Scalp Micropigmentation is not a Tattoo

There is a general misconception that Scalp Micropigmentation (SMP) is a head tattoo. This is not so. The concept may have originated from tattooing, but it is a sophisticated procedure that has been perfected after decades of research.

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How is SMP different?

The entire process is different from that of tattooing, starting from the needle and the kind of ink that is used through to the application. Here are the differences:

1. The needles are different

The needles used in Scalp Micropigmentation are much finer than those used for tattoos. Typical tattoo needles are much too large and imprecise.

SMP uses micro-needles as fine as hair to replicate the look and texture of tiny hair follicles.

The SMP needle, called a “3-point-micro-needle”, is 75% finer than the smallest available tattoo needle. This allows for a much smaller insertion point, less ink, and a more subtle tattoo. The needle is so tiny that, even upon close inspection of the scalp, the impressions are indistinguishable from actual hair follicles.

Also, the needles are ‘safe’ because they are used once-off and disposed of after use on the client, so you never need to worry about sanitation.

2. The method is different

The micro-needles are used in a a very specific way in order to achieve results that are as realistic as possible. Using needles of various widths, tiny droplets of ink are meticulously placed in the upper dermis using a pattern that resembles hair growth.

A very gentle technique is used to inject ink directly into the dermis. The specialized ink is delicately placed in the upper dermis, where it stays in place because it is a ‘solid’ layer of skin that does not allow the ink to disperse.

Conventional tattoo artists and unqualified SMP technicians inject ink into the epidermis, which over time causes fading and bleeding of the colors, creating an undesirable shaded effect.

Also, the angle and the depth that the needle is placed will depend on the technician’s expertise, which should be taken into consideration for the most realistic results. Each person’s scalp has unique levels of needle resistance based on the amount of body fat, scarring, and skin elasticity, or turgor.

This, combined with the size of the needle, is what allows the technician to create multiple minute dots that don’t fade.

The most significant discrepancy between the applications of tattooing and SMP is the amount of experience needed to be able to deliver consistent results that genuinely replicate the 3D look of natural hair follicles. It takes thousands of hours to master the techniques used in SMP.

3. The pigment is different

Many tattoo artists use a non-organic dye which can be harmful to you and irritate the skin. It can even cause your skin to discolor and turn blue.

Less reputable Scalp Micropigmentation clinics have been known to cut corners with the quality of their inks, leaving their clients with an unnatural look. Hilton Hair uses only plant-based pigments that don’t irritate the skin and that won’t fade.

Unlike tattoo ink, the ink that is used for the scalp is not made from composite sources, meaning the colors won’t separate into blues and greens over time.

The amount of heavy metals contained in scalp micropigmentation ink is very low, and each drop is carefully placed, with some separation that recreates a natural look.

Because the ink is so close to the surface of the skin, it is more vulnerable to UV radiation, which is another reason that tattoo ink should not be used.

The pigments used in SMP are specially blended to match the client’s desired hue. Skin tone, eyebrow coloration, and facial hair should also be taken into consideration.

So, while a traditional tattoo would be created to stand out, the SMP pigmentation is meant to blend in and look natural.

4. SMP is relatively painless

For people who think Scalp Micropigmentation is the same as a tattoo, intimidating images of huge needles and severe pain can come to mind. Tattoos are usually considered to be a 5 out of 10 on the pain scale, with head tattoos being considered one of the worst.

However, the small size of the micro-needles, as well as the gentleness of the technique means that the SMP process is relatively painless. SMP clients generally report a pain level of only 2 out of 10, though clients with sensitive scars on the scalp may feel slightly more pain.

5. SMP is less risky

There is less of a risk when you invest in micropigmentation due to the fact that the tattoo is not completely permanent. It is considered semi-permanent and will often last somewhere between three and six years, depending on your body and the amount of sun exposure your scalp gets.

You should understand that you will need to invest in quite a bit of time when you opt for scalp tattooing. You will often require about three sessions in total. The first will involve the insertion of light “hairs.” We will start the process conservatively so the color can be evaluated.

After the first session, a darker colored ink will be used, and the third appointment will allow us to add the finishing touches to ensure that the pigmentation looks natural. If the pigmentation process is completed in stages, then the appearance will be a 3D effect with shadowing that mimics a full head of short shaven hair or stubble.

Also, since multiple appointments are needed, you can expect to pay more than you would with a traditional tattoo.

At Hilton Hair we understand the difference between tattooed artwork and a permanent solution for concealing hair loss. We also understand the techniques to achieve the look you want. That’s why we can answer any questions or concerns you might have.
Contact us for more information.

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