Definition and Overview
Scalp micropigmentation is a non-surgical procedure used as a remedy for thinning hair, receding hairline, and baldness. It involves the application of pigments on the scalp (similar to the application of a tattoo) that resembles the appearance of real hair follicles that are growing in the skin. The procedure, which is also called “hair tattoo”, is beneficial for all cases of hair loss or thinning hair, regardless of the cause.
It is important for patients to have the right expectations regarding the procedure. A scalp micropigmentation will not cause hair to grow back. Instead, it will create the appearance of growing hair.
Who Should Undergo and Expected Results
As mentioned above, scalp micropigmentation is recommended for individuals with:
- Thinning hair
- Receding hairline
The procedure can be performed on both men and women. Statistics show that up to 65% of men will suffer from noticeable hair loss by the age of 60 and 70% by the age of 80. On the other hand, up to 80% of women over the age of 60 will experience noticeable balding.
Studies show that the normal human head has an average of 110,000 hair follicles. Unfortunately, several factors can cause hair loss or thinning hair, such as:
- Hereditary factors – The most common cause of hair loss is a condition called male or female-pattern baldness, which is hereditary.
- Hormonal changes – Changes and imbalances in a person’s hormone levels may lead to hair loss. This is the reason why some women tend to experience falling hair more significantly during pregnancy.
- Certain illnesses or diseases – Several cases of hair loss or thinning hair are associated with underlying medical conditions such as alopecia areata.
- Certain medications or medical treatments – Hair loss is one of the most widely reported side effects of certain medical treatments and medications such as anti-depressants, oral contraceptives, and hypertension drugs, as well as chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
- Emotional or psychological trauma – Traumatic and stressful events in a person’s life, such as the death of a family member, can trigger hair loss.
Regardless of the cause, patients who suffer from hair loss or thinning hair tend to suffer from low self-esteem, especially since effective hair restoration treatments usually involve surgery and can be very costly.
Fortunately, a scalp micropigmentation gives patients a chance to restore the natural appearance of hair follicles that are breaking through the scalp without resorting to more invasive treatments, such as hair transplants. Although it does not cause hair to grow back naturally, it effectively improves the appearance of baldheads by mimicking the appearance of shaved hair or bringing receding hairlines forward.
How is the Procedure Performed?
A scalp micropigmentation treatment requires 2 to 3 outpatient sessions that are spaced a week apart. Each session takes a couple of hours depending on the size of the treatment area.
To create a natural, realistic appearance, specialists carefully select the correct color and density that will achieve the best results. If the patient has existing hair, they also make sure that the results blend seamlessly with real hair.
To apply the treatment, the physician will first choose the correct needle group, the right penetration depth, and the appropriate needle angle to use. He then mixes the correct pigment color that will blend well with the patient’s scalp or existing hair. Using the selected needle, he delivers specialized pigments into specific areas of the scalp, carefully forming the correct shape.
Possible Risks and Complications
It is normal for patients to experience some redness in the area where the pigments are applied and this usually lingers within 2 to 4 hours following the procedure. Other than this, the treatment has no known side effects, making it safer than surgical hair transplantation and hair loss medications.
The only risk associated with scalp micropigmentation is a possible allergic reaction to the pigments or any of the other instruments and materials used in the procedure. Thus, it is important that it is performed by a trusted and accredited clinic that meets all hygiene and sanitation standards.
However, since the procedure is fairly new, not much is known regarding its long-term effects. So far, however, most patients who have undergone the procedure report only positive results.
Rassman W., Pak J., Kim J. (2013). “Scalp micropigmentation: A useful treatment for hair loss.” Facial Plastic Surgery Clinics. 2013: August volume 21, issue 3, pages 497-503.
Rassman W., Pak J., Kim J., Estrin N. (2015). “Scalp micropigmentation: A concealer for hair and scalp de