Permanence is one of the key features of scalp micropigmentation. This is important because it helps the recipient to do away with hair loss related anxiety. All he needs to do is to keep his scalp shaved, clean and moisturized, and take reasonable precautions in the sun. The bottom line is that SMP is intended as a permanent solution, not one that should be removed on a mere whim.
No-one should consider a scalp micropigmentation treatment if removal is already at the front of their mind. Having this procedure is (and should be) a life-changing experience, and approaching the process with a negative mindset from the start will only ever end up one way. I can assure you, it is the clients who are neurotic and paranoid before their procedure, who more often than not end up getting it removed. I think it’s fair to say, that’s no co-incidence.
On the other hand, there is absolutely nothing wrong with having an awareness of the removal process beforehand. We live in the real world. People change their minds, People panic. Clinics aren’t always as good as they say they are, and the human element in the equation means that every now and then, a technician will make a mistake or a client will have unrealistic expectations.
There are three reasons why you might want to remove pigment from your scalp:
- You received a bad treatment
- You changed your mind, or the reality didn’t match your expectation
- You want to change your style
Some scalp micropigmentation clinics now offer laser removal treatments in-house. Don’t expect this service as standard though. Lasers are extremely expensive to buy or rent, and require extensive training to operate proficiently. For this reason, most clinics will partner with a local specialist, or at least be able to recommend a laser removal clinic nearby.
Let’s address the three scenarios.
You received a bad treatment
This is, unfortunately, a common scenario, and the most difficult one for which to provide advice because the removal process really does depend on exactly what the scalp micropigmentation clinic did wrong in the first place.
Much of the time, the reason why your treatment went wrong is because your technician thought of the process as a regular hair tattoo, and therefore used tattoo ink on your scalp, and deposited the pigment to the same depth as a tattoo. Tell-tale signs are oversized dots, discoloration to blue or green, and a merging of individual deposits into a solid block of color.
Whereas a correctly applied scalp micropigmentation treatment can usually be removed in 1-2 sessions, tattoos often require as many as 10 removal sessions due to the penetration depth and difference in pigment. Unfortunately, the process takes months and can be quite uncomfortable. The SMP industry is full of individuals who received bad treatments, and had to endure a long and expensive removal process as a result.
You changed your mind, or had unrealistic expectations
We all have those “Oh my God” moments, where we evaluate a choice we made and convince ourselves we’ve done the wrong thing. It was a regular occurence when I managed the HIS forum. A new guy would sign up and tell everyone he was panicking and really regretted his decision, then everyone would reassure him and say it was just the ‘panic phase’. Sure enough, immediately after their second session, they’d be happy as Larry.
Sometimes though, people really struggle to adjust. Maybe they don’t like the way they look with a shaven hairstyle, or someone they know says something that makes them wish they hadn’t done it.
Of course, clients can have unrealistic expectations too. This is sometimes down to their own naiviety and only listening to what they want to hear, but quite often it’s because the technician or consultant over-sold the procedure or made promises they just couldn’t deliver. Like achieving a 95% camouflage on a scar that looks like the client has been hit over the back of their head with a chainsaw. It happens, I’ve seen it a million times.
You want to change your style
There is a lot that can happen in the years that follow your procedure. The once aggressive hairline that you chose before might not suit your lifestyle as it is now. Maybe the style you wanted wasn’t such a smart idea, or perhaps you’re just a little older now and want a more natural, receded look. Or like many clients, you want to break up your hairline a little more, and perhaps add some 3D magic at the same time.
Markings show original hairline position, and position after pigment removal
Is it easy to remove scalp micropigmentation by laser?
Yes, and no.
A scalp micropigmentation treatment, correctly applied to the right depth and using a suitable pigment, can be almost completely removed in just one laser session. A second session is usually required to complete the process entirely, especially if the area is large. Removal of a true SMP treatment bears no resemblance to removing a tattoo. It’s quick, easy and only a little uncomfortable for most people.
However, pigments deposited deeper in the skin, and the wrong type of pigments, are far harder to remove. They generally require the same process as a tattoo removal which takes more sessions, is more uncomfortable and is less likely to be 100% effective.
Case studies like these demonstrate that removal is not only possible, but also effective. Nevertheless, the decision to go under the laser requires careful consideration
Furthermore, laser removal is not something that should be taken lightly. People get burned and scarred by these machines through improper handling. This is dangerous territory, unless you’re dealing with someone who knows what they’re doing. Thankfully most laser clinics are competent and offer a highly professional service, but still, laser removal should only be resorted to if you’re absolutely sure it’s what you want to do.
Also please note that darker skinned clients are at greater risk of either hypopigmentation (skin lightening) or hyperpigmentation (skin darkening). Please see this post for more information.
Are there alternatives?
There are certain things you can do to fade your pigments slightly quicker, however laser is the only way to fade or remove pigment within an acceptable timescale.
It is important to note that not all modifications to a treatment require laser removal, far from it in fact. Most hairline and side profile adjustments, density increases, darkening and fading correction is achieved without laser removal being necessary.
If you’re really unsure about getting this done, consider waiting until you are certain. Alternatively, consider tricopigmentation, a temporary form of scalp micropigmentation that may just enable you to break into the world of SMP on a trial basis before committing to the permanent option.