A few years ago I joked that I was going to have some hair tattooed onto my head – but little did I know that a tattoo, known as Scalp MicroPigmentation, specially created for use on the scalp would become the most viable solution for male pattern baldness.
Scalp MicroPigmentation or SMP consists of having your scalp tattooed with tiny dots that resemble the appearance of stubble, which gives you the appearance of having a shaved head. Unlike a hair transplant, there’s no invasive surgery, no scarring and no down time.
Although SMP is a tattoo, I chose to visit Skalp in Manchester; which is not your normal tattoo parlour – don’t expect the person sat next to you to be having “love” and “hate” tattooed on his knuckles. In fact, at Skalp there won’t be anybody sat next to you as the treatments are conducted in strict privacy.
I started to lose my hair in my early twenties and was bald by my mid twenties. Losing my hair was not something that really bothered me – but I always hated how tall my head seemed; my forehead just seemed to go on and on!
The media was always promising that a miracle baldness cure would be available within the near future – but after 10 years these cures have never materialised. The only hair loss solutions I was aware of were a hair transplant, a wig, a hair system (a glued on wig), a Bobby Charlton style comb over or a really nice hat.
When I heard about what Skalp were offering I was very interested – but also very skeptical. The thought of tattooing stubble onto my head raised so many questions: what would all my friends and co-workers think? What if it turned green the first time I went out in the sun? What if it wasn’t convincing?
Before meeting with Skalp I’d met with another SMP clinic based in Manchester, England. I was immediately put off by their facilities. The treatments were undertaken in a row of small booths with just a divider separating each client.
Fortunately I didn’t give up on SMP and I met with Damon at Skalp’s Manchester clinic and we talked through all my concerns and expectations. Damon had already had the SMP treatment and I was very impressed. Despite my best efforts, I couldn’t tell where his treatment finished and where his own hair began.
I agreed to go ahead with the treatment and a week later I was back at Skalp’s Manchester clinic for the first of 3 treatments.
With my favourite Fleetwood Mac album playing in the background, Damon started on my first treatment. I’d never had a tattoo before so I didn’t really know what to expect. Damon said the pain would be about 5 out of 10, with 10 being very painful. I personally didn’t find the first treatment painful at all.
The first treatment is just the foundation. Damon was very honest about what I should expect at this stage. The first layer of tiny dots spanned the entirety of my bald area and the hairline was apparent, although the dots weren’t yet dense enough to be convincing. Damon didn’t cover a small scar at the front of my scalp, which is a level of detail that makes the treatment even more convincing.
Damon went through the do’s and don’ts of what to do between appointments. This included no sweating, no direct sunlight and no showering the head for 4 days. For me, an avid gym enthusiast, not working out for 4 days was the worst part – but it was all for the greater good!
A week later I was back for the second treatment. This provided the next layer of the tiny dots. The pain was comparable to the first treatment. The second treatment fortified the work done in the first session and the treatment was now really taking shape.
The third session added another layer of tiny dots. Damon focused on any patchy areas from the previous sessions and merging the treatment in with my existing hair. I found the pain in the third treatment the most, particularly on the sides of the head – although it was bearable. After 3 hours the treatment was now finished.
There are certain rules to help make the treatment last. This includes using sunblock when going out in sun and keeping the scalp regularly moisturised. Skalp stand by their work and the treatment comes with a 12 month guarantee just in case any part of the treatment fades. This is unlikely but it offers peace of mind.
For guys like me who already shave their head or have gotten used to having closely cropped hair, Skalp provide an immediate, cost effective and perfect solution to hairloss backed up by great staff, a great approach and a great after sales service. Scalp MicroPigmentation is a great solution to hair loss and male pattern baldness.
If you have any questions, please ask them in the comments box below.
*The photography featured in this article covers treatment one (first photograph) and treatment three (second two photographs). We will follow up with more images in the coming weeks, to depict how the treatment has ‘settled’.
Treatment cost depends on the level of pigmentation required but as a guide 3 treatments for a Norwood scale level 3-4 pattern balding will cost around £2000 and full coverage of a completely bald head will cost £3000.