Raising Standards For The Scalp MicroPigmentation (SMP) Industry

In the early days of Scalp MicroPigmentation (SMP) most of the questions were predictable and revolved around the finer details of the treatment, or the expected outcome for any given client. With the deluge of new businesses opening up, over the last couple of years in particular and many of them providing sub-standard treatments, we offer some practical thought on how to raise standards.

Maybe Learner Plates Would Help

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There is no doubt whatsoever that the flood of new practices opening up has been detrimental to the reputation of SMP. They fall into two camps. By far the most common are the one man bands, the single clinics usually operated by a former (though more typically current) tattoo artist or “semi-permanent” make-up artist. I have put the words semi-permanent in parentheses to draw attention to the fact that this description of their pigmentation is deeply troubling to many in the medical profession – they do not view their treatment as semi-permanent given that it implies given time it will disappear. Which it will not, primarily due to the composition of their pigments. They can include metal oxides and other complicated molecules which can, over time, break down to smaller though still relatively complicated ones. This is what can lead to colour change and spreading in a regular tattoo, it can also cause issues when trying to use laser to remove it from the scalp – The metal can heat to a temperature that causes some scarring.

The other significant growth in the market has come from larger players themselves, opening up franchised clinics with unseemly haste. There is little evidence to date that allows us to identify problem clinics operating under respected brands but it seems inevitable. It takes an amount of time to fully train a practitioner, they then need to work in an established clinic under someones wing for a long time before they should be considered ready to take on their own clinic.

How You Might Spot Them

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What was obvious, even in the early days of these lower quality providers arriving on the market, was their willingness to cut corners. To simply press ahead with opening their doors to clients well before they had completed sufficient training to confidently practice. Of course with a decent marketing budget it can be nigh on impossible to spot the charlatan, their website certainly wouldn’t give them away. Nor would the smooth voice on the phone when you call… and they have all the right answers ready to draw in the unwary, not to mention some of the wary too.

Fortunately, most of them will not manage to maintain that veneer of professionalism for long. Ask enough questions and you will get to something like the truth. Ask to see the practitioners at work, ask to meet ex-clients, or the gallery of the practitioner that would be performing your treatment. Ask every question you can think of and you stand a chance.

For those who have neither the time or the inclination to perform that level of due diligence, the team here at SMP Debate stand by to offer our personal thoughts and recommendations. We investigate any clinic suggested to us by our readers in the event that they are asking about one we have not yet come across – which happens all too regularly.

We often see images on these websites that have been stolen from one of the other more established providers. Those established providers do not have the resources to police the entire web, any more than we do. But between us this is surely something we could achieve. If every time one of our sharp eyed readers spotted the same image used on more than one site they dropped us a line to let us know… Well, we could quickly identify a host of clinics that are not to be trusted.

Stolen images is just one giveaway though. We would ask you to contact us every time you have a questionable experience, or a suspicious answer. We will always take the time to investigate and reply – it is how we see us building a detailed picture of the market and use it to protect future would be SMP clients.

Standards Matter


We are passionate about SMP, we know it has the power to change peoples lives for the better. Never truer than for young men. But it must be delivered by an experienced practitioner in a clinic committed to your well-being and final outcome.

If you have any information you would like to share please contact us. We look forward to hearing from you.

Laurie Downing