Discoloration is a common concern, and a primary reason why some people decide against scalp micropigmentation.
Traditional body art tattoos often turn blue or green after a few years, leading many people to ask why any scalp micropigmentation treatment, regardless of its quality, wouldn’t look the same after a period of time.
The reality is that the SMP process is very different. The vast majority of treatments, when delivered by quality technicians using the right materials, will never discolor.
Why do some treatments turn blue?
Many clinics around the world provide scalp micropigmentation treatments, and the quality of these treatments varies significantly. After a few months (or even weeks), low quality treatments that were not performed correctly, often start to turn blue. This is not a side effect, but due to technician error.
Over the last few years, a number of new providers worldwide have entered the scalp micropigmentation industry, hailing from a wide variety of backgrounds. Many were hair transplant surgeons, some were permanent makeup artists, and even tattooists and entrepreneurs from unrelated industries are now entering the market.
The scalp micropigmentation process is not as simple as you might think. It is nothing like creating a normal tattoo, and it has very little in common with permanent makeup procedures.
The equipment required for this business is specialised and the pigments are specially designed for the purpose. The skills required are not obtainable in their entirety from any other discipline, and must be learned through specialist training.
Many individuals, permanent makeup artists in particular, fail to acknowledge these key factors and believe instead that their prior knowledge or training is sufficient to perform scalp micropigmentation. The permanent makeup industry suffers with it’s own issues of quality and consistency, and not all technicians are prepared to spend the time and money required to get properly trained in this new area. Unfortunately a significant proportion of bad treatments are produced by permanent makeup artists who fail to educate themselves specifically in scalp micropigmentation.
Some clinics are opened by former clients of other clinics. Whilst they may have a rough idea how the process works, often they take pot shots at guessing what pigments should be used.
Is it all about the pigment?
No. Following bad treatments, many technicians are quick to blame their pigment. Whilst pigment selection is crucial, most of the issues we see relate to poor technique, not use of the wrong pigments. Oversized deposits and pigment migration are usually attributed to the pigments being placed too deeply, the classic hallmark of an inexperienced or poorly skilled technician. Even aggressive fading and discoloration can be caused by the technician, not the more obvious culprit of a ‘bad’ pigment.
Tattoo ink and makeup pigments are composed using a variety of colors that are mixed to create the desired color or shade. Following sun exposure and attempts by the immune system to disperse and reject the pigment, they separate once again into their constituent colors and can sometimes appear blue under the upper layers of skin.
The most experienced technicians know this, and use only specially designed pigments that are formulated for scalp micropigmentation. Such pigments are created using pure black compounds, and are diluted to the required shade. As there are no constituent colors other than black, a colour change to blue, green, or any other color for that matter, is extremely unlikely.
Using too much pigment can also produce a painted look, and exasperate the discoloration problem.
Use an experienced technician, or at the least, verify examples of their previous work. Remember that any discoloration can take a few weeks to develop, so insist on seeing healed results taken a month or so after the last session is completed.
SMP industry advocate. Serial entrepreneur. International speaker and educator. Former Head Of Marketing and freelance Business Consultant for several of the largest and best known SMP companies. Damien has been involved in scalp micropigmentation since the very beginning, and has a broader knowledge of the SMP industry than anyone else in the world.