Scalp micropigmentation (abbreviated as SMP) is an increasingly popular solution to hair loss used to deal with male pattern baldness. It involves depositing tiny dots of pigment under the skin to resemble hair follicles. It could be used to blend with existing hair or on a bald head. In both instances, it effectively creates the impression of a short buzz cut.
SMP treatment takes two or three sessions which can be done over a couple of hours each, therefore making it a convenient and cost-effective solution.
You do, however, have to deal with a few side effects, one of the most common ones being scalp redness after the session.
What exactly causes your scalp to turn red after the treatment? Is it something you should be worried about? Read on to find out.
What Causes Scalp Redness after SMP?
The process of scalp micropigmentation treatment involves making numerous perforations of the skin.SMP technicians use a micro-needle, much like the ones used for tattoos, to pierce the skin and deposit tiny amounts of pigment.
This, in essence, creates a wound that behaves like one on any other part of the body. That includes redness soon after what your body considers to be ‘an injury.’
It is a normal immune reaction
A clearer picture of why the ‘injured’ area turns red, requires an understanding of the stages of wound healing.
In the first stage of wound healing, the perforated area bleeds. Soon after that, the blood begins to clot in order to stop bleeding.
The second stage is our focus in answering the question of redness. Here the body’s immune system kicks in and causes blood to rush to the area.
Why is this necessary? Increased blood flow to the area serves to supply the site with additional oxygen and nutrients, both of which are essential in the healing process.
It also brings white blood cells whose primary role is to fight off any germs which could potentially cause infection. These blood cells also begin the repair the area as it transitions to the next stage of healing.
Since there are hundreds of minute piercings, each inducing increased blood flow to the area, the entire scalp appears red.
How Long Does Redness Last?
It typically lasts between 3 and 5 days after the SMP treatment session. At this time the wound has transitioned into the next stage of healing where scalp skin begins to heal. It forms new layers which are hard scab-like spots over individual points of perforation. These protect the area from germs as the tissue underneath continues to heal.
Tips to reduce redness
If you have to go back to your normal everyday routine after the treatment, and feel uncomfortable about walking out with a pink head, here are some tips to manage it.
Apply an ice pack: It helps to reduce blood flow to the area and relieves any inflammation. Use the ice pack for a few minutes every few hours. Keeping it on your head too long could have other negative side effects.
Avoid direct sunlight. Exposing your scalp to direct sunlight increases blood flow to the area. If you have to be outside under the sun, make a point to wear a hat which can be taken off when you get back into the house, so your scalp can breathe.
Avoid very hot showers or allowing hot water to come into contact with your scalp. This helps to prevent extra blood flow to the scalp.
Other Side Effects of Scalp Micropigmentation Treatment
Aside from a red scalp, you will probably experience other side effects which come with redness.
The first of these is pain. It is to be expected after the anesthesia applied by the SMP technician wears off. Pain is caused by increased blood flow to the area which compresses nerves around each wound.
Swelling, another common side effect is caused by the increased movement of fluid and white blood cells to the area. It is also considered normal. According to The Stone Clinic, immediate swelling is required for proper tissue repair.
If your scalp turns red or pink soon after a scalp micropigmentation treatment session, don’t worry. In fact, you should be glad about it because it is a sign that your body’s immune system is reacting as it should after what it considers to be an injury.
Fortunately, redness doesn’t last longer than a few days as the healing process progresses. However, if it persists longer than five days or so, it should concern you and does warrant a visit back to your SMP technician.