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Scalp Micropigmentation Regrets and How to Avoid Them

Angela Sheddan

Reviewed by Angela Sheddan, FNP

Written by Rachel Sacks

Published 05/03/2023

Having scalp micropigmentation regrets or want to avoid them with an upcoming procedure? We have some tips.

When you’re struggling with rapid hair loss or male pattern baldness, you may be willing to consider any treatment to achieve the look of a full head of hair. But would you consider hair tattoos, a process more formally known as scalp micropigmentation (SMP)?

A special kind of cosmetic tattoo performed on the scalp to mimic the appearance of natural hair follicles, scalp micropigmentation is a non-medical (or cosmetic) cover-up that creates the look of fuller hair.

When done correctly, it can address many cosmetic scalp conditions, such as thinning hair and male or female pattern baldness (also known as androgenetic alopecia).

But while there are benefits of scalp micropigmentation, you may have some regrets after undergoing this seemingly simple procedure. Below, we’ve listed some common scalp micropigmentation regrets and how to avoid them.

What Are Scalp Micropigmentation Regrets?

It’s important to have realistic expectations when undergoing any cosmetic procedure — and a scalp micropigmentation procedure is no exception.

From poor technique or design to the possibility of infection, here are some scalp micropigmentation regrets you’ll want to keep in mind.

Inexperienced Technician

Unlike typical hair loss treatment options or hair transplant surgery, scalp micropigmentation uses carefully selected pigments, tattoo instruments and the artistic skills of an SMP provider.

Scalps support many underlying structures and have a surprisingly intricate anatomy — which is why finding an SMP technician who’s experienced is crucial.

Here’s what to look for to avoid scalp micropigmentation regrets from an inexperienced technician:

  • Certification of SMP training

  • Body art practitioner license on display (depending on state requirements)

  • County health permit

  • Barrier protection during treatment (nitrile gloves, mask, barrier tape, and guards on SMP treatment device)

  • A clean and sterile environment with a sink

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Bad Scalp Micropigmentation Technique

Along with proper certification and experience, your SMP technician should use the appropriate technique to achieve natural-looking hair.

Each individual patient will be treated with different techniques, depending on the look they’re going for. That said, techniques that give a more satisfactory look might include:

  • Depositing pigment at the right depth

  • Inserting the needle at the correct angle to the scalp surface

  • Randomizing the pigmentation dot pattern

  • Performing a patch test to check skin reaction

You can also ask to see photos of your technician’s previous results as well as how they prepare and perform SMP on each patient.

Poor Hairline Design

If you’re getting scalp micropigmentation, one result you might be looking for is the appearance of a natural hairline. Natural-looking hairlines are important in SMP, and an uneven hairline outline could be one of your scalp micropigmentation regrets.

Looking at photos of your SMP technician’s past clients will ensure they’ve previously created natural-looking hairlines. You can also search for photos of a hairline outline achieved through SMP and ask your technician to use them as inspiration.

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Using Incorrect Equipment

While scalp micropigmentation is similar in some ways to tattooing, SMP requires different equipment. SMP requires extremely fine needles, which create dots of pigments less than 1 mm (millimeter) in diameter.

While a single-pronged needle is good for finer areas on the scalp, such as the hairline, needles with up to six prongs can be used across the rest of the scalp.

There’s also a chance of bloodborne disease transmission if the incorrect needles are used, according to the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery (ISHRS).

So make sure your clinic adheres to safety standards, such as a bloodborne pathogens certification and the use of packaged needles.

Choosing the Wrong Pigment

You could regret your scalp micropigmentation if you choose the wrong pigment shade. You’re most likely trying to achieve as much of a natural hair color as you can, so mismatched pigment or the wrong pigment choice could result in worse-looking hair.

If you’re unsure which pigment to use, ask your technician for insight to make the correct pigment choice. You can also refer to their previous scalp micropigmentation results to get a better idea of what to expect.

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Avoiding Scalp Micropigmentation Regrets

Scalp micropigmentation is a non-surgical procedure that involves essentially tattooing the appearance of hair onto the scalp to create the look of natural hair follicles.

Some people may opt for this procedure as an alternative treatment for the look of real hair or to at least reduce the appearance of hair loss.

But there can be scalp micropigmentation regrets after this procedure.

  • Experience matters. Going to an inexperienced technician can not only result in unnatural-looking pigmentation but also increase your risk for disease or infection if the proper tools and techniques aren’t used.

  • Consult with your technician first. You also want to consult with your technician before going through the procedure to make sure you have the correct pigment choice and hairline design. Take a look at your technician’s past work to see their performance and skill level.

3 Sources

Hims & Hers has strict sourcing guidelines to ensure our content is accurate and current. We rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We strive to use primary sources and refrain from using tertiary references.

  1. Rassman, W. R., Pak, J. P., Kim, J., & Estrin, N. F. (2015). Scalp Micropigmentation: A Concealer for Hair and Scalp Deformities. The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology, 8(3), 35-42. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4382144/
  2. Dhurat, R. S., Shanshanwal, J. S., & Dandale, A. L. (2017). Standardization of SMP Procedure and Its Impact On Outcome. Journal of Cutaneous and Aesthetic Surgery, 10(3), 145-149. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5782438/
  3. Scalp Micropigmentation (SMP): Semantics, Terminology, and Standards - ISHRS. (2019, July 31). International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery. Retrieved from https://ishrs.org/2019/07/31/scalp-micropigmentation/
Editorial Standards

Hims & Hers has strict sourcing guidelines to ensure our content is accurate and current. We rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We strive to use primary sources and refrain from using tertiary references. See a mistake? Let us know at [email protected]!

This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information contained herein is not a substitute for and should never be relied upon for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment. Learn more about our editorial standards here.

Angela Sheddan, FNP

Dr. Angela Sheddan has been a Family Nurse Practitioner since 2005, practicing in community, urgent and retail health capacities. She has also worked in an operational capacity as an educator for clinical operations for retail clinics. 

She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, her master’s from the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis, and her Doctor of Nursing Practice from the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. You can find Angela on LinkedIn for more information.


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