Scalp micropigmentation for
hair transplant scars

Although SMP is first and foremost a solution for those who are losing (or have lost) their hair, a very popular secondary use for the technique is the camouflage or concealment of hair transplant scars.

fut scar with smp

Is this common practice?

Using adapted scalp micropigmentation techniques to hide hair transplant scars is nothing new or groundbreaking as it’s been going on for years. In fact, concealing hair transplant scars was the original purpose of SMP, first trialled by Dr. Alvaro C. Tranquina and dubbed his ‘dermal micropigmentation technique’, in the early 1990’s.

For more information, learn about the real history of SMP.

Fast forward to today, and the most common use is for the concealment of linear strip scars caused by follicular unit transplantation (FUT) surgery. Also known as the strip method, these scars are the most obvious, and are usually located at the back of the head and sometimes at the side. Some men have multiple scars, as the result of multiple procedures.

SMP is also used to hide other scar types including FUE (follicular unit extraction), head trauma scars and other surgical scars.

How common are hair transplant scars?

Scars of this kind are very common. Hair restoration surgery has been prevalent for many years, and scars are an inevitable and unavoidable byproduct of hair transplant surgery. So, scars like these are everywhere.

I was catching up on some Christmas shopping in Leeds on this week, and I found myself walking behind a man who had a very obvious linear hair transplant scar on the back of his head. His procedure obviously hadn’t been that successful because he was still very much in Norwood 7 territory.

I wondered why someone of his relatively young age didn’t just shave his hair off and get SMP? For me it’s so obvious, but perhaps he hasn’t heard of SMP or decided against it for some reason.

fue dot scars
fue scars before and after smp

How are scars concealed?

Although some people have a transplant scar treated as a standalone procedure, most clients have the rest of their head treated at the same time.

It doesn’t really matter as far as concealment of the scar is concerned, however be aware that the treatment zone needs to be a larger area than just the scar tissue, often extending 1-2 cm above and below the scar to achieve an effective blend with surrounding hair.

The treatment process varies from client to client, because scar tissue is more unpredictable than undamaged skin. Scars tend to soak up the pigment, resulting in excessive fading. It’s no problem of course, but it does mean more sessions are usually required to treat a scar versus a regular SMP treatment for male pattern baldness.

Additionally, scars carry a greater risk of unpredictable healed results. For this reason, experienced SMP artists know to be a lot more cautious when selecting pigment dilutions, needles and what pressure to apply. It is common for the first session to be treated very much as a test, with the real camouflage work starting on session two.

What level of camouflage can I expect?

Simply put, the closer the scar tissue is to surrounding skin in terms of its colour, texture and level of prominence or indentation, the better the scar will camouflage. Smaller, cleaner, tidier scars hide better too.

If your scar is still pink, it might be worthwhile waiting a little longer for it to heal before having scalp micropigmentation to cover it. If it has already been more than two years since your surgery, or if you simply cannot wait, consider Vbeam laser therapy to accelerate the colour change in the scar.

If your scar is raised versus the skin around it, consider fraxel laser therapy to flatten it.

If your scar is indented significantly, you might want to think about dermal fillers to make the scar more alike to the skin around it. Slight indentations can be helped to some extent using fraxel, but not always.

If your scar is a different texture to the surrounding skin, or if it is particularly wide, you might consider fraxel laser therapy to smooth it out.

scalp micropigmentation in a fut scar by HPC clinic