Scalp micropigmentation aftercare guidelines

scalp micropigmentation aftercare

After each scalp micropigmentation session is over, no doubt you’ll want to get back to your usual routine. Clinics receive a lot of questions regarding aftercare, as do we, and most of these questions are about instructions and limitations for the days following each session.

We have compiled a list of the most important considerations after your treatment. The aim is to avoid disturbing your new pigment deposits, and of course you should do all you can to avoid any interference with the healing process.

DISCLAIMER: Remember that guidelines tend to vary from clinic to clinic, as since SMP was first introduced, there has been much debate about standardization of guidelines. Some of the timescales and actions recommended may not correlate exactly with the information in this post, and you should never invalidate any warranty or guarantee by not following the explicit instructions provided by your clinic.

This advice was originally published in 2014, and updated on June 16th 2016.

Day 1-3

  • First of all, relax. You’ve probably been building up to your first session, and pre-treatment anxiety is common. Now is the perfect time to take a deep breath.
  • You should try to avoid any physical effort which might make you sweat. Don’t wash your head or get water on it. The desire to wash your scalp may be strong, but for the first three days you should resist the temptation.

Day 4-6

  • You can consider shaving your head at this point. Use an electric foil shaver as these are less likely to disturb your pigments. However, keep the shaver away from scabs that are still present on your head and don’t try to peel them away.
  • Now is also a good time to get some water on your head. A light shower will do the trick, but avoid shampoo.
  • You can also moisture your head and you can perform activities from which you sweat lightly. Lift some weights at a low pace but avoid tough cardio sessions.

Day 7 onwards

  • At this point, you can resume your showering sessions and get back to your usual schedule. There won’t be any issues with the water or with the shampoo when you wash your scalp.
  • This is the time when you might consider using a razor blade to shave your head. However, avoid using it if there are still healing scabs on the skin.
  • If you’re itching to get back to the gym, you can now get back to your usual routine and sweat as much as you’d like.

Day 30 (after all sessions are complete)

  • Fake tan, saunas and swimming pools are fine from here on.
  • If you live in a warm, sunny climate, take adequate precautions. A quality non-greasy sunscreen is best.
  • Moisturize daily with a light moisturizing cream.
  • Although not compulsory, I recommending taking measures to avoid head shine.

26 thoughts on “Scalp micropigmentation aftercare guidelines

  1. Bart says:

    Hi just a quick question. After a first round of smp considering ill need 3 sessions how much of a time frame (minimal) can i have in between sessions. Ive read a person can have two days in between sessions? Is this correct? I look forward to your reply. Thanks in advance 🙂

    • Damien says:

      Hello, the optimal time between sessions is 7 days. The absolute minimum is 5 days, and that’s pushing it. The scalp needs time to heal so your technician can properly assess what is needed during your subsequent sessions

  2. Bart says:

    Thanks Damien, your knowledge is very valuable.
    Also,after a first procedure of smp my provider said they will give me a shampoo and im to wash my hair with it the day after my procedure and then apply their serum. Im concerned about washing my hair with their shampoo the day after the first session. Does this make sense as other providers say not to wet/wash hair for a week after a session of smp. Will washing the hair with their shampoo the day after affect the ink? Thanks in advance.

  3. Bart says:

    Hi Damien,
    I had my first session of smp. My head looks uneven,unblended,blotchy,theres dark and light areas and my crown,temple and other areas look thin still and no different. Im concerned or is this normal until the excess ink and small scabs disappear?

    • Damien says:

      Hi Bart

      Which clinic have you chosen for your procedure? Let me know, as I may be familiar with their specific process. Poor blending is normal at this stage, but I really need to see a photograph to answer your question.

      Washing the head with shampoo the day after your procedure doesn’t sound right. Again, let me know who your technician is and I’ll do my best to advise.

      • Bart says:

        Hi Damien,

        I had my first session of my smp procedure done by the face and hair clinic based in Melbourne, Australia. They do the temporary (trichopigmentation) method. My technicians name is Pam Tavenor.
        My reason for getting smp is to thicken my thinning hair or give the illusion of this as I have diffuse thinning but I still have a good head of hair so I basically want camouflage.
        Pam said she was trained by someone by the name of milena or milani or something like that in Italy.
        Their after treatment care sheet says that the day after the treatment for 7 days to clean the treated area with the shampoo provided which I was given along with some serum which I’m to apply morning and evening for 7 days. I feel after my first treatment I see no difference whatsoever to my head. I cant even see the dots which were put onto my scalp. Is it normal not to be able to see the dots or should I be able to see them?
        I’m more than happy to send you photos of my hair before and after my first treatment.
        If you let me know where to send the photos to I’m happy to do so.
        Thanks in advance Damien. I await your reply.


        • Damien says:

          Hi Bart, your explanation changes things. Tricopigmentation is a different process entirely, and washing your head the day after your first session is commonplace. It is also common to see very little of your treatment after just one session. The pigment is deposited so superficially, often it just fades out straight away. That’s why 2-3 sessions are needed to produce the desired result.

          Watch this video and see how light the pigments are when they’re wiped away:

  4. Bart says:

    Hi Damien. Thanks for your reply. As mentioned im getting tricopigmentation done. Im not bald, still have a half decent head of hair. Ive been told that it would disguise my thinning areas well where scalp is showing. Ive also been told that i shouldnt go too dark with the pigment as it may look odd. My concern is i have dark hair. If i dont get smp done the same darkness as my hair wont it be defeating the whole purpose of having it done as it is too hide/camouflage the scalp/thinning areas. If i dont achieve the same darkness it wont be efficient camouflage and the scalp will still show wont it? I value your opinion immensely. The whole smp thing is starting to confuse me.

  5. bryan james says:

    i have a specialized hair care routine because I have very fine thinning hair. i like to wash my hair with Apple Cider Vinegar as i don’t use shampoo. Will Apple cider fade the pigments?

  6. Calvin says:

    After doing more research I think I have made a mistake with aftercare. I washed my scalp with baby shampoo and cool water the same day I received my SMP and once every night thereafter. My question is how will that effect the look of my SMP. I’ve seen conflicting info. online as to how to properly aftercare..

    • Damien Porter says:

      There are no fixed aftercare guidelines, as they vary from clinic to clinic. Bear in mind that there is no central research point in this industry, so clinics either make their own recommendations or recycle the aftercare advice that other clinics are using.

      If it is any reassurance, whilst I do not believe washing the scalp so early is the best approach, I have never heard of any serious problems that arose as a result of washing early. I would however advise you to ensure the scabs are left intact. When they fall away through healing, they will take pigment with them. This is normal, and I would advise against interfering with this process.

    • Shareef says:

      Hi Damien, on day 4 after third SMP session I shaved my head using hair clipper (no guard) and rinsed my scalp with cold water afterwards. Is it too early to do so? As I’m concerned maybe it will effect the pigments or overall healing process? Thanks

  7. ARIYA SALIM JAM says:

    I have just had micropigmentation a few days ago . Right now it looks blotchy and stained , i have been told have to wait for a couple weeks to see how well it looks and it has to heal. Does not look right to me .

  8. Md says:

    Hi Damian
    I have had two sessions and all seems OK but my shaved head is a bit white. Do you any thoughts on the best way to get a light tan safely? Sunscreen and 30 minutes a day in the sun? Sunscreen? Thanks for all you knowledge.

    • Damien Porter says:

      Hi, this is a common issue.

      You should be safe, however you choose to get a tan. The bottom line is that UV light will fade your treatment, but only very slowly and you’ll need top-ups every 3-5 years anyway. My advice is to live your life without worrying too much about the sun. Just remember to take sensible precautions with a low SPF sunscreen, and avoid any attempt to catch a tan for the first 3-4 weeks after your last session.

  9. Sylvana says:

    Dear Damien,

    I am after my second session of tricopigmentation. I am a female with long hair with thinning areas where my scalp is visible. I am a little concerned since after my second session, i feel that not even a quarter of the job is done. Also, the dots are really visible and my scalp is still completely visible everywhere. He has informed me that he is taking it slow and that I should comment after the procedure is finished. I am worried that i’m throwing money down the drain. First session took an hour and second session 45 minutes. I’m back for a third session next week. Is this a normal procedure?

    • John says:

      My smp technician has me moisturizer my head everyday after each session. Is this correct? 3rd session didn’t take very well. He said my head. Was like a sponge? What should I do ? All another sites say no moisturizer for 4days. Need you help

  10. Yves says:

    Hello,I’ve done my second session,can I apply a gently water on my scalp after 24 hours as is itchy?
    Haw can I clean my head?

    • Damien Porter says:

      Yes you can, as long as your procedure is fully healed. Wait at least a month after your final procedure before dying your hair. Make sure you’re not invalidating any guarantee from your provider

  11. Kaydee says:

    Hi Damien,
    I had my second session of smp done and it looks really dark compared to the rest of my scalp. Its just day 1 of the session.
    Please what can I do to lighten it. Also, do you think washing it with water can help with this.
    Thank you

  12. sam says:

    Hello Damien,
    I have long hair, My smp technician has me moisturizer my head everyday after first session. Is this correct? All another sites say no moisturizer for 4days. Need you help!!

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