Scalp micropigmentation can be a great hair-restoring solution for anyone struggling with male pattern baldness, bald patches, or a receding hairline.
It is an easy, non-invasive procedure that can give you immediate and long-lasting results, plus it can also be used as part of the scar camouflage treatment to cover up surgical or injury scars.
However, before committing to scalp micropigmentation, there are several risks and side effects of the procedure that you should know and keep in mind before booking your appointment.
Let’s take a look at some of the scalp micropigmentation disadvantages and how to prevent them.
What Is Scalp Micropigmentation & How It’s Done
As a form of medical or paramedical tattooing, scalp micropigmentation or SMP is a popular method of camouflaging hair loss and scars by using cosmetic ink and a specialized PMU machine.
The procedure entails the implementation of pigments carefully picked to match the client’s natural hair color into the skin of the scalp, creating small dots that mimic the look of hair follicles.
By doing this, the artist or technician will create a buzz-cut look with a restored hairline and more visible volume.
The results of scalp micropigmentation can last up to 10 years or longer with regular touch-ups.
Image source: Instagram @paulinefontaine_
What Are Scalp Micropigmentation Disadvantages?
Your artist will determine the right pigments to use and the best hairline shape and positioning for your features, but this doesn’t guarantee that everything will go smoothly and that you will be 100 percent satisfied with the results.
So, let’s take a look at some of the scalp micropigmentation disadvantages:
You’re Pretty Much Stuck with the Same Hairstyle
If you have very little to no physical hair, you’re basically stuck with a buzzcut.
The good news is that you can slightly alter the look over time by changing the side profile or the density of the pigmentation. These tweaks may be enough to give you the occasional change.
You Have to Commit to Regular Shaving
If you have some actual hair left on your scalp, to get the most natural results of your SMP treatment, you have to shave your head regularly.
How often you’ll need to shave depends on how quickly your hair grows but a good average would be twice a week. Keep in mind that you’ll need to maintain new hair growth at around 0.5 mm to blend the SMP dots and for everything to look natural.
Image source: Instagram @maximum_smp
It May Require Several Touch-Ups
Usually, it takes about 3 sessions to complete the initial treatment, spaced a few weeks apart, so it can drag out.
After that, you will need to get a touch-up once a year, depending on the fading you may be experiencing.
Scalp micropigmentation is done with cosmetic pigments that our bodies break down over time and absorb. This can lead to fading, so in order to keep the pigments looking fresh, you will need to schedule regular touch-up sessions.
Healing & Aftercare May Be Tricky
After your initial session, you’ll have to be really careful when following the steps to proper aftercare and healing.
In the first 4 days after your procedure, you should keep the treated area dry which can be quite a challenge when showering. You’re also not supposed to touch your scalp since you risk contamination.
The scalp micropigmentation recovery also entails redness, irritation, dryness, scabbing, and color unevenness, which can be a rather unpleasant experience.
Scalp Micropigmentation Doesn’t Give 3D Results
Although you can achieve a hyper-realistic appearance of hair with scalp micropigmentation, this does not include texture. Therefore, if you run your hands over your scalp, you will still feel the smoothness of the areas without hair.
Also, scalp micropigmentation can only mimic hair follicles that are very short and appear as dots. It can’t mimic actual hair strands as hairline microblading does.
There’s a Chance You Won’t Like the Results
Even if you go to a professional artist, chances are you won’t be completely satisfied with your new look. Adjusting to hair loss is challenging in itself and can affect a person’s self-esteem.
Scalp micropigmentation is supposed to look natural and stay as close as possible to the look of your natural hairline, but it can never replace the look of natural hair strands. It will most likely just take some time to get used to.
Are There Any Side Effects to Scalp Micropigmentation?
Scalp micropigmentation is a non-invasive treatment that comes with some minor side effects.
Potential scalp micropigmentation side effects can emerge during the healing process, and they usually come down to infection and allergies.
There are also long-term side effects related to how the pigment behaves over time, mainly the possibility of pigment migration and changes in color.
Let’s take a look at the possible risks and side effects of scalp micropigmentation:
Since the scalp micropigmentation procedure implies breaking the surface of the skin, there’s always the risk of micro-wound contamination and subsequent infection.
Generally, the treatment is quite safe when performed by a certified, licensed artist who knows how to keep the client safe and healthy, but the client has to care for freshly treated skin properly.
Although rare, there is a possibility of developing an allergic reaction to the pigments or numbing cream used during the procedure. Allergies can manifest themselves through irritation, itching, or even a rash.
This can be avoided by booking the treatment with a licensed professional and doing a patch test beforehand.
When done by an experienced professional, scalp micropigmentation won’t compromise the skin. But if the artist overworked the skin, permanent scarring may form over the punctures.
Since scalp micropigmentation is done with a PMU machine, this is quite rare, but it’s something to keep in mind before booking the appointment.
Pigment migration can occur as a result of poor technique.
If the cosmetic pigment is applied too deep into the skin where skin cells are too loose to hold that pigment in place, it can spread over time resulting in blotchy color instead of uniform dots.
Image source: Instagram @unyozibeauty
Pigment Changing Color
Cosmetic pigments fade over time, and as a result, touch-up sessions are required to maintain the color intensity.
But in some cases, pigments that are ashy gray can turn bluish or greenish. This can happen due to improper aftercare, too much sun exposure, or your artist’s poor choice of pigment.
To minimize the risk of pigment change, you can opt for tricopigmentation instead.
How to Prevent Scalp Micropigmentation Going Wrong?
All the above-mentioned side effects can be avoided by choosing your artist carefully and investing time in research before booking your consultation.
Find an experienced professional who has a ton of photos of their work, especially photos of healed results, since every work that’s fresh looks awesome in the beginning.
Keep in mind that after your procedure is done, it all comes back to you and how you maintain your results. So, stay consistent with your aftercare routine to prevent wound contamination and enjoy long-lasting results.
Image source: Instagram @andres.hidalgo_
If you’re looking for a non-surgical way to add more thickness and volume to your hairline, scalp micropigmentation may be a good option for you.
It is a long-lasting solution that can be upgraded and retouched, but it isn’t very versatile. SMP comes with several risks and disadvantages to look out for, but they mostly come down to aftercare and choice of artist.
We can’t stress enough how important it is to choose an experienced and certified professional, so do your research beforehand, and good luck!