Scalp micropigmentation procedure in progress
Scalp micropigmentation procedure in progress

Are you tired of trying countless hair loss solutions with little to no success? Look no further, as scalp micropigmentation (SMP) may be the answer you’ve been searching for.

This non-invasive hair loss treatment is gaining popularity for its natural-looking results and minimal side effects, providing a life-changing solution for many individuals.

In this article, we will dive deep into the world of scalp micropigmentation, discussing everything from the ideal candidates to the benefits and potential risks. By the end, you’ll have a comprehensive understanding of this innovative hair loss solution and whether it’s the right choice for you.

Looking for a great scalp micropigmentation clinic in your city? As the world’s biggest and most recognizable SMP brand, we follow almost every scalp micropigmentation artist in the world, so we know who does great work consistently. Be sure to choose only an Approved Clinic for the best treatment experience.

Understanding Scalp Micropigmentation

Scalp micropigmentation, often referred to as a hair tattoo, is a non-invasive hair loss treatment that deposits tiny dots of pigment onto the scalp, creating the illusion of thicker hair.

Orian Barzilay, SMP artist from NYC
Orian Barzilay, specialist scalp micropigmentation artist, and recipient of his own SMP treatment, from New York City

This innovative procedure can effectively hide thinning areas, scars, or birthmarks and give the appearance of a buzz cut, boosting self-confidence in the process.

The SMP procedure involves injecting ink pigment particles into the dermal layer of the scalp, with a photograph provided to the specialist before treatment to illustrate the desired outcome.

The advantages of scalp micropigmentation are numerous, including a natural appearance, no damage to hair follicles, and no impediment to hair growth. However, potential risks and side effects, such as allergic reactions, infection, and pigment migration, must be considered.

To minimize these risks and achieve the best results, it’s crucial to select a reputable hair tattoo clinic with experienced technicians.

Scalp micropigmentation has existed in primative form since the 1980’s, however it was popularized and became widely known and chosen from 2009 when dedicated clinics were first established and word started to reach the media.

Training in progress
Training the next generation of SMP artists at Scalp Micro USA in New York

Since then, the availability of SMP training courses has exploded. As a result, there is now at least one scalp micropigmentation specialist in almost every country in the world. Major cities like New York and London often have over 100 artists offering services.

Ideal Candidates for Scalp Micropigmentation

Scalp micropigmentation is a versatile solution suited to a wide range of individuals experiencing hair loss.

Whether you have thinning hair, balding, or long/short hair, SMP can provide a less painful and more comfortable procedure compared to other hair restoration treatments.

Recent client of SMP Australia
SMP has become a popular enhancement for style-conscious men and women. Scalp micropigmentation is no longer just for those in distress, but is chosen by a much broader range of people, each with their own motivations.

However, it’s essential to remember that SMP should only be administered by a qualified and experienced professional to ensure optimal results.

One of the key benefits of SMP is that it doesn’t require any invasive surgery. This makes it an attractive option for those who may be hesitant to undergo more intrusive hair restoration procedures like hair transplants.

Additionally, the recovery time for SMP is significantly shorter, allowing individuals to return to their daily activities within a few days.

There are very few people who cannot have scalp micropigmentation for medical or suitability reasons.

About to start the SMP session
Even men who are totally bald can have scalp micropigmentation. Unlike hair transplant surgery, no donor hair is required, therefore the option is open to all.

These include men and women undergoing chemotherapy, those who have had hair transplant surgery quite recently, and most commonly, men who want to increase their appearance of hair density when in reality they do not have enough remaining hair to pull this off.

Not just for men

Whilst scalp micropigmentation was originally developed to replicate the appearance of a shaved head of hair, naturally swerving the solution towards men, modern SMP now includes variations of the original technique to suit women experiencing hair loss too.

Female scalp micropigmentation
SMP now provides a range of hair loss solutions for women too

Women lose hair for all kinds of reasons, often hormonal or hereditary, or sometimes linked to physical or emotional trauma like childbirth or stress.

Female scalp micropigmentation is most commonly used to provide the illusion of density, by reducing the contrast between the scalp and the hair, making any thinning of the hair less noticeable.

Hiding hair transplant scars

Scalp micropigmentation is also used to conceal imperfections such as hair transplant scars, and other scars caused by injury or a medical procedure.

Scar camouflage through SMP is highly effective, allowing individuals to style their hair in very short lengths without revealing the scars beneath.

scar camouflage with SMP
FUT scar camouflage procedure well underway at Scalp Doctor in Birmingham, UK. Procedures like these, once healed, can reduce the visibility of scars significantly.

For those who have undergone hair transplant surgery and are unhappy with the scarring left behind, SMP offers a viable solution that can boost confidence and improve the overall appearance of the hair and scalp deformities without the need for further invasive surgery.

Scars are an inevitable by-product of hair transplant surgery. All hair restoration procedures create scars, from FUT (strip) scars to FUE (dot) scars. Many men who have had procedures, feel that their scars are harder to live with than the original hair loss was.

Scalp micropigmentation provides a highly effective camouflage for these scars, releasing tens of thousands of men from the anxiety of trying to hide or cover up their scars.

The only guaranteed solution for alopecia

In all its forms including areata, traction, totalis and telogen effluvium, there are treatments that are mildly effective for some people, however there is simply no cure available.

Before and after an SMP procedure for alopecia areata
Even aggressive alopecia areata can be tamed with scalp micropigmentation.

Scalp micropigmentation has provided a much needed solution for thousands of men and women living with alopecia.

Procedures like these are more advanced than they appear, with many underlying factors at play that ultimately determine the treatment strategy. For this reason, it is important to choose an SMP artist who has experience in this specialist area.

The Scalp Micropigmentation Process

The SMP process consists of three main stages: consultation, treatment sessions, and aftercare instructions.

In the following subsections, we’ll take a closer look at each stage and what to expect during your SMP journey.


The consultation process is a crucial first step in the SMP journey. During this time, the specialist will discuss your goals, expectations, and medical history to ensure you’re a suitable candidate for the procedure.

They will also assess your scalp and hair to determine the most appropriate course of action, addressing any queries or apprehensions you may have. Consultations may be conducted in-person or virtually and typically last around 15 minutes.

A scalp micropigmentation consultation at SMP Australia
A scalp micropigmentation consultation at SMP Australia. The consultation usually lasts 30-60 minutes and is your opportunity to understand the process and ask any questions

Open communication with your specialist during the consultation is essential, as it helps them gain a better understanding of your desired outcome and tailor the procedure accordingly. Don’t hesitate to ask questions or voice any concerns, as this will ensure you feel confident and well-informed about the process moving forward.

Treatment Sessions

SMP treatment sessions involve the precise application of pigment to your scalp using a needle. The number of sessions necessary may vary depending on your individual needs, but each session can take up to five hours.

Jonathan Gerow of Gerow Hair Ink in NYC
One of the first scalp micropigmentation artists in the world, Jonathan Gerow performs an SMP procedure at his clinic in New York

During these sessions, the specialist will carefully place dots of pigment in varying sizes, angles, and depths, creating a natural, hair-like effect.

Generally, three or more treatments are necessary, with each treatment spaced several weeks apart to ensure optimal results and the desired appearance of thick hair.

It’s important to note that the SMP treatment process is quite different from a regular tattoo, as it requires specialized knowledge and skills to achieve the desired outcome. Therefore, it’s essential to choose an experienced SMP practitioner to ensure your treatment is both safe and effective.


Following your SMP treatment, it’s crucial to adhere to the aftercare instructions provided by your specialist to ensure optimal results.

The scalp may exhibit redness and tenderness for a few days, and the scalp pigmentation may initially appear darker. To promote proper healing, it’s essential to keep the scalp clean and avoid getting it wet.

Completed treatment by Foli Sim in Perth, Australia
Proper aftercare is crucial for maintaining your treatment long term. This is particularly important in hotter countries like Australia, where this recent Foli Sim client is from.

Moreover, activities that may cause irritation, such as swimming, saunas, and sun exposure, should be avoided for a certain period of time.

By following these aftercare guidelines, you’ll be well on your way to maintaining the beautiful, natural-looking results of your SMP treatment.

Benefits of Scalp Micropigmentation

One of the most significant benefits of SMP is its ability to provide natural-looking results that closely resemble the appearance of a shaven head.

Unlike other hair restoration treatments, SMP doesn’t damage hair follicles or impede hair growth, making it a more sustainable solution for many individuals experiencing hair loss.

The team at Klinika Mikro Hair in Warsaw, Poland
Without realizing, you probably walk past men and women every day who have SMP, perfectly illustrated by the team at Klinika Mikro Hair in Warsaw, Poland

Additionally, SMP boasts a rapid recovery period, with most individuals able to resume their regular activities within just a few days.

Furthermore, the minimal side effects associated with SMP make it an even more attractive option for those seeking an effective hair loss solution.

Overall, SMP is a game-changer in the world of hair restoration, offering a unique combination of natural-looking results, quick recovery, and minimal side effects.

Potential Risks and Side Effects

While scalp micropigmentation is generally considered safe, there are potential risks and side effects that should be taken into account before undergoing the procedure. Some individuals may experience swollen lymph nodes, redness, tenderness, scabbing, peeling, itchiness, allergic reactions, unnatural appearance, infection, loss of sensation, or a poorly mapped out hairline.

To minimize these risks, it’s essential to choose a qualified and experienced SMP specialist. By selecting a reputable practitioner, you can significantly reduce the likelihood of encountering these potential side effects and ensure the best possible outcome for your SMP treatment.

Comparing Scalp Micropigmentation to Hair Transplants

When comparing scalp micropigmentation to hair transplants, it’s important to consider the differences and weigh the pros and cons of each treatment.

Agnieszka Tarasiuk of Arwii Scalp in Kilkenny, Ireland
Scalp micropigmentation is hugely popular in Europe too. This is Agnieszka Tarasiuk of Arwii Scalp in Ireland, performing another successful SMP procedure.

SMP is an effective, easier alternative to hair transplants, providing a less invasive solution that doesn’t require surgery. However, it is important to note that SMP only serves to camouflage hair loss, rather than affecting follicles or promoting hair growth.

For those who value a more natural solution that involves actual hair growth, a hair transplant may be the preferred option. However, for individuals seeking a less invasive and more comfortable procedure with minimal side effects, SMP may prove to be the better choice.

Choosing the Right Scalp Micropigmentation Specialist

Selecting the right SMP specialist is crucial for achieving desirable outcomes and minimizing potential risks and side effects.

Freddy and Alejandra Fajardo of On Point SMP
Almost every major city now has at least one scalp micropigmentation clinic. This is Freddy and Alejandra Fajardo of On Point SMP, located in Bellflower, Los Angeles County

When choosing a practitioner, it’s essential to evaluate their expertise, qualifications, and feedback from past customers.

Don’t be afraid to ask potential specialists about their training and experience, as well as to request before-and-after photos or testimonials from previous clients.

By doing your research and selecting an experienced SMP specialist, you can ensure the best possible outcome for your treatment.

Longevity and Touch-Ups

Scalp micropigmentation typically lasts for a minimum of 4 years due to the use of permanent cosmetic pigments, although touch-ups may be necessary every 3-6 years.

Over time, the pigments may gradually diminish, requiring occasional touch-ups to maintain the desired appearance of thick hair.

Blending SMP into the sides of the head
Achieving a seamless blend from the area treated with SMP, into the remaining natural hair, is key to a great result. Here, Damon Lomax of Pacific North West SMP blends his clients treatment flawlessly.

It’s important to work with your SMP specialist to schedule periodic touch-ups and ensure the best possible results. By following your practitioner’s recommendations and maintaining a proper aftercare routine, you can enjoy the long-lasting benefits of scalp micropigmentation.


Scalp micropigmentation has emerged as a revolutionary hair loss solution, offering natural-looking results with minimal side effects.

Ideal for individuals with thinning hair, balding, or long/short hair, SMP provides a comfortable and effective alternative to more invasive hair restoration treatments.

With proper care and maintenance, SMP can last for years, providing individuals with a renewed sense of confidence and satisfaction in their appearance.

In conclusion, if you’re seeking a hair loss solution that offers natural-looking results with minimal risks, scalp micropigmentation may be the right choice for you. By choosing an experienced and qualified specialist and following the proper aftercare instructions, you can enjoy the transformative benefits of SMP and regain your confidence in your appearance.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the cost of scalp micropigmentation?

The cost of scalp micropigmentation can vary significantly depending on several factors, such as the clinic’s location, the area that needs to be treated, and the practitioner’s experience level.

Prices usually range from around $2000-$4000 in the United States, or £1200-£2200 in the United Kingdom for example. Prices around the world can vary dramatically.

Is scalp micropigmentation worth it?

Overall, scalp micropigmentation offers long-term results, with minimal maintenance and time. Its success rate is very high, and its cost, although higher than other traditional hair treatments, can be worth it if you are looking for a long-term solution to hair loss or thinning.

Therefore, in conclusion, scalp micropigmentation can be a worthy investment for those seeking an effective and lasting solution to their hair problems.

Does scalp micropigmentation look fake?

No, it does not. To ensure a natural look, technicians must use advanced techniques and precise skill to give the most realistic results possible.

However, with proper application, scalp micropigmentation looks incredibly similar to a real head of hair. With the right artist and a thorough understanding of your scalp’s unique needs, scalp micropigmentation can offer a highly convincing look.

How long does a hair tattoo last?

Scalp micropigmentation is a permanent procedure, designed to last for around four years between top-ups. Its longevity is due to the permanent cosmetic pigments used, which ensure that it doesn’t fade too fast or change color, at least not when applied properly by a skilled SMP artist.

Overall, hair tattoos can be expected to last a lifetime.

Is it a good idea to get a hair tattoo?

Overall, getting a hair tattoo is a good idea for those wanting to fill in patchy or thinning areas on their scalp. It is easy to maintain, cost-effective and gives natural looking results that last up to three years.

So if you’re in search of a hassle-free solution to deal with your hair loss, scalp micropigmentation could be worth considering.

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Two SMP rockstars, Jeff Picasso (Los Angeles, California) and Masoud Noory (Longueuil, Quebec) are at Meeting Of Minds 2023 to deliver a Masterclasss in Advanced Hairline Creation And Scar Camouflage,

It takes skill to craft the very best hairlines. This class teaches how to do exactly that, with two of the best artists in the business. Scar camouflage, too, is a skill many artists struggle with, but no successful artist can be without.

Join us for this advanced masterclass and brush up both skills with this totally unique opportunity.

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One of the world's longest tenured and most respected artists, Seif Sidky (Boca Raton, Florida), is ready to deliver an Advanced Masterclass in SMP Blending,

This skill is critical to the development of any SMP artist. Effective and seamless blending can make or break a great SMP procedure. With over 8 years as an SMP artist and advanced educator, Self is the perfect partner to teach this challenging facet of SMP.

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