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Everything you need to know about SMP

This is a confusing question for some, as Tricopigmentation providers will have you believe there is a different technique, needle, or other major differentiator. The hard truth is, the only difference is the ink or pigment being used. That is all. Don’t be confused by other explanations.

Tricopigmentation is applied with temporary pigments, lasting 12-24 months. Scalp Micropigmentation is applied with permanent pigments that can last for a few years and up to or longer than a decade.

A healthy scalp needs to managed everyday. As there are many different occurrences and solutions that will cause and/or prevent dry skin and other scalp conditions, management needs to be addressed according to an individuals situation. The best solution is to check with a dermatologist to keep health of skin optimal and free of dryness. For some this could be moisturizing the scalp often, some may need to exfoliate often, while others will simply need only to avoid excessive sun exposure.

SMP is essentially a specialized tattoo. Therefore, aftercare guidelines are very similar. A fundamental difference between the SMP and a conventional tattoo is the depth of insertion with a needle. SMP requires a more shallow approach, which results in a less invasive method of application, and also a faster healing time.

When breaking skin and potentially drawing blood (bleeding does not always occur, but small amounts of bleeding can occur depending on the patient) one must protect the treated area appropriately to avoid infection and to insure the SMP cures properly.

Here are immediate aftercare guidelines that must be followed:

Avoid sun exposure. This is mandatory for at least one week post treatment. Ink is still “wet” under the skin for up to one week post treatment, and needs ample time to dry or cure.

After one week and for the life of SMP you still want to avoid excessive sun exposure. Excessive sun exposure, especially a sun burn, can and will fade SMP treatment prematurely. The severity will vary for each person and intensity of sun damage.

Avoid soaking head in water for 2-4 weeks post treatment. This applies to a pool, bath, hot tub, ocean, etc. This is the longest restriction for anyone getting SMP. The SMP application is superficial. Soaking a freshly applied SMP treated head can ruin the results severely. The potential result from soaking SMP is a merging of all of the applied dots together that will form one big puddle of pigment.

No sweating profusely for one week post treatment. Sweating can open pores on the scalp which will hinder results of SMP by merging all dots together to make a puddle or “solid fill” effect. Sanitation is also an issue with sweating after treatment as the treated area should be treated like a cut or stitches on the scalp. A wound needs to stay clean to heal properly.

Depending on health of skin, ointment should be applied. If a patient has oily skin, ointment should be avoided to prevent over saturation. If ointment is applied to oily skin, results can be altered drastically by ink merging together. The ink needs time to dry, and an overly saturated scalp will not allow that curing process to occur.
If skin is normal or dry, ointment should be applied accordingly. If a patient has dry skin, that should be addressed both before and after treatment as dry skin is the most damaging condition for SMP.

You may wear a hat as long as the hat is clean and loose fitting. Please note, you cannot wear a hat for long periods of time as this will suffocate the scalp. You want your scalp to breathe and allow your immune system to heal the treated area naturally.

You can wash your scalp the next day with a gentle soap. Some providers suggest not washing for up to 3 days post treatment. Although this will not hinder results necessarily, it is excessive and sanitation becomes a risk. After washing, be sure to gently dry (pat dry with a clean towel) to avoid scratching or irritating the infected area.

Let me first state that different providers use different inks and have different levels of experience, which certainly dictates how long a treatment will last along with many other factors, including the health of an individuals scalp.

For all intent and purposes, lets assume a particular patient has healthy skin and has treatment applied by an experienced practitioner. With that situation, most patient’s can expect SMP treatment to last for 5-10+ years before needing a touch up. Others may need a touch up every year. This especially applies to an individual with high blood pressure, dry skin issues, or caring left from a hair transplant or other trauma.

The important variables that go in to answering how long SMP will last include: the health of the scalp (which is mostly in control of the patient), and the experience of the practitioner, which includes using a quality ink and understanding of proper placement of ink in the scalp.

IS IT EASY TO GET A TOUCH UP?
So now lets assume its been 5 years since your treatment and fading is starting to occur. A simple touch up should be a fraction of the cost for the original treatment and should require only a few hours of work, just one session. A touch up is generally easier to apply compared to a new treatment.

HOW DOES THE TOUCH UP DIFFER FROM A NEW TREATMENT?
A common question regarding touch ups is “are you going to create new dots, or simply enhance the faded dots. The answer is, it depends on the situation. Once again, all roads lead to an experience and skilled artist. A good artist will decipher when new dots are to be applied, and when faded dots simply need enhancement.

HOW DO I KNOW WHEN I NEED A TOUCH UP?
I first want to point out that touch ups are easier to complete for both the provider and consumer.
The necessity for a touch up certainly depends on the patient. Some people are inclined to see a little light spot as a need for a touch up, while others may only desire a touch up once balding becomes apparent once again. Some will continue to lose more hair though the years and that will cause the necessity for a touch up. The point is, a touchup will eventually be desired, but most touchups are personal preference and should be discussed with your provider.

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