Scalp micropigmentation: an alternative solution for alopecia
By Prof. Dr. Soner Tatlidede 2018-11-08
Scalp micropigmentation is a new technique consisting of the colouring and dyeing of the head scalp with a medical and cosmetic tattoo to give the illusion of a buzz cut hairstyle on a head with baldness, or to add density to a thinning hairline. This treatment can also be used to conceal scars from hair transplant or to treat hair loss due to skin problems like alopecia areata. Continue reading and we´ll tell you all the details about what is micropigmentation.
What is scalp micropigmentation, and how is this surgery performed?
As we mentioned before we can consider scalp micropigmentation (SMP) similar to a tattoo, as it comes from the idea of considering that the head scalp consists of same skin layers that cover our body. However, in contrast to traditional tattoos, in hair micropigmentation we use the colour pigments in the first layer of the skin, instead of the second one. Also, we do not use permanent dyes, but anti-allergic reactions ones so that they not cause any side effect.
The dye we use in the (SMP) technology is extracted from madder plant, which is the base of almost every dye; it also has been used in many industries such as textile industry. However, medical pigmentations are produced in laboratories and they contain special materials that are suited for the skin tissue.
The scalp micropigmentation treatment is applied in two or three sessions; every session takes a couple of hours and the result will remain for 1 to 3 years. But as the time passes the pigment colour will disappear, so we will have to perform a SMP again.
Can we use SMP instead of a hair transplant?
Hair transplantation is a surgical technique, which includes taking hair follicles from the back side of the head scalp –the donor area- and implanting them in the area of baldness (reception area). After a few months the transplanted hair starts growing, and new hair will cover the gaps. The main requisite for doing this surgery is to have a big donor area with enough amount of follicles.
In some cases, the follicles in the donor area may not be enough to perform a transplant, so in this situation the patient will need to seek other solutions -for example using artificial hair or hair extensions- as hair problems may cause psychological problems. It´s in these situations when the micropigmentation technique can be a good alternative solution for patients that are not suitable for a hair transplant.
When is recommended for patients to get this treatment?
We recommend the use of the SMP technique in these cases:
- When the donor area is not enough or the patient suffers a full hair loss: if the donor area has a low density and we can't take grafts from it, or if the patient has a big baldness area, we resort to the SMP method.
- Early hair falling: in these cases we can't do the graft transplantation due to falling of the hair in its early stages.
- Scalp micropigmentation for scars: we can use the SMP technique to hide scars from previous surgeries in which the FUT method has been used for a hair transplantation.
- After a first hair transplant: sometimes the grafts we take from the donor area may not be enough, so we need a second treatment to boost the visual density and give the patient a full covering. As a result, we combine the hair transplant surgery itself with the SMP.
- For patients with alopecia: the SMP method offers a good way to cover the gaps resulting from alopecia, as these gaps are outspread all over the head scalp.
Hair transplant or SMP method: what do I choose?
Hair transplants are excellent if you have a viable donor area. However, you may suffer some problems. On the other hand, the SMP is considered quite effective in covering hair falling in the cases we have mentioned before; but you have to bear in mind that with this technique you are not getting your hair back actually: it is more like a cover-up procedure, whereas a hair transplant will provide you with real hair, which is probably what you have been dreaming of.
To style or not to style, that is the question!
The main factor that will help you to decide which method is better for you, is asking yourself if you want to style your hair or not. If you prefer to have a good and natural look, a hair transplantation is the best choice, but it will depend on having a good donor area.
However, if the patient has a full or semi-full baldness, we prefer not to perform a hair transplant because the donor area will not give us the enough number of grafts. Anyway, you must consider that in the hair transplantation you will have a real hair that can be styled, but the scalp micropigmentation is just an ink coverage that you can't modify or even deal with it as it was real hair.
Does scalp micropigmentation have risks?
In fact, SMP is a very safe technique and so far no serious side effects have been reported about it. Also, this method will not damage your hair follicles as the colour pigments are used in the first layer of the skin, and follicles are much deeper in the scalp.
If you suffer from hair loss problems and you want to find a definite solution, we always recommend you to get informed and receive professional assessment. In Clinicana we are always willing to answer your doubts about scalp micropigmentation or any other techniques used for hair treatments. Do not hesitate in contacting us: we will provide you a free consultation where we´ll evaluate your best options to bring your hair back.