SMP – The Essential Guide to Everything Pt. 2

How does the scalp pigmentation process work?

The first real step on your SMP journey is when you get along to a clinic and discuss your situation with a technician. Spend as much time as you feel you need on the forums that are out there, perform all your due diligence and make sure you are completely comfortable that you are selecting the right provider to treat the only scalp you have. During that initial meeting every aspect of the plan for your treatment will be discussed, it is the first time you will appreciate being in the hands of a professional – a good technician will help you describe in detail exactly what it is you are hoping to achieve. The conversation will cover where you want your hairline, its shape, the shades of pigment to be used and raise any specific considerations, technical and artistic, that apply in your case.

The application of SMP

When you finally make it all the way to the treatment chair you can expect to be there for up to 2 hours at each session. How many treatments you require can only be at best an estimate at the outset – until the effects of your personal genetic make-up on fading can be studied, just ahead of your second session. The treatment is laid down in stages at each session, in between you will be asked to follow some simple after-care guidelines that revolve around keeping the scalp dry and not shaving. During the period between those first sessions your immune system gets to work with the resulting fading – you will notice the dots become smaller, lighter in shade and softer in appearance. Any redness usually disappears in a matter of hours, though for a few with highly sensitive skin it can take up to a couple of days.

The pigment is delivered using very fine needles that form part of a bespoke piece of equipment. The needles are usually clustered in 3’s though you can expect to see different equipment in different clinics.

Over the course your sessions, where three is the par (some can get away with two and a few can require more), your treatment will be layered down. Starting with the first session where a template is produced. This template is expected to fade, in some areas significantly, but is a very normal part of the process. It allows your technician to draw conclusions about how to approach the second and any subsequent sessions. It is normal after the second session for the look to be complete, most third sessions occur when the client decides later that they would like a slightly different outcome than the one originally agreed on (and delivered!). They might want their hairline bought down a little or softened for example.

More About Fading

Fading, as already mentioned is a perfectly normal, even essential, part of the process.
It happens for two principal reasons. The body’s own immune system, which as you can imagine will vary from individual to individual, will attack the pigments causing shrinkage. The second factor is equally unpredictable varying from client to client – As each dot is applied the tiny puncture hole in the skin heals over. When that micro scab falls away it will take away a tiny amount of pigment with it. Because the rate of healing varies so does the size of the scab and how much pigment it takes away.

Perfection is Possible!


Perfection is not just possible, its achieved every day in clinics around the world. So it’s important to bear in mind that however much fading you see, especially in that first week, there will be no difference made to the final result. The degree of fading is exactly how an experienced technician knows how to judge shade size and density to achieve the best result.
For those at the extreme end of the spectrum, who experience substantial fading, it can impact on how many sessions are required to achieve that perfection. If you can get your provider to commit to your result on the basis of a fixed quotation so much the better.

Tomorrow – Does it hurt? How much is it and how to find a clinic.

Laurie Downing