Scalp micropigmentation is a preferred hair loss treatment because it is a non-surgical procedure with almost immediate results. Questions as to how long it lasts elicit confusing answers. Some professionals describe it as a permanent treatment while others refer to it as a semi-permanent solution.
So which is it? Is it permanent or semi-permanent?
A close look at how it works makes both descriptions correct. It is semi-permanent in that the dark, characteristic color on a freshly pigmented scalp does begin to fade after a while. Permanent because even with significant fading, the effects of this pigmentation may never disappear completely.
Here is a look at what a few industry experts have to say about how long scalp micropigmentation treatment lasts; and why it fades faster in some men than others.
How Long Does Scalp Micropigmentation Last?
Specialists give varying time-frames after which you are likely to notice fading.
DotMicro which is an award-winning, Hollywood-based SMP company puts it at between 3 and 5 years. That is as long as the scalp is correctly cared for.
Zang SMP is a state-of-the-art clinic with locations in more than 10 American cities including New York, Miami, and San Francisco. They say it is normal to notice lightning 6 to 7 years after a complete SMP job.
Chronic Ink, a Canadian company with Studios in Toronto and Vancouver, says properly done scalp micropigmentation could start lightening anywhere between 3 and 7 years after the treatment.
With such a wide range in time, you are probably wondering what would make one man’s scalp pigmentation last longer than the other.
Here are a few factors which could cause variations in duration even when the SMP job was done at the same facility, by the same practitioner.
Factors Which Affect How Long SMP Treatment Lasts
Prolonged exposure to direct sunlight is at the top of the list of no-nos for men who have had scalp micropigmentation treatment because it causes faster fading.
Like tattoo ink, SMP ink is held in the second layer of the skin, also known as the dermis. This layer is easily penetrated by the sun’s UVA rays. When you are continuously exposed to direct sunlight, the ink gradually breaks down and is eliminated by the white blood cells as if it were a harmful foreign particle. Naturally, the ink left is lighter than before.
When you expect to be exposed to direct sun for more than a few minutes, it is best to arm yourself with sunscreen or a protective covering like a hat.
Exfoliation is a term generally associated with facial skincare. It refers to the process of removing dead cells from the skin’s surface and is recommended for vibrant healthy-looking skin. In the SMP context, men are advised to avoid scalp exfoliation to prevent premature fading. According to Allure, whether exfoliation causes lightening of the pigment comes down to timing.
In the first few months after SMP treatment, the ink is located in the epidermis and superficial dermis. At this point, exfoliation can cause the lightening of pigments. After a few months and complete healing, the ink is located deeper, at the upper dermis. Here it is unlikely to be affected by any exfoliation processes, whether physical ones using scrubs or chemical exfoliation using skincare products.
Pigmentation and needle size
Pigment hues, based on the Fitzpatrick scale, are selected depending on an individual’s skin color. Some people require very dark pigment and larger dots. Others request for the smallest dots possible and have very light skin, therefore, necessitating lighter pigment.
Combined with mentioned factors like exposure to sunlight, you can expect light hues used on small dots to fade faster than dark ones on larger dots.
Just how long your scalp micropigmentation treatment lasts depends on a variety of factors such as sun exposure, skin exfoliation, and the type of ink and needles used. It would not be a surprise for one man’s pigment to start fading earlier than another, even when their treatments were done on the same day by the same practitioner.
That said, you can expect your scalp micropigmentation to look as good as new for at least 3 years. However, even the longest-lasting treatments will require touch-ups within the first 7 years.