Scalp Micropigmentation Recovery: Day by Day

Find out what to expect from scalp micropigmentation recovery: how long does it take, how uncomfortable it is, and what stages it entails.

Scalp Micropigmentation Recovery Process - Day by Day Healing

Image source: Instagram @fred312smp

Scalp micropigmentation is a form of cosmetic tattooing. It’s performed by injecting pigment inks into the skin of the scalp. Although the treatment is generally considered non-invasive, as the needles used are extremely thin and they only go shallow into the skin, the treatment does entail a short scalp micropigmentation healing process.

Here’s what to expect from scalp micropigmentation recovery.

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What’s Scalp Micropigmentation Recovery Like?

An SMP treatment involves virtually no downtime and you can carry on with your daily activities right after the treatment. That said, your scalp will show an immediate reaction to the treatment and you’ll need to pay some special attention to it.

The scalp micropigmentation recovery entails redness, irritation, dryness, scabbing, and color unevenness. None of these symptoms will affect your daily life, but you will have to adjust your shower routine and avoid certain activities.

Want to find out more about scalp micropigmentation? Follow the links:

Scalp Micropigmentation Cost

Scalp Micropigmentation Before and After

Scalp Micropigmentation Aftercare

What’s Scalp Micropigmentation Recovery Like?Image source: Instagram @smp.don

How Long Does SMP Take to Heal?

The scalp micropigmentation recovery takes about 10 days after each SMP session. Most of the healing symptoms should subside by day 7, but you should wait a few more days before booking the next session (most artists book them 2 weeks apart).

After the final session, you need to be careful to avoid certain activities for about 30 days. After that, the scalp micropigmentation healing process is definitely over and you don’t need to worry about it.

So the SMP healing process between sessions takes around 10 days, and after the final session it takes 30 days.

Scalp Micropigmentation Recovery Day by Day

Here’s what you can expect from each stage of the scalp micropigmentation:

Day 1

Your scalp will look red and there will be some inflammation. In fact, these symptoms can show up even during the treatment.

This is completely normal. It means your immune system has initiated the recovery.

There may be some lymph oozing and even spots of blood. As the skin was pierced and wounds were created, this is inevitable.

These symptoms are harmless and they won’t prevent you from going about your day. However, they will be visible, and the area could feel tender to the touch. So you should refrain from wearing a hat or cap.

The color of the pigments will look very dark.

Days 2-3

Scabs will form over the micro-wounds. You mustn’t touch them. The area will feel dry and itchy. Your artist may prescribe a soothing ointment to relieve the discomfort.

Redness should be subsiding.

The color of the pigment will still be quite dark.

Refrain from wearing caps or hats because they may rip off the scabs.

Days 4-7

The scabs will start peeling off in flakes. You mustn’t pull or rip off the scabs and the flakes of skin hanging on – you can pull out the pigments with them.

For the same reason, avoid wearing head gear just a little bit longer.

The pigment underneath the scabs will probably look lighter than you expected. This is because the scabs inevitably take a certain amount of pigment with them, and the new skin that forms over them is very light, so the results appear even lighter.

Days 8-13

All the symptoms of healing should be over by now, but your scalp is given a few more days to soothe completely before the next session.
The pigments will look darker in some spots, and lighter in others. This is expected and it’s corrected at the next touch up.

Day 14

If you need further sessions, this is the perfect time to book the next one. Your scalp has healed enough for further touch ups.

30 Days After the Final Session

Your scalp will go through the 10-day healing process and after that, you can go back to your normal routine, with some exceptions.

You should refrain from swimming in chlorinated water, saunas and steam baths, sunbeds, and exposing your scalp to sunlight for longer stretches of time.

Scalp Micropigmentation Recovery Day by DayImage source: Instagram @scalprevivalsmp

Does the SMP Healing Process Require Special Care?

Yes, but it’s nothing too complicated.

In the first 10 days after your treatment, you need to:

  • Keep your scalp dry. No washing, and no excessive sweating. After day 3, you can clean the scalp with lukewarm water and some very mild, fragrance-free soap, but make it very quick, don’t soak the area, and dry it by light blotting as soon as possible.
  • Don’t touch your scalp. You should refrain from touching the area at all stages of healing. Until the wounds close up, you risk getting the area contaminated and infected. Once the scabs form, you risk pulling out the pigments with the scabs. If the area gets unbearably dry and itchy, contact your artists and see if there’s a soothing ointment you can use.
  • Avoid harsh products. During the healing process, you can’t use shampoo or any type of product apart from mild, fragrance-free soap. Especially avoid sulfates. Your scalp is still sensitive and any product not approved by your artist can cause irritation. Plus, harsh chemicals can affect the pigments.

For a more detailed guide through SMP aftercare, read this article.

Is the Scalp Micropigmentation Recovery the Same for All Scalp Tattoo Treatments?

Apart from basic scalp micropigmentation, there are 2 more cosmetic head tattoo techniques that can camouflage hair loss – tricopigmentation, and hairline microblading.

They’re all done by breaking the surface of the skin of the scalp and depositing pigments into it, so, yes, the healing process is the same for each technique. The only difference is, with scalp microblading, smaller areas are treated, so the side effects will be less dramatic.

Scalp Micropigmentation Recovery – Main Takeaway

Your scalp will go through a scalp micropigmentation recovery process after each SMP session. Luckily, it’s short and not too uncomfortable, although it does entail dryness and itching. Your scalp will be red and inflamed for a few days, then scabs will form and finally fall off. After the peeling is over, the initial healing is through, but the area needs a bit more time for internal healing and pigment settling.



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