Scalp Micropigmentation aka Hair Tattoo: Should You Do it?

Daniel Bishop
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Why do we lose our hair?

One of my clients asked me the other day should we do hair tattoo. It is a popular procedure in Singapore. The way it works is pigment is injected into your skin to make your hair look like it's still there.

The discussion went something like this…

Client: I have considered doing this. However, I'm worried if it will look too artificial.

Me: In general – how thick is your hair?

Client: I have a lot of hair. However, it is thin. Just as it starts to get a bit of volume, as you know, it starts getting sparse.

Me: My guess is it will still be very convincing. It done right. (From a cosmetic tattoo artist's point of view)

Client: Is it a good idea if we were to do this at young age?

Me: If you have enough money to travel to Singapore, I think it's a good idea to get it done. If you think you can make it worn naturally then get it done.

Client: Do you think this can be worn naturally?

Me: Having a natural looking scalp, especially for Asians, will be great.

Client: Do you really think it's that natural?

Genetics

Hair is primarily a genetic trait. By placing a hair tattoo, you are changing the genetic expression of your hair. This means that if you are a person who has thin or very thin hair, it may be that a hair tattoo will give you more volume than if you did not have it tattood. This is due to the fact that you are turning off the bald gene.

The tattoo ink when it is injected into your scalp, essentially turns off the bald gene. If you are sharing this trait with other family members, you may not get the same results as other members of your family who do not have the dense hair gene.

Medical

While the benefits of scalp micropigmentation are quite extensive, there are still industries that this procedure may be better suited for. There are many medical and health benefits to this procedure, but the first and foremost is to correct hair loss.

If you have suffered from hair loss and are not looking to achieve a hairstyle, but rather want hair back then you may find this procedure interesting. This is due to the fact that it will actually not look like hair, but won’t look fake.

Additionally, scalp micropigmentation is becoming a very trendy alternative to wigs, which is a huge trend these days. It is also great for hair loss due to chemotherapy, genetic, or other medical concerns.

Another great benefit of this procedure is that it can also make you look younger and fresher. It will also help you to get rid of your bad hair days.

You should also note that this procedure will do wonders for someone who has been suffering from alopecia. This is due to the fact that it will cover up the spots in which the hair is missing. Scalp micropigmentation is about vanity and having the ability to change the way you look with a simple procedure.

Stress and trauma

It may sound counterintuitive, but this is a very good reason to do this type of tattooing.

Ever treated for post-traumatic stress or had a rough childhood? Having a “targeted” tattoo, one that can only be seen during arousal, helps with this. It is also good for reducing work related stress, and even some anxiety.

If you are frequently very stressed or angry, try to find ways to reduce this.

There are many good ways to do this, and some people are able to manage their stress well enough by taking a few minutes and taking some deep breaths. Massage is also great to release tension from the body. Doing these types of things will give you the right mindset for what you’re about to do.

If you can’t appear un-relaxed in private, one of the best things you can do is to try and find a partner who will be willing to give you a massage before tattooing you. Always set up a calm, relaxing atmosphere, and make sure you’re relaxed.

Poor lifestyle and nutrition

Choices have ruined the health of my hair…

As a result, my scalp has become increasingly damaged and this has led to a substantial hair breakage. While I would love to have a full head of hair, it seems that this is not the case. I am definitely at the point where I need a solution to this problem or I might regrettably consider shaving my head.

What are other options? I have been in the market for solutions to the hair loss that I experience and one very interesting solution has peaked my interest. Scalp micropigmentation or hair tattooing is one of the most interesting alternative solutions to hair loss that I have come across.

What exactly is a tattoo for my scalp? Is the procedure painful? How is it performed? How long does it last? Do I have to shave my head? And what are the advantages of a scalp tattoo?

These are the things that I am going to answer in more detail below. For now, I will say that this solution offers options to those people who are experiencing hair loss.

What is Scalp Micropigmentation?

The term scalp micropigmentation (SMP) referring to a form of tattooing created specifically for those dealing with hair loss or scalp conditions. Scalp micropigmentation is an extension of the practice of micropigmentation, which requires the use of hairs, but is used to create permanent makeup on the face and body. It is a service that allows those who have lost their hair to have an illusion of a full head of hair once again.

More importantly, though, this practice offers women and those individuals who have undergone hair loss from other diseases and health conditions, an opportunity to regain their sense of confidence in their appearance.

The best part about scalp micropigmentation is that it is a service that can work with anyone. It is an ideal solution for anyone who has lost their hair and it is also the perfect solution for anyone who just wants to try something different with their appearance.

There are so many different types of scalp micropigmentation available. The design options are limitless and the cost varies depending on the services and number of treatments necessary to obtain a perfectly rendered scalp tattoo.

How does it work?

The skin is made up of several layers, just like your hair. A special tattoo machine is used to implant pigment into the deepest layer of skin.

This process is referred to as “intradermal” as it implant the pigment into the dermis of the skin. This means that the placement is permanent and cannot be seen by looking at the skin.

The pigment only shows up when the correct light reflects off the skin, for example when the sun hits a person’s face, the light reflects of the skin and makes it appear as if it is glowing.

The entire process takes around 8 hours. It’s divided into 3 parts:

Part 1: Prepping the skin.

Part 2: Applying the pigment.

Part 3: Healing.

How much does it cost?

Hair density

While you probably want enough hair to make you look great, the options for hair density for hair tattooing to the scalp are limited. You might be able to have long hair, but not have much thickness, for example. It’s always better for hair to match up when people that are close to you see you with your hair down or first thing in the morning. The technique is still to be perfected, so that the density is similar to real hair, but that’s not something you need to worry about for your first treatment.

The options for hair color and style are more varied and realistic looking. If you want very long long hair, that could be possible, but you need to consider how it will look with your face and what kind of maintenance it will require.

For instance, long, straight hair is more likely to be flat on the scalp and could be too heavy. If the hair is curly, it could turn into an Afro, and that’s something to consider. There are many hair treatments available for natural hair, so it’s usually easier to match the current texture.

There are many hair color options that look realistic, and if you are concerned that white hair won’t be a good look for you, then you can at least go with darker shades.

Skin type

There are different types of skin and different shades of skin, just like their are different types of hair and different shades of hair.

In tattooing, ink adheres to light colored skin better than dark skin, just like permanent marker or felt tip marker ink can show up better on white paper than black paper.

The obvious solution to every one of these problems is deciding on the design colors that will work best with your skin and hair. In most cases, this would be black or dark grey tones.

The exception to this rule is the superficial peachy-brown shade of ink. This color is especially popular with light skin and darker shades of hair.

Scarring

One of the main reasons women are seeking this treatment to identify themselves with different hair colors is a result of scarring. This includes scalp micropigmentation where the color starts from the wound and can continue to the hairline.

If the scar is on the scalp, then taking the color of the scar and bordering it with 3 or 5 mm (around 1/8th of an inch) of a natural hair color is effective.

A few of the other reasons women are getting hair tattoo is to cover up thinning hair (only a few women get this treatment). This can be very effective with thick sable shades and realistic colored designs.

Lastly, some treatments are done on hairline spots or lines. There are very subtle ways of creating these natural looking designs. For example, the waves in your naturally dark hair can be replicated in light colors to add a natural looking dimension.

How long does it last?

Scalp micropigmentation is almost permanent. The ink is implanted in the dermal layer of the scalp, which has been compared to the epidermis layer of the skin.

The chances of the ink fading and washing out are slim. However, not all waves are permanent due to a variety of factors.

Most of you may have tried having a tattoo before on your skin. That is not the same as performing a scalp micropigmentation procedure. The latter is often considered a precision art due to the skill of the artist in placing the ink.

Your scalp hair is also an important factor in the longevity of the tattoo. In fact, the texture of your hair may also affect the procedure. If you have a weak hair follicle or your scalp is too strong and grows quickly, micropigmentation may not last as long as hoped because the ink may wash out more often.

Scalp micropigmentation advantages

A natural look for both men and women is the number one advantage and one of the most popular reasons why people decide to get a scalp micropigmentation treatment.

Styles and Patterns Can Be Customized

Scalp micropigmentation treatments are very natural looking too so that’s an additional advantage of this hair loss treatment.

A new hairline look can provide a hair loss cure for bald men.

Scalp micropigmentation can help both men and women with hair thinning since the treatment can regrow natural hair for bald men and also for thinning or shedding hair.

Customized styles are another big reason why people like scalp micropigmentation also known as hair tattoo.

For men who lose their hair very fast, this is one of the hair loss cure options they may try. Scalp micropigmentation can give them an opportunity to get a temporary cure for baldness or a hair transplant if they don’t want to have a hair transplant surgery.

A hair transplant can give them a permanent fix but scalp micropigmentation involves less pain and side effects.

With so many advantages to scalp micropigmentation, many men and women decide to get this treatment done.

Scalp micropigmentation disadvantages

Unlike tattoos, scalp micropigmentation requires a skin test for an allergic reaction as injected pigments get deposited under the top layer of skin called the epidermis. If the test is negative then the whole procedure takes place without further complications. If the test is positive, the client has to stop the treatment and consult a dermatologist for further assessment. In addition, there is also no possibility of creating a realistic hairline or any other options, as each pigmented hair is not connected to the others. The client has no choice but to choose a unit-dot type of cluster.

Micromotives are very well expressed on the scalp, but scalp pigmentation is not an alternative to hair transplantation, but rather a supplement. It is a good way to disguise scars and bruises. And the supplement to touch up the process after a hair transplant.

Who is Scalp Micropigmentation for?

This procedure is ideal for men and women with thinning hair or baldness that wants an instant solution to look great again.

People who might like this type of procedure are men who go bald in the same place each time they lose their hair and women who want to eliminate the scars left by hair transplants. It also eliminates the process and the costs associated with donor areas.

It's for anyone that wants to be able to eliminate the signs of thinning hair or baldness by masking them.

What applications does SMP have?

SMP is supposed to be used for people who repeatedly lose their hair, no matter what reason. The idea is to stop the fractional loss of hair even if just one or two hairs.

Additionally, it can highlight the areas where hair used to be to create the illusion of a full head of hair.

All depends on if the client wants to take advantage of the increased confidence they get from looking the way they want.

Is SMP for me?

Consider the following general issues:

  • Does the SMP service guarantee to make hair look 100% natural?
  • How does SMP look on different skin colors? What if my skin is dark?
  • How does the hairline look like? Is there going to be a definitive demarcation, or will the hairs blend into the existing hairline?
  • How will the color look like? Natural? Or bold and dark?
  • What will the general contrast ratio be? What will the texture and natural appearance be like? Is this what you want?
  • What about the cost? How much will the procedure cost?

If you are satisfied with every answer to all of the above questions, then SMP may be for you. You may also need to look at the quality of the SMP provider or clinics. How many years of experience do they have? Do they have pictures or before and after examples to show to you?

Many providers nowadays offer hair tattoo services, since many men and women have lost their hair due to chemotherapy. If you already have hair on the head, SMP will help your hair to grow, remain full, and healthy.

What is it like getting Scalp Micropigmentation done?

It is a bit unusual to get used to having ink injected into your scalp.

The intensity of the feeling while the pigment is being implanted varies with each person. It can range from uncomfortable to tickling or stinging.

It is more intense on your forehead and scalp than on the nape of your neck and most likely unbearable around the hairline and hair whorl.

The sensation will be annoying for the first 10 days as the skin stretches while the tattoo heals.

The first 5 days are crucial. The scalp skin stretches a lot and can lose elasticity. This can lead to hair loss in the area, so you need to be extra careful not to tug, pull, or press on the area.

Also, try to refrain from washing your hair frequently because this could irritate the skin and cause irritation.

Displaying your ink in public will take some getting used to as well.

You might feel a bit self-conscious about your new permanent addition at first.

But after a while, it will become your old normal. And once you get used to having hair tattoo, you will see how easy it is and wonder why you waited so long to get it done.

To maintain incredible hair tattoos long after the ink is done, you will have to be careful not to damage the skin.

Why does SMP take multiple treatments?

In order for the results of any treatment to be correct, the hair should grow naturally to the length you want. So if you want a short cut, you need the natural hair to be short as well.

Treatments at an early stage of hair growth work for those who want to create a new look. However, SMP is best for those who want to completely change their hair and have long hair to work with.

The tattooed hair is permanent and so is the result.

You may very well want to have your hair cut as well as colored or permed in the future, but SMP is usually not to be fading away.

SMP is a method that transforms the look of your hair by using the same natural hair you already have, but covering it with ink to achieve a new look.

It’s a tattoo for your hair that can be pulled off in varying degrees of sophistication.

Since your hair is there already, you just have to choose the color and look you want for your hair when you are going to get it done.

Consultation

Preparation is crucial for a successful Scalp Micropigmentation, also known as a hair tattoo. Make sure that you have your consultation well in advance of your preferred date. You want to avoid being in a rush and feeling pressured.

If possible, it’s a good idea to bring a couple of examples of work that you like. This will help communicate your idea of how you want your scalp to look.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions. If you’re not clear about something, your technician should be able to explain. This includes questions related to pricing, pain, hair density and shading.

You’ll also want to pick a date for your appointment. Availability is usually subject to suppliers and artists, so you’ll want to avoid picking a date that your technician might have a hard time accommodating.

Treatment

Since the growth cycle of a human hair lasts from two to four years, it is very important and beneficial to treat hair loss in the earlier phases.

The earlier you approach your hair loss problem, the quicker you will see results. The hair tattooing procedure is known for its high success rates as new hair cells are permanently formed.

Even though not all treatments are equal, using this protocol you can maximize the effectiveness of the treatment.

Step 1 :-It is wise to visit a doctor before taking any decision. One can even decide to start the therapy with just treatment A for a few months and then move to treatment B or just stay with treatment A.

Step 2:-Set up a consultation with a clinic that has a good hair tattooing success rate. At this point, it is best to consult a local clinic to understand the procedure and the overall costs of the entire process.

Step 3:-Have a good check up of the skin. Also make sure you discuss with your doctor any drug related problems you may have had in the past.

Step 4:-Now that you know a hair tattoo doctor, it’s time to understand how the method works. The hair tattooing consists of three phases. This gives you the perfect example of a timeline.

Preparation

It is necessary to let the scalp heal for a few days after getting hair tattooed. During the healing period, you should avoid sports and other physical activities that might lead to damage of the tattooed area.

In addition, you should avoid washing your scalp to reduce chances of getting an infection. It is recommended that you cover your scalp with a bandage or a hat until it is fully healed.

By paying attention to hygiene, avoiding physical activities and applying ointments or oils, you will be able to enjoy the new hair tattoo for years to come.

Does it hurt?

Hair tattooing can be more painful than traditional tattooing since the needles used are smaller. If you have any sensitive areas like ears or are easily prone to being sensitive, this may be the case with you.

However, in general and for most people, hair tattooing is not that painful. Some areas, like for example the scalp, might be more sensitive than others. Hair tattooing is done very close to the dermis layer of your skin, so you may feel slight pricking and twitching sensations.

Keep in mind that when choosing your tattoo artist, you want someone with experience in performing these kinds of procedures on people with sensitive skin.

Hair tattoos usually take about two hours and a full-head tattoo can be finished in one session.

You may feel a bit tired, dizzy, or lightheaded when the anesthesia wears off.

Keep in mind, that you will need to keep your head elevated to avoid swelling.

Post-Treatment

You will absolutely need to take good care of your hair after treatment for the hair tattoo, here’s why:

  • Firstly, it is very important that you follow what your permanent make-up artist suggests about washing, drying and styling your hair.
  • If you do not follow the post-treatment care list, your hair can get infected and you might lose your hair.
  • If you do not follow post-treatment care carefully your permanent make-up will fade out sooner.
  • After washing your hair, make it shake-dry (never brush your hair after washing), and if you are unable to shake-dry your hair, you can use a hair dryer on your coolest setting.
  • Use a wide-tooth comb to comb your hair; never use a hairbrush.
  • Always sleep on a satin pillow case, never on a cotton or synthetic one.
  • Always wear a shower cap while showering.
  • The best way to dry your hair after a shower is to place a towel on your pillow and lay your head on top of the towel while drying your hair. This will keep your head away from moisture, which can cause infections.

How does it compare to other hair treatments?

Like other hair treatments like haircuts or waxing, Scalp micropigmentation may look like a high-maintenance option at first glance. However, given that the procedure only requires a few sessions, it is arguably more sensible.

Once the procedure is complete, you will still require regular haircuts as usual, but you won’t have to worry about damaging your hair with a hair removal treatment every few weeks. Moreover, once you have the procedure done, you don’t have to worry about regrowth as the pigment sticks with your hair.

This is in contrast to common hair removal options that require upkeep to keep follicles permanently away. And let’s be honest, ones your are a little old to be struggling with the pain of waxing every month, it’s never really fun.

1. Medications

Can do more harm than good.

Every year millions of dollars are lost, when people take medications they don’t really need, and worsen their condition. Prevention is better than cure. Doctors have to do their own work and they are trying to meet their own goals and deadlines. They are human and they make mistakes. Seek a second opinion when your condition is not improving.

While treatments for scalp micropigmentation are expensive, they are cheaper than all the medications and surgery you would be getting otherwise. Over the course of years and decades a single procedure can prove to be much cheaper and a much safer option.

What do others think about it?

Has anybody ever told you how your hair looks ugly and it’s thinning and that he is going to start baldness treatment soon, or that he uses Rogaine (Minoxidil) or Propecia? The goal is not to compliment only.

No matter what your hair looks like, people are always happy to tell you what you shouldn’t change. While you can freely ask your friends if there is any problem with your looks, you can’t expect them to have a deep knowledge about the scalpel works.

2. Hair Transplant Surgery

3. Natural Methods

If you're tired of waxing, tweezing, “laser removal,” or, frankly, any of the hair removal methods listed so far, then read on.

Temporary solutions

The best thing to do is to use a good hair loss shampoo that builds the hair back up and cleanses the scalp of the oil build-up that can lead to follicle clogging and further hair loss.

If you are looking for hair loss solutions, try to boost your hair growth with some of the more advanced and common solutions that are in use today. Scalp micropigmentation is one of them.

Can hair loss be reversed? Can your hair be fully grown back?

Micropigmentation is a procedure that will help you by putting down a permanent pigment ink into your scalp. It is similar to a tattoo but on the surface of your scalp. It is permanent pigment ink, which will stay on your scalp for years to come.

The ink that is used in this procedure is bio-degradable and free of chemicals – therefore, there are no side effects. It is safe for people of all skin types and under all skin tones. Also, it allows you to choose hair color options. It is one of the safest ways to restore hair loss.

Micropigmentation is one of the innovative and safest ways to get yourself some hair back, look young and feel great.

Conclusion

If you're into body modification, then you've probably come across the term, hair tattoo, or scalp micropigmentation, and wondered, "what is that and is it for me?" The practice of using a fine-tipped tattoo gun, to deposit tiny dots of ink to give the illusion of hair growth has been around for quite some time. However, it is a fairly new practice just for patterns in place of hair loss.

If you are suffering from Alopecia, have lost your hair due to some sort of accident, or are just like the idea of being able to shave your head and have your hair look great, scalp micropigmentation can add substance to your head of hair.

It's always a good idea to consult with a hair restoration expert before getting any procedure done to your head. There are a number of things that can happen if you don't it could be dangerous, such as infection, or it could just be a waste of time and money.

Before paying for a procedure sanctioned by someone without the proper training or education, ask questions, do research, and get quotes. Look for someone who is highly-skilled and specializes in the most realistic looking scalp microtattoos.

Expensive doesn't mean high-quality and you can usually get a better bargain online than you can through a brick and mortar establishment.