NHS recognises Dermatography as a viable hair loss solution
16th October 2013
Dermatography is another terminology for Scalp Micropigmentation, and is now recognised and recommended by the British National Health Service (NHS) as a solution to camouflage the loss of hair
As the worlds leading network of Scalp Micropigmentation clinics, HIS Hair Clinic has campaigned for many years for the NHS to recommend SMP as an option alongside drugs such as finasteride and minoxidil, and other traditional solutions including hair transplant surgery, temporary concealers and hair systems. We are pleased to say that after many thousands of successful treatments around the world, Scalp Micropigmentation is finally receiving the official recognition that it deserves.
What exactly is dermatography?
Dermatography is a medical term used to describe what is more commonly referred to as SMP (Scalp Micropigmentation), one of the worlds fastest growing hair loss solutions for men suffering from male pattern baldness, alopecia and other conditions that cause hair on the scalp to be lost.
The term ‘Dermatography’ actually refers to the replication of hair anywhere on the body including head hair, eyebrows and other facial hair. Scalp Micropigmentation is primarily used to treat the scalp, however HIS Hair Clinic now offer a tailored service to those who also wish to replicate beard hair. A good example can be found here.
How does the Scalp Micropigmentation process work?
Scalp Micropigmentation is the process of depositing thousands of tiny pigment deposits within the upper dermis of the skin, each one replicating an individual shaven hair follicle. When applied by a skilled practitioner, these pigment deposits combined replicate a full head of cropped hair.
All pigments used by HIS Hair Clinic are derived from pure black organic material, therefore it is physically impossible for the pigments to change colour over time, even many years after application. Although the NHS refer to Dermatography as a ‘tattoo’, traditional tattoo inks are not suitable for this kind of treatment, therefore tattoo inks and permanent makeup pigments should be avoided.
A typical client will require 2-3 treatment sessions, each taking 1-4 hours to complete and spaced a minimum of 5-7 days apart. Over the course of these sessions, multiple layers of replicated follicles are added to gradually increase the ‘dot’ density until a perfect match with the clients remaining hair is achieved. A small number of clients require additional sessions to achieve the desired result, although most do not.
Who is ‘Dermatography’ or ‘Scalp Micropigmentation’ suitable for?
Due to the nature of this innovative solution for hair loss, no donor hair is required, no drugs are taken and no hair systems or other concealers are needed. For this reason SMP is suitable for a wide range of men suffering with genetic pattern baldness or diffuse thinning. The option may be especially suitable for those who do not want a hair transplant, or those who have insufficient donor hair for this purpose.
I think of it as my hair now and I love showing it off. I haven’t worn a hat since and I’m not sure I ever will again. It is so liberating not to worry about standing under bright lights, or worrying about your shadow creeping up. I swear I look better in clothes now. I feel like dressing up more often. I look sharp as hell. I feel like I look like I’m supposed to. My only regret so far is that I didn’t do this at age 24. The one major downside- I look in the mirror a lot more now and think ‘wow that guy is handsome’. (read forum thread…)
This solution is available to people of all ages, from all ethnic backgrounds and with any natural hair colour. Our clients range from teenagers (with parental consent and to treat specific conditions), through to men in their 60’s and 70’s. Similarly, men of all ethnicities can benefit including those with very light skin, very dark skin, Asian, Hispanic and Oriental skin tones. We have treated thousands of men including fair haired and dark haired men, and men with red, grey and even white hair. Our practitioners are fully trained to tailor each treatment to suit the needs of the individual for flawless, consistent results.
What about specific conditions?
The number of men suffering with ailments such as alopecia areata, alopecia totalis, traction alopecia and lichen planopilaris is significant and rising. Many of these conditions are permanent or frequently recurrent and can cause significant anxiety and distress. However, Scalp Micropigmentation can provide a solution for many men with these conditions, due to the ability to replicate real hair follicles without the need for donor hair.
For example, we treat hundreds of clients with alopecia areata. Often starting during childhood, alopecia areata manifests itself as small, roughly circular patches of hair loss on the scalp. Sometimes the condition can disappear of its own accord, but usually the patches become larger or change position, often transforming into full blown alopecia totalis, or total loss of all scalp and head hair. Most medical professionals agree that once a person has suffered with alopecia areata, they are generally more likely to suffer a recurrence at some point in the future.
Dermatography removes the uncertainty experienced by those suffering with this condition by providing a full head camouflage solution to hide existing balding patches, even if they enlarge or change position, and can even camouflage total baldness.
Other conditions include burns, birthmarks and other permanent or recurrent blemishes. Following an assessment by one of our experienced consultants, Scalp Micropigmentation can often help to camouflage these areas or even hide them completely.
What about hair transplant scars and other scars?
Almost immediately after HIS Hair Clinic was founded in 2002, we received enquiries from clients who bore the scars from hair transplant surgery who were looking for a way to hide them. Typically hair transplant scars take the form of ‘strip scars’ across the back of the head, ‘pits’ or ‘cobblestones’ caused by the FUE (follicular unit extraction) method or in the case of older surgical methods, ‘plug’ scars. Although many clients do not realise or consider the implications at the time, as hair continues to be lost following surgery, these scars usually become more visible as time progresses and can cause a great deal of anxiety.
I got my treatment done about a year and a half ago in NYC. The treatment was done by Matt and he did an excellent job. I would 100% recommend HIS to anyone looking into this. I went on consultations for hair transplants, but after meeting with Matt and seeing his treatment and talking to him I knew this was for me. (read forum thread…)
Scar tissue is different to normal skin and therefore absorbs SMP pigments differently, therefore an effective scar camouflage treatment can only be completed by a skilled, experienced practitioner. Multiple sessions are required, however scars are usually concealed at the same time as a standard full head treatment is applied for the very best camouflage results.
All head scars including those derived from accidents or other surgery can be camouflaged using our SMP techniques. During your consultation we will provide an estimate of what degree of camouflage is most likely to be achieved. Often we achieve upwards of 90%, although complete camouflage is not uncommon.
Are Dermatography treatments permanent?
Absolutely, although most clients will need a short touch-up session every 4-6 years or so. The pigments will remain in place for 20-30 years or so, however over an extended period of time the ‘dots’ can fade slightly due to exposure to ultraviolet light and breakdown by the body’s own immune system. A quick touch-up session (charged at a standard hourly rate) returns the treated scalp to its best appearance.
Can the treatment be removed?
Although very few clients ask for their pigments to be removed, most are reassured by the fact that the option is quick and simple, should they change their mind in the future. We anticipate that as our clients get older, many will prefer the option of a more receded hairline or a general ‘softening’ of their appearance, and some may request that the treatment is removed completely.
All reversals from a slight hairline adjustment to a full removal are quick and straightforward, and are completed using the very latest laser technology. The laser session itself is relatively painless, highly effective, leaves no scars and causes no damage to your remaining ‘real’ hair follicles.
What about the cost?
One of the most attractive benefits of Dermatography is the low cost in comparison to other solutions. The majority of full head treatments cost in the region of just £2000-3000.
Compare this to hair transplant procedures that generally start at around £5000 and can cost upwards of £20,000, with no guarantee of what results can be expected. The cost of hair systems can be as much as £3000 for a single piece (two are usually required), plus significant maintenance costs of up to £50-100 per month. Ongoing finasteride or minoxidil use can cost around £50-60 per month for the rest of your life, and even temporary concealers cost around £40 for a single month supply.
From a medium to long term point of view, no other solution offers comparable value for a permanent answer to hair loss.
Where can I get more information?
To find out more about what Dermatography could do for you and your confidence, please see the following links: