This could be one of the biggest (and best) decisions of your life. So we’re here to help and reassure you every step of the way…
We’re sure you’ll have plenty of questions about how SMP® treatment could help you – maybe even a few concerns. That’s only natural. And we’ll be very happy to answer any query you may have. But take a look through this FAQ’s section of our website first. Because we’ve provided instant answers to come of the most common questions asked by our prospective, current and previous clients right here:
Q. Is SMP® suitable for all skin tones?
A. SMP is suitable for all skin tones and hair colours. SCALP clinic has over 100 pigment colours which are perfectly colour matched to each and every individual client, by doing this we can ensure a seamless blend and integration into any remaining hair. Pigment colours are selected according to the clients remaining hair and skin tone which ensures a very natural looking finished result for every client no matter what colour of hair or skin tone.
Q. What is SMP® and is it permanent?
A. SMP® stands for Scalp MicroPigmentation. It is a method of depositing pigment into the dermal layer of the skin on the scalp, which replicates hair follicles. When viewed from a few inches or further away, the pigment dots appear as hair follicles and the client has the appearance of a full head of recently shaved hair. SMP® is colour matched on a grey scale for most clients and can be used to treat clients of very pale complexion to extremely dark skin tones. Pigment changes also allow SCALP Clinic to treat clients with red hair, blonde hair or older clients who have grey or white hair. Normally, SMP® is applied over the course of two to three treatments, at one of our clinics, with each treatment lasting 15 minutes to four hours depending upon prior hair loss.
Q. Will the SMP® pigment turn blue or green and merge over time like an old tattoo?
A. In healthy individuals, we believe the chances are minimised. Any pigment applied to the dermal layer of the skin will eventually fade, but we expect SMP® to last several years or more, before even minimal fading is noticed. Fading is much more prevalent in situations where regular tattoo inks are used to try and replicate SMP®. Ultraviolet radiation from the sun often breaks apart some tattoo inks for easier absorption by the body resulting in increased fade rates and slight smearing. And, as the inks are degraded, their chromophores are often altered resulting in changed colour. Without revealing too many of our trade secrets, we feel that the particular molecular structure of the SMP® pigments we use, along with their deposition in the upper layer of the dermis provide the best chance for a long lasting and stable treatment.
Q. Couldn’t I just go to tattoo artist?
A. The majority of reputable tattoo artists possess a great deal of artistic talent, however the discipline required for an effective SMP® treatment are entirely different. There are a number of crucial aspects to this treatment that a tattoo artist will not be familiar with, therefore they would be unable to replicate what we do without considerable training. In addition the pigments, needles, the machines we use and the process itself are entirely different.
Q. How painful is the procedure?
A. On a pain scale from 1 to 10, with a one representing a minor scratch to ten representing something like a kidney stone or a major burn, most clients rate a SMP® treatment overall as a three to five. Some clients have actually fallen asleep on us, but in most cases, the treatments are fairly mild. The most painful areas in general to treat are the areas right above the ears and skin over the temple nerves. The least painful areas to treat are the apex of the scalp and the back crown.
Q. After a procedure can I return to work? Travel? Drive?
A. Yes. With the exception of some redness and bruising, there are no known side effects to SMP®. You should however consider leaving 2-3 days between your SMP® session and returning to any situation that you would want to look your best, as it can take a few days for the pigments to settle and any redness to subside.
Q. How real will the Scalp Micro-Pigmentation (SMP®) look?
A. A typical scalp hair from a normal caucasian male is about 77 micrometers in diameter (67 Um in those of Asian descent, and 120 Um in those of African descent). Typically, SMP® dots placed in the dermis are 90 to 150 micrometers in diameter. This might seem a bit larger than a real human hair, but when viewed from six inches or further away, the size is indistinguishable from real hair follicles. Often, even close family members standing one foot away (0.3 meters) cannot tell where your real hair ends and the SMP® begins.
Q. In terms of hairline style, what are my options?
A. This is an important decision, however there are a multitude of options available to you. Ultimately this would be dictated to a certain extent by whether you wanted a 100% natural appearance, or if you wanted to opt for a more daring, chiselled hairstyle. We would always advise our clients to follow their natural hairline and to choose an age-appropriate appearance, however each hairline is as individual as the client who chooses it.
Q. How long will my SMP® last?
A. With proper care and treatment, including using high sunscreen when outside, SMP® will commonly last for many years. In a healthy client with a normal immune system, we expect that a full series of SMP® treatments will last eight to fifteen years before needing a touch-up. In certain clients who have strong immune systems or who work in outside sun constantly, the treatment may need to be touched up sooner. Because every individual is unique this is not a question that has a definitive answer. Fortunately, if a touch-up is needed, a fee is charged equivalent to our standard hourly rate, and represents only a small percentage of your initial treatment cost.
Q. What if my hair goes grey / white?
A. Actually, this makes very little difference to the shade of your shaven hair follicles. A great many of our clients have gone grey after their treatment, or are in the process of going grey when they have their treatment applied. After more than 10,000 successful treatments we are yet to hear from a client who has experienced an issue, as although the change is very apparent in men with longer hair, shaven follicles look almost identical, even after greying.
Q. What if I want to change my look or even reverse the process?
A. SMP® pigmentation can be removed with an electro-optic Q switched laser, which is used to heat and break-up the SMP® pigmentation for easier absorption by phagocytes in the dermis. SMP is fairly easy to remove in most cases because the pigment is not deposited as deeply as normal tattoo ink. The electro-optic laser however, is very expensive and therefore, many clinics which advertise laser removal do not actually own one. SCALP Clinic does offer removal of SMP® at one of our clinics and may expand this option in future years. We can say that with the feedback received so far, the amount of clients wishing for true SMP® reversal or total removal is less than one percent (< 1%).
Q. Can SMP® be used to conceal hair transplant scars?
A. Yes. To date we have treated several thousand men who wished to camouflage their linear (strip) or pitted (FUE or plug) transplant scars. Every scar is unique, and we quote a camouflage estimate as a percentage on a case by case basis. We have achieved some awe-inspiring results in this area, making some very large and visible scars almost indiscernible. Please contact us so we can assess your scar fully and provide a camouflage estimation.
Q. Can SMP be used to hide alopecia?
A. Yes. A significant proportion of our clients suffer with alopecia in one of its many forms, most commonly alopecia areata and alopecia totalis. We are also able to camouflage baldness caused by traction alopecia, scarring alopecia and alopecia barbae.
Q. Can I meet one of your clients?
A. Yes, we encourage it! Understandably, many clients cannot make a decision based upon photo evidence alone, and for them, they need to see SMP® up close and in person. That is why we encourage any potential client to drop by on of our clinics if they have the opportunity.