You’re probably most familiar with brow microblading, which is a type of semi-permanent tattoo that helps fill up your brows, but this treatment isn’t only for your brows. If you spend a lot of time attempting to hide thinning hair or seeking for effective hair growth options, scalp micropigmentation (SMP) might make your life a lot simpler.
While scalp micropigmentation isn’t a replacement for Minoxidil and isn’t a “regrowth” treatment in and of itself, the idea is that it will fill in any thinning spots and make your hair seem denser. But, for a thinning scalp, is semi-permanent the way to go?
To discover out, we asked professionals Courtney Benvisto, Ramon Padilla, proprietor of the microblading salon, and board-certified dermatologists Robin Blum, MD, FAAD, and Arash Akhavan, MD, FAAD.
GET TO KNOW THE EXPERT
- Courtney Benvisto works as an aesthetician at New York Dermatology Group in Manhattan.
- Robin Blum, MD, FAAD, of Central Park South Dermatology in New York City, is a board-certified dermatologist.
- Arash Akhavan, MD, FAAD, is a board-certified dermatologist and the founder of New York City’s The Dermatology and Laser Group.
- Ramon Padilla is the owner and creative director of New York City’s EverTrue Microblading Salon.
How Does Scalp Micropigmentation Work?
Scalp micropigmentation is a semi-permanent technique for concealing hair loss by imitating hair with pigment or ink. “Pigment is physically put into the skin, as with all types of permanent makeup,” adds Benvisto. “This may be done with a tattoo machine or by hand, generating little dots that, when placed closely together, produce a shaded look.”
It is, technically, a scalp tattoo. “It simulates genuine hair and helps disguise patches of losing hair on the scalp,” adds Blum.
Micropigmentation vs. Microblading on the Scalp
The distinction between micropigmentation and microblading is slight but significant. While both require the application of color to the skin, the process used is significantly different. Micropigmentation is a technique that employs a tattoo machine to make individual pin-pricks of pigment that imitate hair follicles and create an overall darkened or ombre look throughout the scalp.
Microblading, on the other hand, uses a fine, needle-tipped, non-electric instrument to “draw on” individual hairs on the skin’s outermost layer. This therapy is best for the brows and hairline rather than the scalp.
“Microblading is kinder on the skin and outcomes are more predictable,” adds Benvisto. “The issue with scalp microblading is that the strokes can extend under the skin and blur with time.”
Carefully placed strokes can look fantastic on the brows since brow hair has very little natural movement, whereas the scalp is continuously moving, making the strokes more visible and false.”
You may also check: All Things You Need To Know About Hairline Microblading
The Advantages of Scalp Micropigmentation
Immediate gratification: Who doesn’t enjoy quick gratification? “This therapy produces quick and apparent benefits,” adds Akhavan. “There are no prescriptions, no dangerous chemicals, and no downtime.”
More control over the results: Because this treatment is done by hand, you have a little more influence over the final look. “You can control the loudness as well as how far down the forehead and temples you want to go.” That is not achievable with therapies such as hair regeneration solutions,” explains Padilla.
The pigment can be worn for up to 18 months: Scalp micropigmentation can last anywhere between 12 and 18 months. “Results vary depending on skin type, sun exposure, and how frequently one washes their hair,” Blum explains. “It is not suggested for persons with oily skin or those who have had a lot of sun exposure—it will fade faster.”
Less painful than other PRP or hair transplant methods: Though not completely painless, our specialists believe that this approach is less painful than other hair transplant treatments.
You may also like: Mircroneedling For Hair: Everything You Need To Know About It
Preparing for Scalp Micropigmentation
Only receive this treatment from someone who specializes in micropigmentation, according to our specialists. This may be an aesthetician at a medspa or a dermatologist’s clinic, but once you’ve found someone you trust, you can figure out how much pigment you want, what would look best, and locate the greatest color match.
When the big day arrives, Akhavan advises arriving with a completely clean scalp and avoiding alcohol for 24 hours previous to your session.
What Can You Expect From Scalp Micropigmentation?
While scalp micropigmentation is less painful than other procedures of hair transplantation, it is not completely painless. After all, there are needles and blades involved. “Patients are numbed with topical numbing cream prior to the treatment,” adds Akhavan.
After numbing the region, the technician will use the tattoo machine to generate dots or strokes in which pigment is then imbedded, filling in the areas of the scalp with scant hair or baldness.
“The patient’s pain threshold determines the amount of agony, although numbing cream helps and the strokes are extremely light, so it’s not too uncomfortable.”
“The sensation is comparable to itching,” Akhavan explains. She says that the procedure can take two to five hours, depending on the size of the treatment region, and that it may require more than one session to achieve the desired coverage.
Possible Side Effects?
Scalp micropigmentation is not the greatest option if you are prone to keloids, which you may be aware of due to piercing sensitivity. This therapy is also not advised if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or using blood thinners (though Padilla adds that this is a good treatment for postpartum hair loss).
You should also evaluate the health of your scalp. “It may aggravate underlying scalp disorders like psoriasis and seborrheic dermatitis,” Blum explains.
Treatments range in price from $500 to $1,200, depending on location.
“We ask them not to expose the treatment region to water for one week,” Padilla explains. Unfortunately, this means no washing your hair, which can be aggravating if the treatment region has crusting or scabbing. You should also minimize sun exposure until fully healed, and apply SPF to your scalp if you go outside (which you should have been doing anyway).
The Bottom Line
Scalp micropigmentation is not for everyone because of the expense and time involved. If you have mild losing or thinning hair, it may be good to consult a trichologist or attempt less invasive therapies such as hair masks, vitamins, or Minoxidil to see what type of results you obtain.
If you’re still self-conscious about your scalp showing through your hair, or if you’re upset with how long hair growth treatments take, this is a fantastic next step. You may get your treatment in the morning and then head out to brunch right afterwards (though maybe avoid the mimosas for the day).