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SCALP MICROPIGMENTATION: AN ALTERNATIVE SOLUTION TO ANDROGENETIC ALOPECIA
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What is Scalp Micropigmentation?
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 androgenetic alopecia.
This treatment can also conceal scars from hair transplants or treat hair loss due to skin problems like alopecia areata.
What is Androgenetic Alopecia?
Male and female pattern baldness, also called androgenic alopecia, is a hair loss that affects both sexes, although it is more common in men. The gradual thinning of hair on the top of the scalp, which may eventually result in baldness and a receding hairline, is a distinguishing feature of this type of hair loss.
Androgenetic alopecia in men is caused by the hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which shrinks hair follicles over time. In women, this condition is known as female pattern hair loss or baldness, and it is often associated with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and high blood pressure.
There are different treatment options available for androgenic alopecia, including medications such as minoxidil (Rogaine) and finasteride (Propecia), which can stimulate hair growth. However, these drugs may not work for all individuals and can have adverse effects.
Hair transplantation is another option for treating androgenic alopecia, where hair follicles are taken from a donor area and transplanted to the balding areas.
Is scalp micropigmentation suitable for androgenetic alopecia?
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 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 used primarily in men with androgenetic alopecia. It 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 and suffering from androgenetic alopecia.
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 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 full covering. As a result, we combine hair transplant surgery with the SMP.
For patients with alopecia: the SMP method offers an excellent way to cover the gaps resulting from alopecia, as these gaps 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 no donor area would be suitable for the transplant.
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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 real 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 full 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 the hair transplantation, you will have real hair that can be styled, but the scalp micropigmentation is just an ink coverage that you can’t modify or even deal with as it was real hair.
Does scalp micropigmentation have risks?
SMP is a very safe technique, and no severe 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 androgenetic alopecia or other 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 for androgenetic alopecia. Do not hesitate to contact us: we will provide you with a free consultation to evaluate your best options to bring your hair back.
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