How Scalp Micropigmentation Can Help If Your Hair Is Thinning

Hair thinning can be distressing, and sometimes, it has nothing to do with your diet or beauty routine. This problem is often due to stress, eczema, psoriasis, medication, or genetics, notes Harvard Medical School. Depending on its cause, you may or may not be able to prevent it.

With proper treatment, your hair may grow back and get thicker, but it takes time. Meanwhile, you could try scalp micropigmentation (SMP) to create the illusion of thicker hair. This procedure serves a similar purpose as hairline microblading, but the results are longer lasting. The latter uses semi-permanent ink, and the color fades within six to 18 months. Micropigmentation, on the other hand, uses permanent cosmetic ink, which retains its color for at least four years, per the Cleveland Clinic.

This non-invasive procedure won't make your hair thicker or stronger but can help cover bald spots, scars, or birthmarks. Plus, it requires no downtime and has immediate results. 

Scalp micropigmentation, a cosmetic solution to thinning hair

The market is flooded with shampoos, conditioners, and serums designed to stop hair loss. These products are more or less effective, depending on what's causing the problem. "Shampoo has a very short period of contact with the scalp and the hair follicle," hair disorder expert Dr. Antonella Tosti told Lindsey Medical. "Therefore, it just doesn't have enough time to stimulate hair growth or prevent hair loss," she added.

Prescription drugs appear to be more effective, but their side effects often outweigh the benefits. Even if you find the right treatment, it can take weeks or months to get noticeable results. Scalp micropigmentation (SMP), on the other hand, can temporarily cover the problem areas with a tattoo that replicates the look of your hair follicles. The treatment is usually available at SMP clinics and causes minimal pain. First, you'll discuss your needs with a specialist. After that, they'll create a blueprint for your hairline, assess the problem area, and choose the right pigments. The procedure doesn't require anesthesia, but your technician may use a numbing cream to ease the pain and discomfort. A typical session takes up to three hours, and you'll have to return for a second treatment after 10 to 14 days. 

Are there any drawbacks?

Scalp micropigmentation is generally safe, but just like tattooing, it carries a risk of infection or allergic reactions. For example, it's possible to contract the herpes simplex virus, human papillomavirus, or hepatitis through contaminated needles, per a 2021 study published in Clinical, Cosmetic, and Investigational Dermatology. 

Some side effects are immediate and should go away within a few days (via PMUHub). These include localized inflammation, redness, scabbing, or mild bleeding. Plus, your scalp may have uneven coloration after the first session, which requires additional touch-ups. The treatment area will be more sensitive than usual, so you should steer clear of shampoos, hair styling products, and fragranced soaps for a couple of days. Also, it's recommended to avoid ultraviolet radiation and any activities that may cause sweating.

As far as pricing goes, expect to pay anywhere between $950 and $7,000, depending on the provider's experience, practice location, and other factors. The average cost is around $3,400, and the results can last for years. By comparison, hair transplant surgery costs around $8,700 to $25,000 and carries significantly more risks. All in all, scalp micropigmentation is safe, convenient, and low maintenance, but it won't address the root cause of thinning hair. However, you may use it alongside traditional hair loss treatments, such as oral or topical drugs.