Above: An African American client of Good Look Ink in Minneapolis
Baldness, be it genetic pattern hair loss or some form of alopecia, does not choose any ethnicity, race or creed. African American men can sometimes experience hair loss in a slightly different pattern, for example traction alopecia is particularly common among black men due to the popularity of tight hairstyles, however the method of camouflaging this hair loss using scalp micropigmentaton is largely the same.
For some reason, African American men are generally more likely to use scalp micropigmentation when they first notice any significant recession of their frontal hairline, whereas Caucasian men (and men of other ethnicities) tend to wait a little longer on average.
The scalp micropigmentation process is a little different in African American men, and anyone with a significantly dark skin tone. First, is in the size of the pigment deposits. Generally speaking, each dot needs to be slightly larger than that of caucasian men, because the natural hair of an African American male is thicker. Larger dots are therefore required to ensure an effective blend and natural appearance.
Next, is the style chosen. Men with darker skin tones are better suited to defined, modern styles. That’s not to say that black men can’t go for ultra-natural styles too, but African American guys are generally more likely to want a stylized appearance.
Close-up of work completed on an African American client
The shade of the pigment has to be much darker to match with darker hair colours and skin tones. This isn’t usually an issue for the technician, and in fact it actually makes their task a little easier as fading is likely to be less aggressive.
Lastly, density is also a consideration. Larger dots reduces the spacing in between, increasing the risk of the individually replicated ‘follicles’ merging into a solid smudge. Skill is required to balance the correct density with sufficient spacing to avoid this issue.
Which clinic should you choose?
One significant factor in the treatment of African American men, is the fact that the technician generally has a greater margin for error. So for example, if the pigment selection isn’t exactly right, or if the needle penetrates too deeply and creates dots that are too large, or if the pigments discolor, these imperfections are harder to spot on black skin.
Before and after – a client of HIS Hair Clinic
Unfortunately this has enabled a number of low-skilled providers to enter the market, advertising services aimed specifically at black guys. That’s not to say that clinics that market themselves in this way are all bad, in fact I know of a couple that do that offer an exceptional service, but it is definitely something to watch for.
Do your due diligence in the same way that a white, Hispanic or Asian client would. Find the best clinic that can demonstrate examples of work that are closely aligned to what you require. In other words, ask to see their portfolio of work completed on darker skinned clients, and see what impresses you.
Laser removal considerations
Hyperpigmentation may occur in men with darker skin colour, especially if the removal is not done properly using the correct equipment at the right settings. The risk is increased, even if the laser technician does everything right.
This client was treated at Vinci Hair Clinic in Lagos, Nigeria
The bottom line is that laser removal is more risky for black men than for white men. That doesn’t mean it can’t be done, and I’ve seen many successful removals on men with dark skin.
What’s the conclusion?
This article should reinforce the message that finding a technician who has specific experience in treating black men, is of the utmost importance. None of the considerations listed above need to be a problem, if the technician is properly equipped with knowledge and the right type of experience. Check what training they have had, and ask to see recent examples of their work on darker skinned clients.