What is Scalp Micropigmentation?

Microblading and similar procedures have been around for a while now, and are becoming more and more popular thanks to wider demand and increased ease of access. Over time, new methods and technology have come into play, allowing microblading to become a more comfortable procedure for all.

If you're well-acquainted with the world of beauty and style, you must have already heard of microblading for eyebrows; micropigmentation is a similar procedure that targets the scalp instead of the eyebrows.

Scalp micropigmentation is an excellent treatment for hair loss; it may look simple, but there is much more to it than what first meets the eye. The results are noteworthy, and a successful procedure can do wonders for your appearance.

What Is Scalp Micropigmentation?

Scalp micropigmentation, or SMP, is essentially a non-surgical procedure that helps create the illusion of dense hair. It is like adding permanent, hand-drawn streaks or dots to your scalp, which mimic the appearance of real hair. The practice is remarkably similar to tattooing but still has its differences.

The process is quite straightforward, but still requires impeccable skill and expertise; micropigmentation can only be performed by a trained hand with ample practice. While it doesn't qualify as a surgical procedure, the protocol is similar in terms of sanitization, duration, skill, and tediousness.

Scalp Micropigmentation is unique because no two sessions are the same; each new client gets their own special color blend, stroke thickness, and stroke density. The entire procedure is customized to suit the demands of the client; after all, scalp micropigmentation is a cosmetic procedure, and hence an art form.

Who Can Benefit From The Procedure?

SMP is ideal for anyone experiencing pattern baldness, thinning hair, hair fall, or a receding hairline. People with a bald scalp can also use it to enhance the appearance of their hair follicles, giving a cleaner, sharp look that resembles a buzz cut.

Scalp micropigmentation does not discriminate between men or women, and either gender can use it to improve their appearance. It serves as a confidence booster for many people, particularly those experiencing alopecia, or similar conditions. It can also help hide surgical scars on the scalp.

Scalp pigmentation with long hair is also possible, as it helps make the crown area appear more densely packed with hair, and gives a better overall look.

There are other cases where people can benefit from undergoing a scalp micropigmentation procedure too. This can be the case for a person who is receiving cancer treatment, for example.

Treatments used to kill cancer cells are known to cause hair loss in both men and women. Patients undergoing such treatment can opt for scalp micropigmentation. This can help to create an illusion of fuller and thicker hair during the period of hair loss, particularly while the patient is receiving treatment.

How Does Scalp Micropigmentation Work?

When a person opts for scalp micropigmentation, they need to ensure a trained and highly skilled practitioner will perform the procedure.

The process is not initiated before the practitioner has a chance to thoroughly examine the patient's scalp. During the initial consultation, the practitioner will take a closer look at the patient's scalp. The practitioner will also ask the patient about the reason for their hair loss, which can help them determine what type of strategy needs to be used.

The patient is also asked what the goals are for the scalp micropigmentation. Some people want to gain the appearance of a hairline, while others want to fill up gaps where thinning hair becomes more visible.

The practitioner will be able to use this information to determine how much work needs to be done. This allows them to determine how much time the procedure will take and how many sessions the patient will require to achieve their desired results.

The treatment plan is then discussed with the patient. Following confirmation, appointments are scheduled.

Scalp micropigmentation works by artificially replicating a person's hair through tattoo-like strokes on the scalp's surface.

The procedure is mainly performed with the use of a special tattoo device. This is why some people would refer to scalp micropigmentation as tattoos. There are times where the procedure is referred to as a scalp tattoo. Some people also call it an alopecia tattoo, which applies to cases where people want to cover up bald patches caused by alopecia.

The tattoo machine is used with a type of ink that is considered safe for the skin. The reason for using a tattoo machine is because the skin at the scalp area is quite thick. While a blade is used in microblading, the skin of the scalp is too thick for a similar technique. A tattoo machine is able to provide a better way of penetrating the skin. This allows the ink to be implanted at a deeper level, which generally provides better results.

The strokes may be single dots or slightly longer dashes; they are made to resemble the skin's natural hair follicles, hence creating an illusion of dense hair.

In some cases, the entire head is covered with these tattooed dots. In other cases, only small parts of the scalp will be treated. It depends on how severe the patient's condition is. The patient's goal with the scalp micropigmentation procedure also affects how large of an area will be treated.

Safety and Risks

There aren't many risks associated with SMP, as long as you're allowing a certified professional to do it. Here are some things to watch out for before you commit to scalp micropigmentation:

·   Sterilization: Make sure your SMP practitioner is using fully sterilized tools; some tools are shared between clients, whereas others, like needles, are generally thrown away, and a fresh one is used each time. However, for those tools which are reusable, sanitization is very important to prevent the spread of diseases between clients.

·   Color: While not a health risk, it is important that you choose the right color; using a pigment that's too dark for your scalp will make the procedure look strikingly unnatural, whereas an extremely light shade may not show up on your skin the way you would want it to, hence doing next to nothing for your hair density.

The chance of having an allergic reaction to the pigment is slim, as the inks used are all organic. By far, the largest potential risk is a lack of sanitization, but any experienced practitioner will know better than to use an unsterilized tool.

As for blood, there is very limited bleeding, if any. A few spots of blood may appear across the scalp during or even after the procedure, but these are normal and will heal soon. Swelling is also possible, but goes down soon after the treatment as long as proper care is taken; icing works best in such cases. You may also experience a sunburn-like feeling, but this will fade within 48 hours.

If you are still uncertain about the procedure and wish to know more about safety risks, consider reading some scalp micropigmentation reviews online to better understand what the procedure feels like.

Does Scalp Micropigmentation Hurt?

A tattoo is generally associated with pain. Many people who have a tattoo on their body can attest to the fact that there is some pain associated with the process of obtaining a tattoo. Since a tattoo machine is used during scalp micropigmentation, many people ask if the procedure is painful too.

The answer is neither yes or no, as it really comes down to the patient. Some patients may say that the procedure hurts a little. Others may report that they feel no pain sensations when they undergo a scalp micropigmentation procedure.

Some practitioners may choose to apply a numbing product to the patient's scalp. This is a topical numbing agent that helps to reduce pain sensations on the skin of the scalp. After the numbing agent is applied, the practitioner may wait a few minutes before they start the procedure. However, many other practitioners have reported that numbing agents are ineffective as the patients can still feel the needles penetrate the scalp and can also have a negative impact on the end results of the procedure. 

Ultimately, there may be some level of discomfort. The discomfort may be caused by the tattoo device penetrating the skin. Some patients do note that they did not experience discomfort during the procedure.

A person's own pain threshold comes into play here. A person with a better pain threshold will experience less discomfort when the tattoo device is used on their scalp compared to an individual with a lower pain threshold.

Healing From Scalp Micropigmentation

Healing from scalp micropigmentation can take up to 6 or 8 weeks, depending on your skin's condition and how well you take care of it. During the healing procedure, you may experience redness and mild swelling or even bleeding in the first few days, but these will be minimal and can easily be taken care of using an ice pack.

Aftercare includes icing when necessary, as well as avoiding shampoo, lotions, or other products for one week. You must also steer clear of the water for 5 days, and use a shower cap if necessary. Over time, scabs may form, but these will fall off themselves and should not be tampered with.

After healing completely, be sure to wear sunblock (minimum 30 SPF) on your scalp, if bare, to protect it from UV rays. This will also help the pigmentation stay fresh.

Is It Permanent?

Whether or not scalp pigmentation is permanent depending on the type of treatment that is used. There are both permanent and temporary solutions that most practitioners will be able to offer a patient.

Sometimes, only a temporary solution may be needed. This type of treatment may be useful when a person knows why they are experiencing hair loss, and the issue will only be temporary. An example would be a person who is undergoing treatment for cancer. Once treatment is completed, hair generally starts to grow back again. Thus, only a temporary illusion may be required to help make hair seem thicker and fuller for a short period of time.

A temporary solution may last up to two years. After this time, the dots that were created during the scalp micropigmentation procedure will fade. Over time, the dots will no longer be visible.

A permanent solution can be obtained when hair loss is more significant, and an alternative treatment is not considered. The permanent treatment will last for a much longer period compared to a temporary option. In most cases, patients will find that a permanent scalp micropigmentation procedure lasts for up to six years, sometimes longer, before it even starts fading.

At the six-year mark, there may be a fading of the pigmentation that was created with the tattoo device. A touch-up would generally be advised at this time. The touch-up is less invasive than the initial procedure and will focus on restoring the color of the dots that were placed on the patient's scalp.

Scalp Pigmentation Cost

SMP is traditionally covered over two to three sessions and can cost anywhere between $1200 and $4000 depending on the degree of work that needs to be done. For example, a procedure covering severe hair loss would cost more than one for a mild receding hairline.

The prices do vary depending on multiple factors, though, and may go higher or lower than the estimate above.

The practitioner will need to assess the patient in person to get a better idea of what they need to do. The practitioner takes everything into account and then provides the patient with an overview of the most appropriate treatment plan that will work for them. This includes a breakdown of the costs that will be involved.


Scalp micropigmentation can help people feel more confident in their bodies and feel better about themselves. It is a safe method of combating receding hairlines or hair loss and does not have harmful long term side effects, unlike other therapies, including hormone replacement and medication for hair loss. All in all, it is one of the best ways to combat hair problems and can be achieved by anyone regardless of gender or age.