Scalp Micropigmentation vs Hair Transplant Which is the right option for you

Scalp Micropigmentation vs Hair Transplant: Which Is the Right Option for You?

You have been trying to push it to the back of your mind but yes, you are losing hair. You have now got to the point where you realize that hair loss cannot be wished away. You have to do something about it. 

A quick online search bombards you with a myriad of solutions ranging from so-called miracle-working drugs to shampoos and surgery.

Scalp micropigmentation and hair transplant surgery are two common solutions that have proven effective for thousands of distressed balding men. Which of the two would be best for you?

Here are key factors to consider when choosing between scalp micropigmentation and hair transplantation.

Understanding the process

Before we delve into the pros and cons analysis of the two methods of hair restoration, let’s take a minute to make sure we are clear about what each process entails.

Scalp micropigmentation is a non-surgical method where tiny dots of pigment are deposited under the scalp skin using a specialized micro-needle. These create the illusion of hair as the tiny dots appear like freshly barbered stubble. 

Hair transplantation is a surgical process. Hair follicles are harvested from a donor site, usually at the back of the head, and planted onto the balding or thinning area, which is often the top of the head.


Both scalp micropigmentation and hair transplantation are considered cosmetic procedures which are typically not covered under general insurance plans. Whichever one you choose, you will most likely have to pay for it out of pocket. 

Just how deep you will have to dig into your pocket is a key factor to consider when choosing a hair restoration procedure. 

In the U.S for instance, SMP treatment costs anywhere between $1,800 and $3,200. Hair transplant surgery, on the other hand, will set you back between $3,000 and $15,000

Wide variations

Costs vary depending on where you are. SMP prices are highest in major cities like New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Miami. Highly reputed SMP technicians in high-end facilities cost more than budding technicians. 

The same goes for hair transplants. Top hair transplant surgeons charge more than young professionals. In regard to location, you could choose to travel abroad for transplant surgery and make significant savings. Many men travel to Istanbul, Turkey which has made a name as the hair transplant capital of the world

Wherever you choose to have your procedure done, the bottom line is that SMP treatment is much cheaper than transplant surgery. If you are working on a tight budget, scalp micropigmentation is a better option.

Availability of donor hair

Some men are considered unsuitable candidates for hair transplant surgery because they lack sufficient donor hair at the back of the head which can be harvested and planted on to balding areas. 

If one is completely bald, scalp micropigmentation would be the only option. If you have minimal donor hair you can consider hair transplantation but would have to go back for subsequent surgeries. Keep in mind that every time donor hair is harvested it leaves a transplant scar. 

In some instances, a man may have a sufficient number of donor hair follicles at the back of the head but specialists find that they are not healthy enough to be harvested and transplanted, therefore minimizing the chances of successful hair regrowth. 


As mentioned hair transplantation is a surgical procedure. Some men opt for scalp micropigmentation over transplant surgery due to an irrational fear of surgeries. The thought of a scalpel cutting through their flesh is simply unbearable. 

For some it makes little sense to endure it all… anesthesia, bleeding and subsequent pain for anything that is not a life-threatening condition. 

Waiting time

It takes a couple of hours to have an SMP technician deposit pigment on your scalp. After that, it takes a few days for your scalp to heal completely; so you can enjoy the full effect of scalp micropigmentation treatment within a week of the procedure. 

Hair transplantation surgery requires immense patience. Two to three weeks after the surgery the transplanted hair begins to fall out so the bald area remains as it was before. 

Most men see about 60 percent of new hair growth six to nine months after the surgery. Full regrowth, thickening, and maturity come within a year or eighteen months. That’s a long wait.

If you are looking for quick results, scalp micropigmentation would be the better choice.

Styling variety

Another factor to remember is that scalp micropigmentation limits you to wearing only one look for years. With SMP, you have to keep your hair shaved short in order to maintain a realistic look.

With hair transplantation, hair regrows and can be allowed to grow as long as you like. It can be cut and styled any way you please therefore broadening styling options. 

Final Result

Both scalp micropigmentation and hair transplantation surgery are classified as hair restoration procedures but give starkly different results. 

SMP creates the illusion of hair while transplantation eventually gives you actual, naturally growing hair. What result are you looking for?

If you are happy with just the illusion of hair and a short buzz-cut look, then scalp micropigmentation is best. If you have always loved the idea of running your fingers through long luscious locks on the crown of your head, then a hair transplant is what you need.

SMP and hair transplant combined

Some men choose to combine the two treatments by having SMP done after a hair transplant. The result is hair that appears thicker than it really is, especially in areas where transplanted hair didn’t fully cover. 

This combination comes in handy when one has minimal donor hair and would prefer not to have multiple hair transplants.

Bottom Line

Neither one of the two options can be said to be better than the other. Both have their strengths and shortcomings. The ideal choice depends on your specific hair loss situation and individual needs. 

Scalp micropigmentation is best for you if your hair loss is at an advanced level therefore have insufficient donor hair, have budgetary constraints, or want quick results. It is also best for men with surgery anxiety.

Hair transplantation is best for men with sufficient, healthy donor hair as well as a healthy budget for the procedure selected. Patience is an essential virtue with hair transplants, making it unsuitable for men looking for quick results. 



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