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Scalp Micropigmentation – SMP

Darkening the scalp with specialized tattooing techniques called scalp micropigmentation (SMP) can create the appearance of hair. Baltimore plastic surgeon and experienced hair restoration expert James Vogel, MD relies on SMP for many male and female patients who have cosmetic challenges related to hair loss and previous hair transplant procedures. SMP can be used for a variety of applications to develop natural-looking, “semi-permanent” results.

What is Scalp Micropigmentation Used for?

Scalp micropigmentation is a very versatile treatment that Dr. Vogel and Dr. Houssock utilize to help patients achieve improvements in the appearance of their hair and scalp. The main reasons for tattooing the scalp with SMP are to:

  1. Provide the appearance of hair stubble in unsatisfactory donor scars following a hair transplant. Additionally, SMP can be used in conjunction with corrective hair transplants to soften the appearance of the recipient area resulting from a poorly performed hair transplant procedure.
  2. Create a darkening of the scalp in areas of thin hair or to increase the apparent density of a thin hair transplant.
  3. Develop the appearance of a hairline on a shaved scalp.

What are the Benefits of Scalp Micropigmentation?

Scalp micropigmentation offers many advantages to a broad segment of our hair restoration patients:

  • SMP is equally successful in men and women.
  • The dye used for SMP is long-lasting but also considered semi-permanent, lasting between three to five years.
  • SMP performed by an experienced tattoo technician can closely resemble the patient’s own natural hair.
  • For certain patients, SMP offers a more economical way to create the look of thicker hair.
  • SMP can help correct a multitude of imperfections left behind by a previous hair transplant procedure.
  • SMP is a non-surgical procedure and heals quickly in comparison to other, more intensive treatment options.
  • Touch-up treatments can help results maintain a natural look over the years.

For more about how scalp micropigmentation treatment can benefit you, we encourage you to contact our practice to schedule a consultation with Dr. Vogel or Dr. Houssock.  

What Should I Know about the Scalp Micropigmentation Process?

The scalp tattoo process is similar to that performed on other areas of the body. The indications for the procedure, expectations for outcome, the skill of the tattoo technician, and the quality of the equipment are all factors in determining the success of the procedure. At our practice we thoroughly evaluate each patient, utilize only the highest-quality equipment, and carefully plan each SMP procedure to promote satisfactory outcomes. Dr. Vogel and Dr. Houssock take extensive measurements and create a detailed visual map for how the micropigmentation will be applied.

The primary difference between the SMP we perform at our practice and a traditional tattoo is that the dye we use is not permanent, rather it is semi-permanent. With the semi-permanent variety, the pigments begin to fade and require an update between three to five years. The fading process is helpful, because it gives the individual a chance to revise the shade or pattern to match any changes in his or her appearance.

To help minimize the potential for discomfort, local anesthetics are applied prior to the beginning of treatment. Most SMP procedures take between one to two hours to perform, depending on the unique details of the patient’s treatment strategy. For some patients, a series of SMP treatments spaced about one week apart may be necessary to achieve the desired result.

Recovery after Scalp Micropigmentation

Dr. Vogel or Dr. Houssock will review your post-treatment care instructions with you so that you know what to expect during your recovery. Immediately after SMP treatment, some redness and inflammation should be expected. After a few days, small scabs will form on the skin. These scabs typically dry up quickly and flake off after five to seven days. It is important to keep your scalp moisturized and protected from the sun during the recovery process to promote proper healing. Within a month of treatment, the pigments are usually fully settled into the skin. Each patient’s healing process is unique, so some of these estimates may vary.

Scalp Micropigmentation (SMP) Before-and-After Photos

Some examples of SMP are provided below:

These examples show how SMP can hide the unnatural appearance of a poorly performed hair transplant when the patient wants to maintain a closely shaved scalp.

These donor scars have been treated 3 times within 4 months.

Another example of a donor scar improved with SMP 3 treatments needed in first year

Some donor areas are unsightly as a result of an older plug harvest technique.
The white circular scars are the areas of previous donor hair removal and the result seen is following SMP treatment.

Are you losing your hair and looking for solutions? If so, we suggest that you explore the hair restoration options we offer at our practice. With the help of Dr. Vogel or Dr. Houssock, you may be able to slow your hair loss and begin on the path to achieving a thicker, fuller head of hair. Contact our office to schedule a personal consultation with one of our experienced plastic surgeons.