Scalp Micropigmentation

Scalp Micropigmentation (SMP): The Ultimate Guide


air loss is a problem that’s present in life of many, and can be quite frustrating. Even though there are several ways in which you can treat this issue, most of them are unreasonably expensive, and might not have successful results.

Numbers represent search interest relative to the highest point on the chart for the given time worldwide. A value of 100 is the peak popularity for the term. A value of 50 means that the term is half as popular. A score of 0 means there was not enough data for this term.

Opting for a hair transplant is always the first choice, but many fail to understand that it costs a lot, and more often than not, the quality is poor or even risky. Another option would be to opt for a specific hair extensions, which are also quite pricey and they require maintenance for the rest of our lives. Furthermore, there are wigs, perhaps the cheapest choice but most of people do not feel comfortable enough knowing that it can be easily displaced. Finally, there’s the option of scalp micropigmentation, a relatively new procedure that can solve many different hair loss problems.

In order to fully understand the scalp micropigmentation (SMP) process, take a look at the following guide.

Click on the link to go directly to a specific step:


What Causes a Hair Loss?

In order to fully understand what is scalp micropigmentation, it’s very important to know what the most common reasons for hair loss are:


If you see that you’re losing hair at a pace that’s faster than normal, it might happen that it’s your genes’ fault. Namely, genetics is the most common culprit for hair loss, and since the hair follicles have a DNA blueprint, it might happen that you’re losing hair because the hair loss runs in your family.


The hair can sometimes become thinner and finer until hair growth stops, and this might happen to men who are over-sensitive to a hormone called dihydrotestosterone (DHT). This hormone shrinks hair follicles that often results in hair loss.


A very logical reason, as we lose our hair while we’re getting old.

Other factors

Other factors for hair loss include excessive alcohol use, different medications and poor diet.

scalp micropigmentation results on short hair

Source: YouTube – Scalp Micro USA


What is Scalp Micropigmentation (SMP)?

Scalp micropigmentation, often abbreviated to SMP, is a relatively new and a highly advanced method of cosmetic pigmentation. Just like it’s the case with microblading, scalp micropigmentation resembles traditional tattooing.

However, as opposed to getting permanent tattoos on your skin, the incisions done while performing scalp micropigmentation do not penetrate the skin enough, thus resulting in a more natural look. This involves the use of very specialized equipment and techniques to inject the pigment into the skin of the scalp. The final process depends on the following two major things: the use of the adequate and high-quality equipment, and the artist who will perform the procedure.

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How Long Has Scalp Micropigmentation Been Around?

Even though it’s still regarded as a relatively new procedure, there’s documented that the first scalp microblading session happened in the 1970s. This took the form of a scalp tattoo, but it was done with the use of tattooing ink. The case is very much different nowadays, as technicians use warmer tones and pigments that makes the result of the whole process look more natural. Moreover, this procedure hasn’t been fully developed up until 2002 and the first general treatment has been offered to the public in 2006.

Who is a Candidate for Scalp Micropigmentation?

Just like it’s the case with any example of permanent makeup, most people qualify as good candidates for the procedure. However, there are certain things that the patients need to bear in mind before opting for this procedure. Even though the client will have all of their questions answered on the first consultation with the artist, there are certain pre-existing conditions that can affect the final outlook:

  • People with diabetes
  • People with serious diseases such as cancer, epilepsy or autoimmune disorders
  • People with any bleeding disorders
  • People who take blood thinning medications
  • People who’ve recently had Botox injections or fillers

Can Both Men and Women Opt for Scalp Micropigmentation?

Definitely yes. Scalp micro pigmentation is effective in treating hair loss in both men and women. Just like men, there are certain women who suffer from hair loss and balding, even though it’s not as common. This might happen due to events such as child birth, surgery or stress.

However, there is a difference between scalp pigmentation for men and women. Namely, a man receives treatments in order to replicate shave hair follicles, while the main goal of the women scalp micropigmentation is to decrease the contrast between the scalp and the hair. Moreover, the chances of a woman becoming completely bald are extremely low, as they lose hair evenly across the entire scalp. On top of that, the woman’s frontal hairline remains intact.

What is also important to mention is that it is not necessary for women to shave their heads before opting for SMP. Instead of that, the artist will apply the pigment by parting the hair section by section, thus creating a “shaded” scalp. This will, as a result, make it harder to see the difference between the hair and the scalp, which creates the illusion of thicker hair.

Be as it may, SMP works best for people who have dark or brunette hair. SNP is not very recommended for blonde women.


What Types of SMP are there?

There is a variety of styles and options that hair micropigmentation offers, and these are just some of the most popular and most important ones:

Receding hairline

This option is the best possible option for any guy who wants to lower his current hairline and restore the receded hairline. The artist will use hairline ink in order to create the best possible result. This gives the appearance of fuller hair and a clean hairline, which is basically the customer’s only wish.

Adding density to hair

A customer doesn’t have to have extremely short hair in order to undergo this procedure, as there are plenty of examples of men who have somewhat longer hair but still need a bit more density. Many people found hair pigmentation a perfect solution to cover or fill in thinning or missing hair. Using the state-of-the art equipment and creating a three-dimensional approach, a good artist will insert pigment in the hairless spots of the scalp and by doing this, they will make the hair of the patient look denser but also extremely natural.

Edge up

Also known as the ’’Jamie Foxx’’, the edge up is an extremely popular option. The main priority of this choice is the hairline that’s extremely delicate – very precise and it covers a part of the temples as well. This is why the customer should always choose the best artist, as they don’t want a mistake here.


How is Scalp Micropigmentation Done?

The whole treatment and the procedure are highly detailed. Just as already mentioned, scalp micro pigmentation is the process of injecting pigment into the scalp skin of the client, and it is typically completed after 2 or 3 sessions.


The first step is the initial consultation with the artist. These can always be done in person, as it’s always better, but there are also options to consult with your artist over the phone, or even over a video chat. The artist should see the state of the client’s scalp in order to know what results they should be expecting, and it is always much more advisable.


After that, the client and the artist decide together on the style that’s best for the client, the pigment color and all the other details that matter a lot for the final outcome. This step is very important as the client will know exactly what to expect.


Once this is settled, the treatment begins. The first session is performed in order to lay the foundation of the new look. After this, the scalp might be a little red, but this typically returns to normal after a day or two.


The second treatment is performed in order to fill in more detail and use pigments that differ in shades from the first treatment. This is done in order to add more depth into the final look, as it is always important to have the final outcome look as natural as possible.


Sometimes it might happen that a third procedure is needed. These are more often than not done by the request of the client, if they realize they want to go darker or have anything else to add.

How Long Does a Scalp Micropigmentation Treatment Last?

Just like it’s the case with any other permanent makeup procedures, the amount of time that’s needed for a good scalp microblading treatment varies. The typical session lasts from three to four hours, but additional sessions usually take much more time. This happens as the correct blend of density and darkness it’s much more challenging to achieve. This is why it’s always good to know what artist is going to perform the SMP, as you want the best and the most efficient one.

However, the gap between the first and the second treatment is somewhere between one and four weeks. This is done so that the pigment sets naturally into the skin of the client. By this, the artist will be able to see how the skin received the actual pigment and make new plans if needed.

Does Scalp Micropigmentation Hurt?

This might be quite a difficult question to answer as people have a different threshold for pain. Hair transplant is most often a completely painless procedure, but this is due to the numbing ointments and sedatives. On the contrary, scalp micropigmentation might involve a bit of pain, but it’s definitely less painful than getting a traditional tattoo.

Cosmetic tattooing is, in general, done only on the surface of the skin, as opposed to traditional tattooing, and this is why it doesn’t hurt as much. However, this procedure will involve just a bit of pain, but it’s always more comfortable to sit through a couple of hours of very minimal pain than ten days of scratching or medication.

Is Scalp Micropigmentation Safe?

Yes, scalp micropigmentation is safe, due to a specialized method of pigment insertion and the natural pigments that are used in the process. It’s convenient for both younger hair loss sufferers, as well as for older people.

PMUHub tip: As in any procedure where at least the smallest risk of infections is involved, It is vital to choose a certified SMP artist who is proved to work with sterile equipment and quality pigments. Follow their instructions, and there is nothing to worry about.

scalp micropigmentation procedure


How to Prepare for the Scalp Micropigmentation?

Once you have taken the decision to go for a SMP treatment there is some preparation you can do that will improve the experience and help your technician get to the best possible result. Here is what you should do:

  • Shave your head
  • Moisturize the skin
  • Take some paracetamol and/or ibuprofen


How Much Maintenance is Involved?

All patients must avoid activities that cause the sweating of the scalp during the first few days after the treatment. Moreover, they should also avoid shampooing and washing their head.

Once the first four days have passed, most men can shave with a foil shaver, but need to pay attention not to run it over the scabs that have not yet fallen off. Regular shaving and moisturising is recommended only after ten days of the procedure have passed.

In the first days after the SMP treatment, make sure to avoid:

  • Exercising and sweating
  • Showering, shampooing, and washing the head
  • Touching the head
  • Shaving
  • Applying moisturizer

Three to four weeks after the treatment, avoid:

  • Exposing the scalp to sunlight or extreme heat
  • Swimming in chlorinated pool
  • Using saunas or steam rooms

As far as fading of the pigment is concerned, in most cases an SMP treatment last for four to six years. Only then does the pigment start to fade a little bit, so the patient needs to have another treatment.


How Long Does it Take to Recover From a Scalp Micropigmentation Treatment?

The biggest issue here is the fact that the client has to wait for a couple of weeks until the second treatment finishes. This is when they will have the final result, so it’s safe to say that most patients wait somewhere between 2 and 4 weeks to experience the final outcome.

However, as far as the actual scalp micropigmentation treatment is concerned, patients will experience slight redness on the skin from each tattoo hair session during 24 – 48 hours after the treatment. Still, this is nothing serious as most patients return to work the very next day.


When Should You Get a SMP Touch Up?

The first touch up is basically included in a price of a SMP treatment, since most SMP artists and clinics offer two sessions per treatment. It is performed about a week after the first session in order to fill in the gaps using pigments that differ in shades from the first treatment. This is done in order to add more depth into the final look, as it is always important to have the final outcome look as natural as possible.

The third session is not included in the price, since it is not obligatory and in most cases is not performed. However, if the client realizes that he or she wants to go darker or has anything else to add, he or she might request the additional touch up session. Extra session cost is on average $700.


What Can Scalp Micropigmentation Do for You?

SMP is a great procedure for anyone who wants to make their hair appear thicker or are going bold. Apart from creating the illusion that a male client has always shaven hair, others might opt for this procedure if they want their hair to appear thicker and to reduce the contrast between the hair and the scalp.

However, apart from unlimited density that this procedure offers and the fact that the client can maintain their hairstyle just like they please, scalp micropigmentation is a great option for hair-related diseases. There are many different types of hair related diseases, but sometimes hair loss can be a side effect of medication. Problems such as vitiligo, lupus, thyroid problems and alopecia are just some of the examples and they can affect both men and women.

Moreover, patients who suffer from cancer or AIDS might also experience hair thinning. Scalp micropigmentation might be a simple, cost-effective and guaranteed solution for such problems.

Are the Results Always Realistic?

This is something that greatly depends on the clinic and the artist that the patient chooses.

A good and well-skilled artist can either make or break the final outcome, but if the patient chooses a good SMP clinic, the results are very realistic. This is because of the two scalp micropigmentation sessions, during which the artist uses different pigments and shades in order to create a more realistic look and shade the scalp in the right way.

How Lond Does Scalp Micropigmentation Last?

The effects of scalp micropigmentation can last for four to six years, on average.


Are There Any Side Effects to Scalp Micropigmentation?

Even though it is, in most cases, a completely safe procedure, getting SMP hair might have some level of risk. The most important thing is that the patient chooses a certified technician who will know how to deal with different skin types and who will ask all the important questions during the initial consultation.

However, there are certain things that patients need to have in mind:

  • Some people are generally allergic to ink that’s applied to their skin, so it might happen that the patient is allergic to the scalp micropigmentation pigment as well. If you’re a patient, make sure to make your technician know of all the things you are allergic to. However, more technicians use extremely safe pigments that are hypoallergenic.
  • If the facility you are getting your SMP procedure at uses low-quality ink and pigment, it could contain heavy metals. However, this is primarily an issue of quality rather of a side effect of SMP.
  • Finally, it’s very important that a new, sterile needle is used in the procedure.

As seen, most side effects of SMP are concerned with the actual place patients choose to get their scalp micropigmentation at.

What are the Disadvantages of Scalp Micropigmentation?

There are a couple of disadvantages to choosing this procedure for you.

  • First of all, SMP is a permanent procedure which many people see it as a disadvantage. The hair pattern always stays the same, just like the tattoo on the skin, and changing it requires the laser removal process which is painful and can cost a lot.
  • Moreover, prolonged exposure to the sun’s UV rays can increase the rate of fading. The final outcome is supposed to fade after 4 – 6 years, but in some cases the patient is expected to visit a SMP clinic more often for touch ups.
  • Finally, if men opt for SMP hair, they need to keep their hair very short in order to fully take advantage of the look.


Why Does Bad Scalp Micropigmentation Happen Often Lately?

Due to a huge increase in the number of poorly trained PMU artists over the past couple of years who don’t have a proper training nor experience, it’s not that uncommon to find a client with a badly done SMP.

Since the SMP procedure is a semi-permanent thing, make sure to choose a SMP technician wisely. Experience, proper training, knowledge, and tools are all critical factors you should pay extra attention to. Also, if the performing of the procedures is not done in the comfortable, private, and clean space of a medical office but in a hotel room, this is more than enough reasons not to accept the treatment.

What are Common Mistakes that Cause Bad SMP?

Most common mistakes that occur due to an improperly done SMP treatment are:

  • Using the wrong pigments
  • Pigments applied to the scalp at the wrong penetration depth
  • Pigments applied to the scalp with the wrong equipment used
  • Technicians who haven’t been trained properly

If the artist uses tattoo pigments that are made of color combinations including blue, green and purple, over a few weeks period it’s highly likely that your head will start to change the color by turning into green or blue. Also, if the dots are too big it means that the ink is deposited way deeper than it should be, most probably using a wrong traditional tattoo needles.

Can a Bad SMP Procedure Be Repaired?

In these cases the correction is possible and necessary as well. It’s important to stop with the sessions as soon as you notice that the results are not as expected, in order to make it easier to correct the mistake. It takes from 1-2 removal sessions up to 10, which depends on how the pigment was applied, how deep and which type was used. Unfortunately, the process can take months and can be quite uncomfortable.

It is important to note that not all modifications to a treatment require laser removal. Most hairline and side profile adjustments, density increases, darkening and fading correction is achieved without laser removal being necessary.


How Much Does SMP Cost?

The prices always vary and they depend greatly on many factors, such as the clinic the patient chooses, what country the clinic is based in and the type of the actual procedure. A standard procedure in the United States costs from $2,000 to $4,000 whole the cost for a scar treatment is around $1,500 (sometimes it can add up to $2,500).


What are the Other Options?

Scalp micropigmentation is just one of the possible ways to tackle with the issue of bold spots, thinning hair or a receding hairline. It is one of the newest treatments for hair loss available today, and has been gaining popularity in the last couple of years. However, there are other options as well.


Apart from hair growth products that have been on the market for quite some time, there are also certain medications that people use. The most popular type of medication are Minoxidil and Finasteride, and they both have the approval of Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Minoxidil is a product that’s very easy to buy, and it comes in either liquid or foam form that is applied to the scalp twice a day. It works by stimulating the hair follicles to grow hair on the scalp by widening the blood vessels. This consequently allows additional oxygen, blood and nutrients to flow to the hair follicles.

Even though this is the easiest and cheapest way to treat hair loss, it is not as effective for advanced hair loss. People over 30 might not experience the same results as younger men who have experienced minimal hair loss. Moreover, only 2-5% of women can use this product, as it increases the risk for low blood pressure and hypertension. Besides, it can cause the growth of unwanted hair for women.

Hair transplant

The procedure of hair transplantation is quite invasive, and it requires the use of a local anesthetic to numb all the areas that need to be tackled with. It also requires the use of a sedative in order to help the client stay still.

There are two different ways in which this procedure is carried out – the follicular unit transplantation (FUT) where a strip of your scalp is removed from the back of your head, and the follicular unit extraction (FUE) where individual follicles and hairs are removed one by one from the back of your head and placed into the bald areas through small incisions. Both of these require from the patient to visit a private hospital, and the aftercare might be quite intensive.

The biggest disadvantage to hair transplant is its cost, as it can range anywhere from $4,000 to $15,000 and most insurance plans don’t cover the cost of the surgery. Some patients also experience irritation, including itching and bumps, which can result in the transplanted hair falling off before it had a chance to grow.

Diet and supplements

Finally, there is always the method of changing the diet and using different supplements. Many nutritionists recommend a diet that includes the intake of protein. Protein strengthens hair and is believed to be promoting hair growth. It is also said that other supplements such as iron, biotin and zinc help slow the growth process. However, there’s not enough evidence to support these claims.

Wigs and hairpieces

The last options are wigs and hairpieces, but many people avoid opting for this step. Even though it might be quite uncomfortable to be wearing a wig, and there’s always a chance of it being displaced, this is the only option for people who don’t respond well to other treatments. The good thing is that insurance may cover the cost of a wig or hairpiece.


Scalp micropigmentation is a procedure that’s very effective and popular, and can do wonders for your self-esteem. It’s a less invasive and painful procedure than the one of hair transplant, which means that it’s perfect for anyone who wants to look like they always have short hair, or the ones who want to make their hair look fuller.

The most important thing is to pay attention to the quality of the technician, and even pay the higher price if you’re going to be completely satisfied with the outcome. This is not a procedure where you want to be saving money on.

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