How long will it take for my final SMP appearance to form?
A normal client depending upon balding or hair loss extent, will take two to five treatments to achieve their final appearance. The first treatment often places a very light application on the scalp to assess fading and density levels. The normal reaction from many clients is to assume that the SMP is too light and to be a bit nervous. However, this is a normal part of the treatment and allows the practitioners to better treat the scalp in later sessions. The second treatment adds the majority of the density to your new look. Treatments number three or later are usually for completing the look, addressing darkness matching or to even the density across the scalp.
What will my scalp look like immediately after a treatment?
The area of the scalp that has been treated will have some redness for between 2-5 days after treatment, although this tends to be less visible on those with darker skin tones. In addition, the pigmentation will be darker for up to 7 days after treatment, again depending on your skin tone. Thereafter, the pigmentation will appear to become lighter and softer as the pigment filled scabs begin to flake away.
Do the SMP dots look real?
In a normal healthy client, the SMP dots placed by a practitioner are often 90 to 170 Um (micrometers) in diameter. In comparison, a normal healthy human scalp hair is roughly 67 to 120 Um in diameter depending upon race. Although, there is a small delta between the SMP dots and real scalp hair diameters, the difference is so small that it cannot usually be noticed by the unaided eye. Most clients report that when someone enters their personal space or speaks to them from a very close distance (one foot away) they cannot detect the SMP treatment. Even close family members cannot usually tell where real scalp hair ends and the SMP treatment begins.
Why does the SMP in some photos appear ‘dotty’?
SMP is applied to the scalp by means of a pigmentation machine that carries pigment into the dermis by a rapidly moving needle. In response to having the epidermis and upper dermis punctured, the skin begins the normal healing and clotting processes. Immediately after a treatment, the scalp will be covered in hundreds of small pigment filled scabs, which is what is seen in many after photos. These scabs are often 400 to 800 micrometers across and far larger than the eventual SMP ‘dot’ will be. These scabs flake away in the first three to ten days and the body’s immune system also removes excess pigment caught in the healing wounds during the first three weeks. As this happens, it appears to the observer that the SMP dots are shrinking. When these processes complete, the final dots are often 90 to 170 Um in diameter and blend seamlessly into any natural hair.
Will my friends and family be able to know that I have had a treatment?
If you show your scalp within the first two or three days after a treatment, then the scalp will still often be slightly red and close relatives will notice. After the initial redness dies down and you have shaved your scalp by day four to ten, you will only be noticed if you made a major change from your previous hairline. One beneficial aspect of SMP treatment is the ability to create any hairline desired, including a more youthful and lower frontal hairline. However, the larger the difference between your pre-SMP and post-SMP appearance, the more likelihood that a close relative will notice. This is more true if they see you on a frequent basis obviously.
The vast majority of SMP clients often choose a slightly receding look to account for the future aging process and this allows them to fit right into their social scene often without being noticed. Many clients do receive comments such as, “you should let your hair grow out” or, “why did you always hide your hair under a hat”. Many clients also involve their family, friends or significant other in helping them to decide on their new appearance. Other clients prefer to keep their new more youthful appearance a secret.
How long after a treatment will I notice fading?
The majority of fading will take place as the darker pigment filled scabs flake away from the epidermis in the first three to ten days. As excess pigment trapped in the epidermis is sloughed away, slower fading will continue in the first three to four weeks roughly. By about one month after any treatment, the pigments will begin to ‘set’, and thereafter, fading will be almost zero.
Will I need a touch up and if so, when?
Every individual is unique and this is not a question we can answer with any certainty. The microstructure of the dermal collagen network is coded in any individual by cell differentiation during their first sixteen weeks as an embryo, and is DNA and epigenetic specific. This collagen microstructure along with a client’s immune responses are the primary factors driving any pigment fading. A best guess would be that for a normal healthy client who uses the SPF 30 to 50 sunscreen when outside, and with a normal active lifestyle, a touch up could be expected about once every eight to fifteen years. Fortunately, if a touch up is needed, it will be charged at the hourly rate fee which is lower than initial treatment rate.
What is the best way to protect my SMP investment?
In the first ten days after any treatment and up to thirty days upon completion of all treatments, follow the after care instructions carefully. After that period, the best way to take care of SMP pigmentation is to use SPF 30 to 50 sunscreen when outside with the head uncovered. Swimming in a normal pool with chlorine is fine, but only 30 days after all treatments have been completed. Take care also to not subject the skin on your scalp to excessive pressure (from a too tight cap for example) or from any undue pressure that could place long term stress on your SMP pigments.
Will MHT be applied to areas where I may lose hair in the future?
During your consultation you will be asked where you would like your SMP treatments to be applied, obviously including any areas where hair loss may occur in the future. Once your treatments begin, SMP will be applied in a pattern which will also include any future hair loss. This is a very common request.
Are there any guidelines for my frontal hairline or temples?
Some clients prefer a very natural broken hairline at the front while others prefer a very defined and dark hairline. Even if a client wants a defined hairline, we often ask them to try a more neutral less defined look during the first one or two treatments. This allows them to adjust to their new appearance and have more time to consider if they indeed prefer a really defined look.
Some clients also wish for drastically lowered frontal hairlines or temples. The standard rule here is three fingers above the eyebrows. Any frontal hairline lower than this and a client risks looking odd, especially as they age. One nice benefit of SMP is the ability to recreate almost any hairline desired, but HIS policy is to frown on any changes which make a client look noticeably fake or unnatural. After all, HIS’ reputation is on the line with every client who leaves one of our clinics.
I have done a fair amount of research and occasionally see a person with poorly performed or over done pigmentation. How can I avoid appearing fake or ‘grayed out’?
A few tips are essential to a natural and realistic SMP appearance. One is to not confuse SMP for real hair. Some clients try to go too dark after years of having little hair, but can quickly end up looking unrealistic. The better approach is to only go as dark as is needed for seamless blending into existing hairlines. Another common mistake is to seek a too defined frontal hairline. Because of the manner in which specific neurons in the V1 area of the occipital lobes of the brain fire, human vision is attuned to straight lines. A frontal hairline which is artificially straight will quickly attract an onlooker’s attention and be noticed. Finally, another important tip would be to avoid extreme dot density. A very small percentage of clients seek true perfection but in doing so, continue to have touch-ups during their warranty period when they are not even needed. For this group, it is easy to end up with an artificially dark scalp due to too many treatments.
What is Body Dsymorphic Disorder (BDD) and how is it treated by HIS?
BDD is a psychiatric disorder and mental illness in which a patient believes they suffer from some physical defect to their appearance which hinders their ability to lead life normally or perform regular daily functions. The risk is greatest in those who suffer from appearance changing conditions (such as cystic acne, eczema, weight gain, etc…) shortly after puberty begins. For some men, the stress acquired from early thinning or balding during their teen or college years can lead them to a BDD outlook. For this particular subset of men, even perfect SMP or beautiful shading and density of the SMP dots on their scalp will often not help to lift their mood. For this reason, HIS treats clients who may be suffering from BDD quite carefully and it is normal procedure to only treat the scalp with SMP until it returns to the shaved look of a normal and healthy Norwood I or II appearance. Clients who suffer from BDD and who continue to seek touch-ups and treatments beyond this healthy state may be denied further treatment. HIS reserves the right to deny treatment to any client who appears to be seeking unrealistic or unnatural results.
Are there any other important tips regarding appearance before I seek a consultation or begin my treatments?
One common misconception is the reflectivity of the shaved scalp. Even in men or women who have a very dense Norwood I level of hair growing from the scalp, if they shave their head with a razor blade down to the skin, they will appear bald at certain angles in harsh lighting that is directly overhead. This is a consequence of their scalp skin reflecting light away, and is also very dependent upon the type of matte lotion that is worn. While SMP can offer an incredibly positive change to most clients, it is also important to begin treatments with a realistic expectation of what is possible.