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What Is Scalp Micropigmentation?

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While you may already be familiar with microblading as a way to create a fuller brow, you may not know as much about scalp micropigmentation. The procedure of scalp micropigmentation, which you will often see referred to as SMP, has increased in popularity in recent years and aims to create the look of a fuller head of hair. 

Scalp micropigmentation has become a popular option when it comes to hair loss treatment, as it is a lot more than simply a hair tattoo. However, it is important that you are fully aware of all the facts before you go ahead with this non-surgical treatment. So, here is everything you need to know about scalp micropigmentation to help you decide if it is the right treatment for you. 

The basics 

Microblading is a cosmetic procedure undertaken by many men and women, as it enhances the fullness and shape of many areas of their body, such as lips and eyebrows. SMP differs from microblading, as instead of tattooing hair-like strokes, it uses tiny black dots, added to the epidermal layer of the scalp to create the appearance of a shadow. This makes the treatment look more natural and realistic as if the small dots are hair follicles.

Practitioners often aim to cover up any area of the scalp where hair loss has taken place and create a new hairline.  

The benefits 

The main benefit of scalp micropigmentation is that it can cover up any hair loss that you have suffered from, by adjusting your hairline and making the hair loss less noticeable. However, aside from that, clients who have had scalp micropigmentation have also found that it provided them with a huge confidence boost, as they are less conscious of the appearance of their hair loss. 

Similarly, clients who have had any hair transplant procedures found that their scalp micropigmentation procedure helped to cover up any scars they had from previous treatments. 

Who can benefit from it? 

Anyone who has suffered from hair loss, for various reasons, can benefit from scalp pigmentation. This includes those who have alopecia, thinning hair, male and female pattern baldness, and those who have lost their hair due to treatment for cancer. 

If you suffer from any form of hair loss, then you should be eligible for scalp micropigmentation and a full consultation with an experienced practitioner should be carried out. However, it is important to keep in mind that everyone’s hair loss is different, which means their results from scalp micropigmentation can differ as well. 

Does it hurt?

One of the most common questions asked by those considering undergoing scalp micropigmentation is ‘does it hurt?’. As already stated, everyone’s experience of SMP will be different, so it depends on the individual. In advance of the procedure, a numbing agent will be applied to your scalp to try and ease any pain. However, you may still feel some discomfort throughout and following the treatment. 

There are some skin conditions that can make scalp micropigmentation more painful or uncomfortable.  For example, clients who suffer from scalp acne, or psoriasis of the scalp are told to avoid getting the treatment during a flare-up or breakout. This is because applying the pigment to an inflamed area of the scalp is more difficult, and more painful.

What is the process like?

Once you have decided to go ahead with the scalp micropigmentation treatment and found an experienced and trustworthy practitioner, it is important that you fully understand the treatment and know exactly what will be expected of you in the run-up to, and throughout the procedure, as well as during aftercare. 

It is essential that you shower before you undergo each treatment, as after the procedure has taken place you will be unable to wet your scalp or wash for around four days. It is also important to know that the process of scalp micropigmentation is not a quick fix, and each treatment can take around four to five hours. The number of treatments that you will need to undergo will depend on how much of your scalp requires the procedure. 

Treatments are usually scheduled a few weeks apart so that you and your scalp are given time to recover and heal after each session. 

When will you start to see results?

While some clients start to notice the results of their SMP treatment straight away, to get a full picture of the before and after results you should wait until your second or third treatment. After several treatments with your practitioner, you can be better aware of the difference it has made. 

Micropigmentation is also considered to be a semipermanent treatment, so while you may be able to enjoy the benefits for around five to eight years after the procedure, it is important to remember that the treated area will naturally fade over time as the skin exfoliates itself. 

While scalp micropigmentation is not a quick or easy fix to hair loss, with the right research and practitioner, it can be extremely effective. 


Helen Bradfield did her degree in psychology at the University of Edinburgh. She has an ongoing interest in mental health and well-being.

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