SMP® FAQS

Whatever your question, we have the answer

It’s going to be natural for you to have a lot of questions about the SMP and we will cover everything in your consultation. But here are some of the most popular questions we get asked.

Scalp MicroPigmentation is a non-surgical cosmetic treatment for hair loss. SMP can also be used to conceal scars.

Some people who are not good candidates for hair transplant surgery often choose SMP to create the illusion of a full head of hair. SMP can also be used to conceal a linear scar from a Follicular Unit Transplant (FUT) surgery and the small round “dot” looking scars caused by a FUE hair transplant.

Thousands of men and women who are trapped with their thinning hair or a botched hair transplant scar will testify that Scalp MicroPigmentation is a life-changing experience.

There are three different conditions where Scalp MicroPigmentation can help:

1. A shaved / buzzed  look – You don’t have to hide under your hat! A clean, shaved, or buzzed haircut can help you look and feel great again. SMP creates a “five o’clock shadow” look, so the horseshoe-shaped bald pattern can be covered.

2. Thinning Hair – You don’t have to worry about the wind, sweating, getting your hair wet or standing under a bright bathroom or shop light! SMP can work as a permanent concealer for thinning hair. SMP can reduce the contrast between hair and skin, particularly dark hair and fair complexions. Many temporary topical powders or fiber concealers such as Dermmatch, Toppik, and Caboki work well, but they can be messy. You cannot sweat or get your hair wet because the product will come off. Just as your hair always looks better in dim evening shade, SMP creates a permanent shade effect on your scalp.

3. Scalp Scars – You don’t have to worry about coming down an escalator or sitting in the front row because you are concerned someone will see your hair transplant scar. SMP can work to disguise the scar on the back of your head from a strip surgery, or hide the dots from an FUE surgery. You can wear your hair shorter without worrying about someone noticing your scar.

SMP is like a conventional tattoo in that the pigment is deposited under your skin surface in the dermal layer of skin. The dermal layer of skin is the permanent layer. However, unlike a traditional tattoo, SMP is deposited in the upper dermal layer (just deep enough to make it permanent). A traditional tattoo is deposited deep into the dermal layer. The shallow application is what makes the SMP appear more like a hair follicle (5 o’clock shadow) and not a blob of tattoo ink. Unfortunately, the shallow depth can also push the SMP pigment up to the skin surface and can result in fading over time. Some clients may require a touch up after a few years.

SMP is obviously not real hair, but it can closely replicate the 5 o’clock shadow of a shaved scalp. If you keep your scalp shaved, SMP can look undetectable even up close. Of course, the quality of work depends on the skills of the practitioner as well as the pigment. It is an art form as much as it is a technical specialty that requires artistic flair and traits.

The answer is not straight forward. Often clients want to have SMP so they can wear their hair short without worrying about a previous hair transplant scar showing through. SMP can disguise a linear hair transplant scar or patchy FUE scars, but there is an important limitation. You cannot keep your hair too short or the shape of the scar will show through like a line or a step in the contour of your hair. In addition, in certain lighting conditions and angles, the scar will be apparent to the discerning eye.

Also keep in mind the fact you are seeing the SMP pigment under a layer of translucent skin, so you cannot expect it to replace the feeling of a hair shaft as it grows. In other words, SMP is not a substitute for real hair. When your scalp is shaved or your hair is very short (1mm), SMP will blend in and disguise the scar. However, as your hair grows out past 1mm, the texture of your hair will not match with the flat SMP layer. You will notice a gap

SMP can fade over time. There are many factors that can cause SMP to fade. The type of fading can be divided into two categories:

  • Extrinsic fading (You can take steps to minimize this type of fading.)
  • Sun (ultraviolet light) exposure (limit sun exposure or use sunscreen)
  • Topical products that contain alcohol (Minoxidil, hairspray, etc).
  • Poor quality of the SMP pigment (important to choose the best SMP provider)
  • Untrained SMP practitioner (important to choose the best SMP practitioner)
  • Washing your scalp in the first 3 days with soap/shampoo
  • Using a hot sauna or steam room in the first 3 days (light exercise and sweating is ok)
  • Intrinsic fading: <1% of our clients have this issue. Unfortunately, you cannot do much to avoid this type of fading.
  • Natural exfoliation of the skin. Everyone naturally exfoliates. Your body’s immune system will always try to remove foreign particles such as SMP pigment.
  • Some parts of the scalp fade faster than other parts (even without any scarring).

Clients have different experiences with the degree of fading due to the reasons listed above. In rare cases, the SMP seems to fade much faster than the average client. When this happens, touch-ups are required more frequently.

To avoid extrinsic fading, you should find the best SMP provider using the best quality pigments and avoid sun and products containing alcohol.

You cannot completely avoid intrinsic fading. To address intrinsic fading, you may need more SMP sessions or touch-ups than the typical SMP client. Most clients do not need a full touch-up for several years. Less than 1% of clients may need a touch up every year due to the fading. In rare cases, we may have to try different brand of pigments, or apply the SMP much deeper (like a regular tattoo), which may cause it to look blotchy.

SMP is like a tattoo in that the pigment is deposited under your skin surface in the dermal layer of skin. The dermal layer of skin is the permanent layer. However, unlike a traditional tattoo, SMP is deposited in the upper dermal layer, so it is deep enough in the skin to make it permanent. The shallow application is what makes the SMP appear more like a hair follicle (or 5 o’clock shadow) and not a blob of tattoo ink. A traditional tattoo, on the other hand, is deposited deep into the dermal layer.

As Scalp Micropigmentation has gained popularity over the years, it is also synonymously known as a hair tattoo.

Yes, SMP can be used to define the hairline. Some of our clients request a natural, soft hairline while others ask for a more defined and linear hairline. Each and every clients preference is different, and we always try our best to accommodate their goals. If your goals and expectations are unreasonable, our practitioners will let you know.

Yes, we offer SMP for the beard to achieve a fuller and thicker look or to conceal a scar. We can even create a permanent 5 o’clock shadow.

Our practitioners use SMP pigment to create a shadow effect much like a 5 o’clock shadow. We also take into consideration your skin and  hair colour.

Yes. Our practitioners  have performed numerous SMP procedures in combination with hair transplants. However, they cannot be on the same day. When you combine SMP with a hair transplant, you can achieve the look of fullness with the SMP while having the real texture of a hair transplant.

No, you do not need to shave your head before each SMP session. We recommend you wear your hair at your desired styling length so we can blend the SMP into your hair.

Each session can last between 2 – 4 hours. You can resume normal daily activities after your SMP session.

We recommend that our clients return after 7 days to receive their 2nd session and within the first month if a 3rd session is required. This allows enough time for the skin to exfoliate. The interval between each session can be custom tailored to your scheduling needs. There is no issue with slightly shorter or slightly longer waiting times in between sessions.

Scalp Micropigmentation is like a tattoo, and it should be lifelong. But just as a tattoo fades over time, so may SMP. Each client will experience some degree of fading. In our experience, after a 5 year follow-up, 4 out of 5 clients are satisfied with their results and do not need or want a touch-up. However, there are discerning clients who request a touch up after 1-2 years.

SMP blends in with the thinning or balding areas on the scalp. With the right technique of a skilled practitioner, you should not be able to tell that someone has had SMP, even up close.

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