No More Scalp Show-Through: Your Guide to Scalp Micropigmentation

Mariam Youssef
5/6/23, 1:00 PM

You might already be familiar with microblading for thick brows. But did you know that the scalp can be treated in a similar way? Scalp micropigmentation (SMP) is the process that provides the appearance of thicker hair. But what precisely is the difference? Although they are both considered forms of micropigmentation, microblading and micropigmentation are two very different procedures for applying pigment to the skin. Micropigmentation is carried out using an electric tattoo machine, as opposed to microblading, which is normally applied with a manual blade. This is due to the fact that your scalp's skin is thicker than the area beneath your eyebrows, requiring more force to penetrate. That said, we’ll dedicate this article to explaining everything you need to know about scalp micropigmentation, so keep reading.

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What exactly is scalp micropigmentation?

Hair loss or thinning hair can be treated cosmetically using scalp micropigmentation. It is also occasionally referred to as a hair tattoo. A practitioner applies microscopic spots of pigment (color) to the scalp using thin, little needles. These tiny dots give the impression that the hair is thicker. SMP uses permanent ink, so you need to be exact about what you want.

Scalp micropigmentation, when done by a qualified expert, can cover up balding spots on your scalp. It can also cover scars or birthmarks. On bald people, the procedure can also create the appearance of buzz-cut or shaved hair. Scalp micropigmentation is a non-invasive procedure that doesn't need anesthesia or surgery.

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How does it work, and who can benefit from it?

Instead of creating hair-like lines like the ones you would get when microblading your eyebrows, the objective of SMP is to imitate the appearance of a shadow on your head using tiny, layered dots in various shades of black. Pointillism is a technique used to add the appearance of depth and definition. A qualified specialist will put in the effort to make the dots resemble real hair follicles and match your skin tone perfectly. All types of hair loss sufferers may find this process helpful. This includes people who have:

  • Alopecia areata, an autoimmune illness that results in hair loss.
  • Hair loss from Chemotherapy.
  • Women's hair loss.
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and any other hormonal conditions that lead to hair loss.
  • Male baldness, baldness at the crown of the head, or receding hairline.
  • Scalp show-through or thin hair.
  • Birthmarks or scars on the scalp.

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Does SMP grow hair?

The process of scalp micropigmentation does neither change nor stimulate natural hair growth. It is not a remedy for baldness. Additionally, it won't harm your current hair follicles or cause hair loss. By using scalp micropigmentation, you may have the appearance of thicker, fuller hair.

What is the process, and does it hurt?

You should get ready the week before your micropigmentation appointment to get your scalp as smooth as possible. Doctors advise moisturizing and refraining from using external hair products, both medical and non-medical. Additionally, they advise against drinking alcohol the day of or the day after your appointment because it thins the blood. Exfoliating products should not be used as well, according to experts. You don't need to use harsh scalp scrubs or any other inflammatory treatments, such as those that contain alpha hydroxy acids or retinol.

So how painful is the procedure exactly? It depends. Before starting the process, your SMP specialist will numb your scalp externally. However, it's important to remember that there might still be a little discomfort. Your pain tolerance, however, will have a big impact on how uncomfortable you feel.


People who have scalp acne or other skin sensitivities like psoriasis ought to steer clear of SMP during a breakout or flare-up because it will be challenging to apply color to the swollen areas. You may not be a suitable candidate for SMP if you are prone to keloids, which are frequently seen in those with darker skin.

What to do/expect before, after, and during the procedure?

Before SMP

  • Before your visit, wash your hair and scalp.
  • Your doctor will mark the parts of your scalp that need treatment once you get there.
  • If you are bald, your service provider and you could design a hairline depending on your age, head shape, and face structure.
  • Your provider and you decide on pigments that are the same color as your hair.
  • For your comfort, your doctor will apply numbing medication to your scalp. Scalp micropigmentation is typically less uncomfortable than getting a tattoo since the needles are smaller and thinner than those used for tattoos.

During SMP

Your doctor applies medical-grade pigment with a needle to the parts of the scalp that need it. To give a genuine, hair-like appearance, the dots will be different in size, angle, and depth. Depending on how big the treatment area is, it can take you up to five hours to complete your treatment. Most patients require at least three treatments, spaced out over a period of time. To give the appearance of thick hair, additional color is added during each treatment.

After SMP

You can quickly return to your normal routine because there is no surgery or anesthesia required. Scalp micropigmentation hardly has any side effects. Your scalp may experience some temporary redness for a few hours. If you want, you can cover your scalp with a hat or scarf.

Advantages of SMP

When weighed against hair transplant surgery, scalp micropigmentation has the following advantages:

  • Less intrusive (no incisions or surgery).
  • Less discomfort.
  • Lower price.
  • No interruption.

Risks of SMP

Choosing an untrained or incompetent practitioner who does not take the appropriate safeguards carries the most dangers while having scalp micropigmentation done.

Possible risks include:

  • Cosmetic pigments causing an allergic reaction.
  • Infection brought on by dirty needles.
  • Unappealing or unnatural appearance following therapy.

To reduce these dangers:

  • Pick a certified scalp micropigmentation specialist.
  • Request to see examples of their before-and-after scalp micropigmentation procedures.
  • Before the operation, talk to the technician about any allergies you may have.

How long does SMP last?

Scalp micropigmentation typically lasts four years or longer before losing its appearance. The cosmetic colors used in SMP are long-lasting. They resist fading and color change because they are different from tattoo ink.

Finally, your self-confidence shouldn’t be affected by hair loss or thinning. People lose their hair for a variety of causes, including hormone imbalances, alopecia, and male pattern baldness. It’s also okay if you perhaps wish to conceal a blemish or scar. Scalp micropigmentation is a successful, non-invasive method to provide the appearance of fuller hair.

Main image credit: @desiperkins



Mariam Youssef

Growing up, I've always wanted to become so many things: a fashion designer, painter, singer, actress, and anything that revolves around art. It wasn't until I watched "How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days" t...

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