Scalp micropigmentation is a relatively new technique consisting of the placement of tiny dots of specialized pigment ink on the scalp area with 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 be used to conceal scars from hair transplant or to treat hair loss due to skin problems like alopecia areata.
What is scalp micropigmentation, and how is this 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 tattoos.
The scalp micropigmentation treatment is applied in two or three sessions; every session takes a 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, which includes taking hair follicles from the back side 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 requisite for doing this surgery is to have a big donor area with enough donor hairs to be transplanted.
In some cases, the follicles in the donor area may not be enough to perform a transplant, so 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. It´s in these situations when the micropigmentation technique can be a good alternative solution for patients that are not suitable for a hair transplant.
When is recommended for patients to get this treatment?
We recommend the use of the SMP technique in these cases:
When the donor area is not enough or the patient suffers a full 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 falling of the hair 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 a 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 full covering. As a result, we combine the hair transplant surgery itself with the SMP.
For patients with alopecia: the SMP method offers a good way to cover the gaps resulting from alopecia, as these gaps are outspread all over the head scalp.
For women suffering from diffused hair loss. Women unfortunately are not good candidates for hair transplant due to the fact their hair loss is diffused throughout the scalp area, so there is no donor area that would be good 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; but 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 real hair, which is probably what you have been dreaming of.
The main factor that will help you to decide which method is better for you, is asking yourself if you want to style your hair or not. If you prefer to have a good and natural look, a hair transplantation is the best choice, 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 a full or semi-full baldness, we prefer not to perform a hair transplant because the donor area will not give us the enough number of grafts. Anyway, you must consider that in the hair transplantation you will have a real hair that can be styled, but the scalp micropigmentation is just an ink coverage that you can’t modify or even deal with it as it was real hair.
Does scalp micropigmentation have risks?
In fact, SMP is a very safe technique and no serious side effects have been reported about it. 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.
If you suffer from hair loss problems and you want to find a definite solution, we always recommend you to get informed and receive professional assessment. We are always willing to answer your doubts about scalp micropigmentation or any other techniques used for hair treatments. Do not hesitate in contacting us: we will provide you a free consultation where we´ll evaluate your best options to bring your hair back.
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