
While there is no cure for alopecia areata, various treatment options can help promote hair growth and improve the appearance of patchy hair loss. Before undergoing any treatment, it is crucial to consult with a healthcare professional and carefully consider the potential side effects associated with each option.
What is scalp micropigmentation, and how is this alopecia treatment performed?
We can consider scalp micropigmentation (SMP) like a tattoo, but it is nothing like a tattoo. Unlike traditional tattoos, scalp micropigmentation places the ink in the first layer of the skin, instead of the second one, like in tattoos.
The scalp micropigmentation alopecia treatment is applied in two or three sessions; every session takes one to two hours, and the result will remain for 3 to 8 years. After this time, some fading may occur, in which a touchup is done to refresh the look again.
Can we use SMP instead of a hair transplant?
Hair transplantation is a surgical technique that includes taking hair follicles from the back of the head scalp –the (donor) area- and implanting them in the balding (reception) area. After a few months, the transplanted hair starts growing, and new hair will cover the gaps. The main requirement for this surgery is to have a big donor area with enough donor’s hairs to be transplanted.
In some cases, the follicles in the donor area may not be enough to perform a transplant. In this situation, the patient will need to seek other solutions -for example, using artificial hair or hair extensions- as hair problems may cause psychological problems. In these situations, the micropigmentation technique can be an excellent alternative for patients unsuitable for a hair transplant.
When is recommended for patients to get this alopecia treatment?
We recommend the use of the SMP technique in these cases:
When the donor area is not enough or the patient suffers total hair loss: if the donor area has a low density and we can’t take grafts from it, or if the patient has a big baldness area, we resort to the SMP method.
Early hair falling: in these cases, we can’t do the graft transplantation due to the hair falling in its early stages.
Scalp micropigmentation for scars: we can use the SMP technique to hide scars from previous surgeries in which the FUT method has been used for hair transplantation.
After a first hair transplant: sometimes the grafts we take from the donor area may not be enough, so we need a second treatment to boost the visual density and give the patient a complete covering. As a result, we combine hair transplant surgery with the SMP.
For patients with alopecia: the SMP alopecia treatment offers an excellent way to cover the gaps resulting from alopecia, as these are outspread all over the head and scalp.
For women suffering from diffused hair loss. Unfortunately, women are not good candidates for hair transplants because their hair loss is diffused throughout the scalp area, so that no donor area would be suitable for the transplant.
Hair transplant or SMP method: what do I choose?
Hair transplants are excellent if you have a viable donor area. However, you may suffer some problems. On the other hand, the SMP is considered quite effective in covering hair falling in the cases we have mentioned before.
Still, you have to bear in mind that with this technique, you are not getting your hair back actually: it is more like a cover-up procedure, whereas a hair transplant will provide you with natural hair, which is probably what you have been dreaming of.
The main factor that will help you decide which method is better for you is asking yourself if you want to style your hair. Hair transplantation is the best choice if you prefer a good and natural look, but it will depend on having a good donor area. Not enough donor hair will result in a poor hair transplant outcome.
However, if the patient has complete or semi-full baldness, we prefer not to perform a hair transplant because the donor area will not give us enough grafts.
Anyway, you must consider that in hair transplantation, you will have natural hair that can be styled. Still, scalp micropigmentation is just an ink coverage you can’t modify or even deal with as it was natural hair.
Does scalp micropigmentation have risks?
SMP as an alopecia treatment is a safe technique, and no severe side effects have been reported. Also, this method will not damage your hair follicles as the pigments are used in the first layer of the skin, and follicles are much deeper in the scalp.
Scalp micropigmentation is acquiring popularity as an alternative treatment for alopecia. It entails depositing pigments into the scalp with a microneedle to stimulate hair follicles, giving the appearance of a naturally shaven head or adding density to thinning hair. Additionally, the treatment is cost-effective compared to other hair loss remedies, such as hair transplant surgery.
Practitioners with a hair styling or dermatology background can offer valuable knowledge and expertise to the treatment, ensuring that it is carried out precisely and safely. The procedure may require multiple sessions and periodic touch-ups, but the outcomes may be permanent. Overall, SMP is a safe and effective solution for those experiencing hair loss or thinning, and it can enhance confidence and self-esteem.
If you suffer from hair loss problems and want a definite solution, we always recommend you get informed and receive a professional assessment. We are always willing to answer your doubts about scalp micropigmentation or other hair treatment techniques.
Do not hesitate to contact us: we will provide you with a free consultation to evaluate your best options to bring your hair back. If you are losing your hair, please fill out our FREE ONLINE HAIR LOSS ASSESSMENT FORM.
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