What's the Difference Between Hair Tattoo (SMP) and Traditional Body Tattoo?

4 min read
Before / After picture of an SMP result on a man with a tattoo on his scalp | ∵ Hair Scalp Center | Bangkok, Thailand

When hair loss occurs, the victim will naturally consider all manner of solutions. From natural remedies to hair transplant surgeries, there is a wide selection of options out there. Scalp micropigmentation (SMP) has become a preferred option, particularly amongst balding men.

Through the application of special ink pigments on the scalp, SMP creates the illusion of a full head of hair that has been shaven. It replicates the appearance of hair follicles, helping to even out the shading. This treatment is long-lasting and minimally invasive.

Many erroneously think there is no much difference with body tattooing. However, several distinct differences should prevent people from attempting to seek SMP services at tattoo parlors.

Specialist training

Tattoo artists learn a lot from on-the-job training. They practice freehand styles that are highly artistic. SMP technicians, however, undergo professional certified training courses with recognized practitioners. Their area of focus is specifically the scalp. Their training covers hair density, follicle replication, hairlines, and other hair related subjects. They understand how to specifically handle different types of hair loss cases and hair types.

Pigments and Application

SMP pigments | ∵ Hair Scalp Center | Bangkok, Thailand

The types of inks used in body tattooing vary somewhat from those used in SMP. Body tattoos make use of a wider range of color choices. SMP inks are predominantly black shades that are designed not to fade easily over time.

How these inks are applied also differs. Tattoos are inked deeper in the skin as compared to SMP. The needles used by SMP practitioners are also dissimilar. They are much smaller ensuring a suitable size of the dot is applied during SMP procedures that match natural hair follicle sizes. Tattoo needles are bigger and would create much larger dots that appear unnatural.

Pain experience

SMP in action | ∵ Hair Scalp Center | Bangkok, Thailand

Those that have undergone SMP procedures at qualified clinics will tell you that the pain was negligible. This is partly due to the small size of needle and shallow depth it penetrates. SMP injects pigment in a dot pattern that replicates the natural look of hair follicles. Tattooing typically involves much deeper and widespread inking.

There is also the fact that SMP procedures are usually spread out across several procedures. The shorter sessions spread over several weeks makes for a more comfortable experience. The longer wait between sessions also contribute to better results.

Pre and Post Care Measures

Before / After picture of an SMP result on a man with a tattoo on his scalp | ∵ Hair Scalp Center | Bangkok, Thailand

Getting a tattoo done is often a singular experience. You go in, discuss your design ideas, the artist comes up with an illustration you like and you get inked. SMP is considered a more clinical procedure so there are certain pre and post-op steps to be undertaken.

From consultation to work out if it is a suitable solution for your hair loss problem, a patch test to confirm no adverse reactions to pigments, to post-procedure guidelines on how to care for your scalp going forward, SMP is a multifaceted experience. Not to mention that the procedure itself can take as much as 4 sessions to be completed.

SMP was indeed inspired by medical tattooing but has since evolved to meet the needs of a much different type of clientele. Tattoos are often adopted as an aesthetic or to memorialize some event or person. SMP serves a more practical purpose in effectively covering up the distressing effects of hair loss. It restores self-confidence and delivers a better quality of life.

Hair Scalp Center is the Scalp Micropigmentation provider of reference in Thailand and received several prestigious awards among which the “Asia Artist of the Year” at the World Scalp Micropigmentation Awards.
Contact us now for any inquiries and make an appointment for a free consultation by phone or at our clinic in Bangkok.