Scalp micropigmentation is a great way to camouflage a number of hair loss issues, and it can give very realistic results – if done right. However, sometimes the results don’t turn out to be quite what you expected, or they change over the years and become not so attractive.
Since it’s a form of tattooing, the results can’t just be washed off. But if you’re dealing with a botched scalp micropigmentation, don’t worry, there’s a way to remove it. Several ways, in fact.
Keep reading to learn all about scalp micropigmentation removal.
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Can You Remove Scalp Micropigmentation?
Just like with any tattoo, scalp micropigmentation removal is definitely possible, but it’s not without its challenges. It requires multiple sessions, especially if the whole scalp area is treated. It’s an uncomfortable process, and it can get pricey, since it’s charged per session.
Total scalp micropigmentation removal is usually possible, but in some cases, where the pigment inks were injected too deep, it can leave a shadowy residue even after many sessions. Still, a significant improvement is guaranteed.
Image source: Instagram @billydecola
When Is Scalp Micropigmentation Removal Needed?
With micropigmentation, the better option is always to correct whenever possible, since removal is a process that lasts a long time and costs quite a bit of money. So if what you don’t like about your SMP is the shape of the hairline, see if there’s a way to correct it.
But there are cases where correction is not possible and scalp micropigmentation removal is the only option:
1. The hairline goes too low
If the micropigmented hairline goes too far out of the natural hairline, or where the natural hairline would be on clients who have no hair in the area, it can shorten the forehead and make the whole face look unproportional.
It can’t really be camouflaged or hidden, since it’s on the frontal region of the head or even on the forehead.
This is why it’s important to choose a skilled tech who can measure your features properly and visualize what the final result will look like. But if you do end up with this type of SMP gone wrong, removal should fix your problem.
Image source: Instagram @lorenaobergskincare
2. The pigment dots have spread
With SMP, pigment is injected into the skin in tiny dots that look like hair follicles just about to emerge.
But if the dots are too big, the result no longer looks realistic.
Pigment dots can spread due to several reasons:
- The needle used was too thick
- The pigment was injected too deep and it spread in the skin
- The dots were placed too close to each other and they merged together
There’s no way to camouflage or correct dots that have spread in diameter. They have to be removed.
Image source: Instagram @coastalskinclinic
3. The color turned blue-greenish
All SMP treatments are done with more or less the same color – a dark gray for dark-haired clients, and a lighter gray for light-haired clients – because hair follicles that have emerged from the skin yet look like this regardless of the actual color of the strand.
But the problem with dark gray tones is that they can look so cool they seem bluish or greenish. This can happen immediately after the treatment, or sometime later.
If the pigments are injected too deep into the skin, they look very cool since there are many layers of skin above it.
But the pigments which initially look good can turn bluish after a few years if the pigment wasn’t formulated properly, or warmed up.
The pigments used for SMP are more concentrated than those for permanent makeup, and they often contain high amounts of carbon. As the body breaks down the pigment in the skin, carbon-based pigments often end up looking blue/greenish/grayish. A trick experienced artists use is they add a bit of reddish pigment into the mix to ensure attractive fading.
Image source: Instagram @laserawayink_tattoo_removal
What Scalp Micropigmentation Removal Methods Are Available?
As with all permanent makeup and micropigmentation, there are laser and non-laser methods.
Laser Scalp Micropigmentation Removal
Scalp pigmentation removal with a laser is quite efficient, and it can usually give a significant improvement even after the first session.
How Does It Work?
The laser beam penetrates the skin and breaks down the pigment ink molecules into smaller particles which the lymphatic system can carry away and extract. With each session, more and more of the molecules are broken down. After the treatment, the body takes away the particles over a period of 4-6 weeks.
With laser removal, both the entire scalp area and smaller patches can be treated.
Does It Hurt?
Laser removal is not the most comfortable experience. Clients report it feels like sharp stinging, but it’s over very quickly – an average session usually doesn’t last more than 10 minutes.
Is It Safe?
If done by a trained, experienced technician who knows how to determine the right wavelength, yes, scalp micropigmentation removal with a laser is entirely safe.
Note, though, that darker skin is more at risk of hypo- and hyperpigmentation, so it requires a special laser that can treat dark skin safely.
How Many Sessions Are Needed?
The number of sessions necessary for scalp pigmentation removal depends on the density of the pigment ink and the depth at which it was deposited. Most clients need between 3 and 10, but in some cases, even more sessions than that are required.
The sessions are booked at least 4 weeks apart.
Image source: Instagram @tattooremovalexperts
Non-Laser Scalp Micropigmentation Removal
While lasers used to be the only option for removing any type of tattoo, in the past decade, efficient non-laser methods emerged as alternatives. They can be used for scalp tattoo removal, too.
How Does It Work?
While laser removal extracts the ink particles from within, through the lymphatic system, non-laser methods open up the skin and extract them through scabbing. The process is similar to that of getting SMP done:
- The skin is opened up with an electric needle device
- Special solutions are injected into the cuts that dry out the pigment and lift it to the surface of the skin
- As it heals, the skin will form a scab and the unwanted pigments will get stuck in it
- Once the scab falls off, the pigment underneath looks significantly faded.
Non-laser methods are suitable for treating smaller problematic areas. Because of the nature of the technique – creating each individual incision by hand – they’re not really suitable for larger areas.
Does It Hurt?
Most techs apply a topical anesthetic before starting the needling, so no, non-laser removal isn’t really painful. You can expect it to feel a lot like when you got the SMP done, as it’s basically the same technique.
Is It Safe?
Yes. If the technician pays attention not to go too deep or overwork the skin, the technique is basically risk-free.
How Many Sessions Are Required?
With non-laser scalp micropigmentation removal too, the number of sessions depends on the pigment ink saturation and application depth. 4-8 sessions are enough for most clients.
The sessions are booked 5-8 weeks apart, giving the skin enough time to heal.
Image source: Instagram @kelly.at.folisim
* The white patches are new skin that will blend with the rest once tanned.
Is There Any Downtime?
After each session, the area will be red, irritated and tender, and it will scab after a while.
The aftercare is very similar to the routine you had to follow for a few days after the original SMP treatment, so no:
- Getting the area wet
- Applying any products other than the prescribed ones
- Touching the area
- Sunlight exposure
Your technician will give you more detailed aftercare instructions.
How Much Does Scalp Micropigmentation Removal Cost?
Scalp micropigmentation removal is charged per session for both methods, and the price of each session is determined by the amount of work that needs to be done, i.e. the size of the area treated.
So we can’t give you an exact price, but here are general ranges.
If a small patch is treated, the price per session can be as low as $80. But if the entire scalp is treated, the price can go up to $500.
Since non-laser methods are used to treat only smaller patches, the price of a session is usually priced between $150 and $300.
Scalp Micropigmentation Removal – Main Takeaways
If you have SMP you want to get rid of, your options are laser and non-laser methods. Both are efficient, but require multiple sessions. The laser works well even on the entire scalp, while non-laser methods that imply opening up the skin are used to treat smaller patches. Both methods are safe if performed right, and can end up quite pricey, since they’re charged per session.