Alopecia is an autoimmune disease where the body’s immune system attacks the hair follicles, inhibits their growth and causes hair loss. It can be partial or total, so people suffering from it can lose some or all hair on their scalp, but also eyebrows and eyelashes.
It can be a source of self-confidence issues, so people suffering from alopecia often seek out solutions that can diminish its prominence. Arguably the most efficient one is alopecia micropigmentation, a range of cosmetic tattooing treatments.
Let’s see how alopecia micropigmentation can camouflage the effects of the condition, what treatments are available, and see some great examples.
What Is Micropigmentation?
Micropigmentation is a range of cosmetic tattoo procedures which imply implementing pigments into the skin for an effect that mimics the look of natural hair. It can be done to:
- recreate the look of emerging hair follicles on the scalp,
- to reconstruct eyebrows,
- or to darken the lash line for an illusion of having eyelashes.
These procedures are done by opening up the skin with a needle or a blade, and filling in the punctures or incisions with pigments of natural origins. This is done with a manual blade in the case of microblading eyebrows, or an electric PMU device in the case of other procedures.
We know this sounds a lot like body art tattooing, but it’s somewhat different. The formulation of the pigments is such that it allows the body to break them down, so the effects fade into invisibility over a period of several years. This is a good thing, because it allows the client to change up the look every once in a while.
The treatments are done by permanent makeup artists who may specialize in one treatment, or offer several.
What Alopecia Micropigmentation Treatment Are There?
As we’ve mentioned, micropigmentation can mimic the look of short hair on the scalp, eyebrows, or eyelashes. Let’s take a closer look at the treatments.
The scalp is where alopecia strikes most often. A micropigmentation treatment that can be used to camouflage bald patches on the scalp caused by alopecia, or to give the entire scalp the look of closely shaved hair is scalp micropigmentation – SMP.
Scalp micropigmentation is done by depositing pigment in tiny dots over the bald area. When the skin heals, the marks look like hair follicles which are just about to emerge from the skin. So, it can’t recreate hair strands, but it will make your scalp look like you got a buzz cut.
It can also be done to re-densify areas where not all the hair has fallen off. When the dots are created between longer hairs, there’s an illusion of fuller and thicker hair.
So it’s a versatile treatment that can give a huge improvement, although it can’t give you long hair.
Image source: Instagram @enhancedscalp
Among other reasons, brow tattoo treatments are hugely popular because they can recreate eyebrows for people who don’t have them for various reasons, including alopecia. They can be used to reconstruct entire arches, or to fill in bald spots.
There are many versions of the brow tattoo, but according to their effects they can be split into 2 major categories: those that give hair-stroke brows, and those that give a shaded effect.
As the name suggests, this type of brow tattoo implies drawing on marks that look like brow hairs – hair strokes.
Microblading is the most popular alopecia micropigmentation treatment because it gives natural-looking results and it’s widely available. It’s done with a hand-held blade that makes elongated incisions on the skin which look just like brow hairs when they’re filled with pigment and healed. You can read more about microblading on alopecia patients in our article.
The hair-stroke look can also be achieved with a machine, by doing countless tiny dots that add up to a stroke. This treatment is called nano brows and it’s becoming increasingly popular. It’s considered gentler on the skin and it can give slightly more realistic results than microblading.
Image source: Instagram @browsbyjulie_kim
On the other hand, brow tattoos can also be done in a shaded effect. A PMU machine is used to create arches filled in with a powdery effect, like you’re wearing brow powder.
This is a somewhat more dramatic look, and it’s best suited to clients who wear makeup on the rest of their face most of the time. The treatment is called powder brows, and it can be done in an ombre gradient for a particularly trendy look (ombre brows).
The shading can be combined with some hair strokes for a look somewhere in between the totally natural and more glam. This treatment is called combo brows.
Image source: Instagram @daobrows
Eyelash Enhancement (Permanent Eyeliner)
Permanent eyeliner can create any eyeliner style you want, but it can also work to create an illusion of eyelashes for people who lost their lashes due to alopecia.
The style of PMU eyeliner suitable for this is called lash enhancement, and it does just that – it darkens the lash line so it looks like there are lashes there. That’s why it’s sometimes called an eyelash tattoo. Of course, it can’t give a 3D look, but it’s a huge improvement.
It can be done with a smooth edge or a soft, shaded finish, and you can add a short wing for an extra effect.
Image source: Instagram @yulia_meoded_pmu
If you want to get alopecia micropigmentation for the scalp, brows or eyelids, make sure to find a PMU artist who has experience working on alopecia patients. Doing these treatments on clients with very little to no hair can be tricky because there’s no room for error, so find someone who knows what they’re doing. You can explore PMUHub’s base of salons and see if you can find a provider.
Cover image source: Freepik