What is SMP?
SMP is the acronym for Scalp Micro Pigmentation. The technique tattoos small dots or thin lines of various shades of black pigment in the upper layers of the scalp dermis. The artful placement of these micro fine dots looks like a shaved head or gives the appearance of short hair. The pigment placed as lines of different lengths between areas of hair thinning can make the area look dense and fuller. (Areas other than scalp, eyebrows, moustache, beard areas, scars)
Some of you are aware of using hair filler filaments. SMP creates the same look which is more long lasting and natural in appearance.
Difference in the technique of regular Tattoo and SMP?
Regular tattoos are placed deeper in the mid dermis. This creates higher chances of exposing them to contact with blood pigments and scavenger cells, though they are less affected by UV radiation. Interaction with blood can oxidize the pigment leading to bluish and greenish discoloration
How is SMP ink different?
The metal content in SMP pigments is extremely low, far lower than traditional tattoo inks. SMP pigments are therefore highly unlikely to cause any issues with MRI or similar scans. SMP inks are mainly black. Shades of black are created by dilution.
Duration of each treatment and number of sittings?
Depending on the expected density and the area to be covered you need two to five sittings lasting from one hour to five hours.
How long can the SMP pigment last?
Scavenger cells in the body engulf the pigment and remove it over time. Depending on the individual body response a pigmentation can be retained for 6 months to 2 years. Sometimes tattoo inks are used, which on reacting with blood, create unpleasant blue or green discolouration. It is best advisable to use temporary pigments which can be revised or replaced every 1-2 years. Tattoo inks may also break down from exposure to UV light. Placement of the pigment in deeper layers of the dermis also leads to breakdown and discoloration.
Can Pigment be removed?
None of the clinics world over have reported any request for SMP pigment removal. Technically the Q – switched tattoo removal laser can break down and remove the pigment if required.
How painful is the SMP procedure?
The temporal angles, side burns and areas along the curve of the ear are usually slightly painful. Top of the head, vertex area, crown and back of the head are least painful. Commonly patients describe a feeling of scratching on the head. It is usual for patients to fall asleep during the procedure.
What is the age limit for SMP procedure?
Scalp Micro Pigmentation is an answer to all patients who desire to try this method of scalp coverage. All genders and all age patients above the age of 18 years who can understand the details of the procedure and make a decision can choose to have the benefit of this procedure. For age younger than 18 years, the consent of the parents or guardian is necessary
Covering Hair Transplant scars with SMP
The old method of FUT Strip harvesting eventually causes gradual stretching of the scar. The thin scar which was practically hard to detect gradually becomes stretched, wide and noticeable as a hair less band running across the back of the head. Scalp Micro Pigmentation is a very good technique to blend the scar with surrounding hair and make it less conspicuous to a casual onlooker when wearing short hair.
When does the result show?
On the day of the treatment, immediately after the procedure there is redness, the pigment is not seen. By 3rd to 5th day when the skin redness is settled you can see the effect of the pigment. By 7th day you know the appearance to judge the matching of the pigment and the skin tone. Pigment may appear lighter by 10 days when the scabs fall off. You have good idea of the looks by 10th day. The pigment from upper epidermis will shed off for next few weeks and around end of 4 weeks is the time to notice the final look.
Post Care after Scalp Micro Pigmentation SMP
The area is slightly sore or sensitive immediately after the procedure. You can carry a lose fitting cap to wear on your way home.
Next 3 days:
- No water on the head, no shampoo or washing of the scalp
- No sweating, running, cardio activities, weight lifting, gym or exercise.
- You can follow routine activity and office work.