A client recently contacted us in relation to our laser tattoo removal services in concerning the scalp micropigmentation treatment he had recently.
The client had initially had a successful scalp micropigmentation treatment by HisHair clinic in London and although satisfied with the results he was disappointed to see the treatment had faded to the point within only 12 months he felt he needed a touch up treatment. As the treatment by HisHair clinic was a full SMP treatment it had been quite costly and consequently funds were a little limited only 12 months later. This lead the client to seek an alternative supplier, noting that most of the recognised scalp micropigmentation supplier out their charged a very similar rate to His Hair clinic then the client chose to take the route of asking a friend. Ooops, obviously the first wrong move.
The client’s friend seemed to have some knowledge of the industry yet had not performed the treatment before, however they believed with their micropigmentation skills and equipment they had then it would be easy to replicate the work carried out by His Hair clinic. Mistake two. As those in the industry know the scalp is very different to other areas of the body and consequently the micropigmentation techniques differ greatly as do the needles and pigments used. Also the vast majority of technicians out there had trained over a considerable length of time in specialist scalp micropigmentation techniques that ensure the perfect hair follicle representation via densification, fade outs, colour matching etc. The result from the clients friend tattooing their scalp with semi permanent pigments was that within three months the inks started to migrate into one another and change colour, obviously leaving a wholly unnatural effect as can be seen in the photograph. The client went back to his friend and asked what could be done, to which it was agreed that they would treat the area again yet with a different pigment. Mistake number three. Although the new pigment they chose was that supplied by Scalp Aesthetics and consequently should be stable this pigments is a single colour only and consequently cannot be matched to the client natural hair colour or the original colour used by His Hair clinic. The one benefit of the Scalp Aesthetics pigments is that they are allegedly charcoal based and consequently although only one shade they should not change colour. Also different pigments can have different constancies, add this to different needle sizes then when entered into the skin it virtually impossible to replicate the initial treatment exactly (by HisHair). However the main issue here was adding new pigment over the recently discoloured pigments as a mean of correction. This can’t happen, simply covering one colour with another will never stop a pigment that has bleed or change colour from being seen and with all SMP in which pigments are permanent (as they enter the dermis layer of the skin) then repeat top ups can result in ink clusters and quite often the effect known as helmet head. Adding more permanent hair follicle dots to an already treated scalp eventually looks very unrealistic no matter how hard the technician tries (qualified or not). This is what started to happen to the client scalp, although his friend told him he only entered the pigment into the epidermis layer of the skin (this it would not be permanent) then having set the needles at 2mm and given the very thin nature of the skin on the head it is very likely that the pigments went into the dermis thus making them permanent.*
So we hear you cry ‘well all should be cleared up easily with laser tattoo removal treatments shouldn’t it?’and this is what the client believed also. However although laser tattoo removal can remove scalp micropigmentation treatments it’s not the simple quick fix many technician would have you believe, especially in this client’s case. Firstly there are absolutely no 100% guarantees that laser tattoo removal will remove pigments that have been entered into the skin, especially when taking into consideration semi-permanent pigments. The latter pigments very often contain particles of metal oxide and when ‘zapped’ with a laser these pigments can heat up and fuse together. When fused together (especially when in the dermis) these inks will then stay in the skin permanently and without medical extraction cannot be removed. Also if a pigment changes colour then some colours are very difficult to remove by laser (although not impossible). Most pigments that change colour will change to a light blue or green which can take many treatments to be removed by laser. Regardless of this fact laser treatment is a multi-treatment process. On industry averages it takes 11 treatments to remove a tattoo and although scalp tattoos can need less treatment due to the thickness of the skin there are other consequences to consider. Thinner skin, is far more susceptible to scaring and lasers need to be set at far less power to remove the pigment, less power usually means more treatments overall also. A minimum of 6-8 weeks should be left between each treatment meaning that at the very best the client can expect removal to take at least nearly six months to remove the scalp tattoo and on average a year. With laser tattoo removal there comes trauma, not just the pain of having the treatment (which can be considerably more painful than a tattoo) but often resulting in reddening to the scalp, bleeding to the scalp, scabbing to the scalp or sometimes blistering. This trauma often remains for several weeks after each treatment, leaving the clients scalp looking unsightly, unnatural and often drawing unwelcomed attention from others. Should the laser removal result in scarring (industry averages 6%) then as well as having unsightly scares it becomes difficult to tattoo new pigment into scar areas, so reapplication of the initial treatment is not so easy if impossible in some cases.
Although this article has concentrated on one clients story, the facts are that is you move from one scalp micropigmentation clinic to another, there will be risks associated to the finished results. Risks that include different follicle dot sizes, different coloured inks, different density and ultimately a risk of pigment clusters and helmet head. So the advice is simple, be very warry of changing your supplier for Scalp Micropigmentation or better still if you want to prevent all future complication including the risks involved in laser tattoo removal then simply opt for a scalp micropigmentation systems that only enters the pigments into the epidermis layer of the skin such as Tricopigmentation * . This method will give the same (if not improved) appearance of Scalp micropigmentation yet does not need laser tattoo removal, the inks do not change colour, the inks can be matched to the clients natural hair colour, they never result in helmet head and ultimately are flexible to the changing desires of the client.
*Results may vary from person to person