Scalp Micropigmentation Guide

Mike Kaine, MD

This text was written according to the highest scientific standards and reviewed by medical experts. Find out more about our quality assurance.

Written by Erin D. Updated on 14 Jan 2024

Hair pigmentation is an alternative to hair transplantation. It works similarly to a tattoo or permanent make-up. With this method, color pigments are inserted 0.6 to 1.2 mm under the skin to make the hair appear fuller. In contrast to hair transplantation, this will only give the illusion of fuller hair without actually treating the hair loss. How much does it cost and what are the risks? Learn everything in this guide.

What methods are there?

The following methods of scalp pigmentation are currently in use:

  • VHD (Visual Hair Densification)
  • SMP (Scalp Micro Pigmentation) – Long-term pigmentation: the result only begins to fade after three to five years
  • Point Touch Method
  • Point Line Method
  • HPP Micro Hair Pigmentation

These methods differ primarily in the durability of the pigments and the stitching technique. In the point-touch method, a point is placed under the epidermis, whereas in the point-line method a small line is placed i.e., a hair is drawn.

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Pro and Cons of hair micropigmentation

Pros Cons
The new look is immediately ready for use, there is no recovery time unlike a hair transplantation. Unlike hair transplantation, the effect is temporary. Depending on the method used, the treatment must be retouched anywhere from six months after it is done, to five years later.
No anesthesia is required as the process is more similar to getting a tattoo than having a surgical procedure done. A disadvantage is that you are very limited in your hair length and style after the pigmentation. Since the target length and the desired effect are determined during the preliminary consultation, and the color palette and intensity of pigmentation are adjusted accordingly to achieve this, it is not recommended to cut the hair shorter or let it grow longer.
Hair pigmentation is also much more affordable because of the process than the conventional hair transplantation. The pigmentation and treated skin often looks unnatural when patients vary from the original hairstyle.
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Side effects and risks

The hypoallergenic color pigments that are placed under the epidermis can be broken down by the body very easily, so side effects are not to be expected. The most common side effects are short-term swelling or minor scab formation.

Nevertheless, direct UV radiation should be avoided for about two weeks after such a cosmetic procedure. It is recommended that patients wear a hat or at least apply sufficient sunscreen if you stay outside for a long period of time. Sweating should be avoided if possible. In order not to irritate the scalp unnecessarily, hair care and styling products should also be avoided for five days.

Most common prescribed hair loss treatments

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There are many providers for hair pigmentation. In our cost study, we found that the treatment costs and quality can vary considerably by provider. Therefore, it is important to properly inform yourself. Our experts will be happy to help you and supply you with information about the prices of various tested providers: Get advice now

For whom is hair pigmentation suitable?

Hair pigmentation is ideal for short hairstyles with light hair and advanced hair loss cases. In addition, scalp micropigmentation is in most cases only recommended for male pattern baldness. The less dense or bald areas are filled, so the hair appears thicker. The result of hair pigmentation is different from a conventional tattoo or permanent make-up, it has a very natural appearance and does not look like it has been painted on.

The hair pigmentation is particularly suitable for creating a denser appearance in thinning areas on the crown or top of the head. Hair pigmentation is rather unsuitable for filling up the receding hairline as it is difficult to create a natural appearance. According to the norwood scale a hair pigmentation is thus more suitable for advanced hair loss degrees to increase the density.

Hair pigmentation is unsuitable if you have bald spots with long hair. Since there is only an illusion of fuller hair, and the pigmented areas remain bald, the pigmentation would stand out and appear quite unnatural. Hair pigmentation can still be useful for long hair, if you only want to achieve an improvement in the visual density of the existing hair. Whether the method is suitable for you, must ultimately be clarified individually in a consultation prior to the hair loss treatment.

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Costs of hair pigmentation

Depending on the extent of the desired treatment, hair pigmentation costs between 1,200 and 6,000 USD can be expected. If a visual reduction or covering of a bald spot is desired, there will be less effort and a lower price than for a treatment of the entire scalp.

Time also plays a role, as some of the methods take more time than others which will drive up the cost. Nevertheless, this method is generally cheaper than hair transplantation.

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Procedure of hair pigmentation

Although hair pigmentation is not a surgical procedure, a preliminary consultation is necessary. Depending on the facility, sending photos for evaluation is sufficient, and consultation via Skype may also be possible. During this preliminary discussion, the trained specialist looks at the density of the hair and asks what length the patient would like their hair to be. Depending on the desired goal, a treatment plan is drawn up and an appointment is made. In order to achieve the most natural result possible, between three and four treatment sessions are usually scheduled.

Before the first appointment, preferably one day before, the patient should have their hair trimmed to the length and style they desire. This ensures that a natural look that matches the hairstyle is created.

If there is a skin irritation, sore or a similar affliction on the scalp, the appointment should be postponed. Although this non-invasive procedure is carried out with meticulous attention to hygiene standards, infections cannot be ruled out. It is important for the patient’s safety they do not have this treatment performed on skin that is not healthy and intact.

At the first appointment, a color test is made to determine the color palette of the pigments that will be placed under the skin. Unlike a tattoo, little to no pain is expected. Depending on the sensitivity to pain, however, the scalp can be numbed with an ointment, so pain can be completely avoided using this method. The goals set at the preliminary consultation are implemented in an average of three to four sessions, usually done in intervals of four to six weeks. After the two to four-hour treatment, the patient is immediately ready to carry on about their day with an improved sense of self-esteem.

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Hair pigmentation after hair transplantation

One treatment does not exclude the other, they can complement each other very well. A scar that may have arisen from a hair transplant can be made almost invisible, by visually extending the hairline over the transplanted area using hair pigmentation. A hair pigmentation treatment can thus create an even more natural appearance following a previous hair transplantation. The pigmentation is often combined with fixing the botched hair transplant.

An alternative to scalp micropigmentation can be medical proven hair loss medication such as minoxidil or finasteride.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does hair pigmentation cost?

How long does hair pigmentation last?

What is hair pigmentation?



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