A relatively simple treatment to undertake, the scalp micropigmentation (permeant procedure) method consists of depositing small ‘dots’ of pigment into the dermal layer of the skin, with the use of a fine needle. Combined with thousands of other ‘dots’, an illusion of a full head of shaved hair is created.
The client usually requires 2-3 sessions, each lasting approximately 2-3 hours, but time does vary depending on individual requirements. The process is repeated until both the technician and client are satisfied that the semblance of hair cannot be distinguished from the surrounding real hair.
Tricopigmentation is commonly referred to as temporary scalp micropigmentation, which is an accurate descriptive. Whereas a permanent procedure will need top-ups every 3-5 years or so, with pigment remaining in the skin for 20+ years, tricopigmentation is refreshed almost entirely every 6 – 9 months. The treatment sessions are up to 4 hours on 2 consecutive days followed by a third treatment approximately 1 month later.
Scalp micropigmentation can be applied to much wider range of hair loss variations than hair transplant surgery; from general balding to hairline recession, to burn or surgery related hair loss, and of course alopecia (most commonly alopecia areata).
It can be also utilised to conceal hair transplant scars or blemishes as a result of trauma to the head. The method can even be adapted to blend noticeable birthmarks into the scalp.
Most people experience a mild amount of discomfort during the early stages of the session, though this tends to become more tolerable as the session progresses. Some areas of the scalp have a denser collection of nerve endings than others, particularly at the sides of the head, and can often be the most challenging to deal with, but many choose to focus on the benefits and the final of the treatment to help contain the sensation.
Once the pigments are deposited, the skin needs to heal. A recovery period of one week for permeant treatments should be allowed, so that the micro-wounds created during the procedure may dry up and close while the pigments get assimilated into the dermal layer.
The treatment process must likewise follow a strict procedure that allows the patient’s scalp to heal between treatment sessions. The industry standard timescales are as follows:
Day 1 – first session
Day 8 (or later) – second session
Day 15 (or later) – third session
Basically, leave a minimum of one week between each session, however there are a couple of considerations.
First, it is feasible to leave just 5 days between each session for clients who have an issue with time, for example when they’re travelling from far away for their procedure. Second, it is common to leave several weeks between the second and third sessions, to allow time for the pigments to fully settle and to establish whether a third session is needed.
The treatment process must follow a strict procedure to ensure the best results. The industry standard timescales are as follows:
Day 1 – first session approximately 3 – 5 hours
Day 2 – second session approximately 3 hours (consecutive days)
Day 30 (or later) – third session approximately 3 hours
You need to consider the time you need to commit to undertaking these treatments; although this is a one-off investment of your time, future touch-up sessions 6 – 9 months later will require around 3 – 5 hours.
Micropigmentation in general has very limited side effects and does not tend to cause adverse reactions. This is because the technique addresses the visual symptom (the hair loss itself), rather than the underlying cause. This makes a full medical diagnosis less important.
Whilst the side effects are limited, the advice of a technician prior to starting treatment is still necessary.
The nature of the process means that it will fade slowly over a period of time. Whilst the pigments will probably remain visible for 20 years or more with the permeant treatment, regular top-ups are needed to keep your ‘hair’ looking its best. Most micropigmentation clients find they need top-ups every 3-5 years. For tricopigmentation the effects will be visible for up to 6 – 9 months, then will require re-application.
For maximum longevity, it is important to keep the scalp in a good condition. Ensure that your head is cleansed and moisturised daily, take adequate precautions in the sun and avoid topical products that contain alcohol.
There are some issues with the skin which might cause problems and the most important ones are dermatitis and dryness. Dermatitis is an inflammation of the scalp skin so the area becomes more sensitive. Dryness can be dealt with if you make use of a moisturising cream a few days prior to the treatment.
The answer is very simple – wear something comfortable. Bear in mind you’re going to be sat in a chair or laid on a bed for 3 hours or more, so don’t wear your Sunday Best. You want something that is light and airy.
For male clients, your technician will need to shave your hair off before they commence treatment. This is done at the clinic prior to your session starting, so whether you choose to shave your head at home, or let your technician do it at the clinic, is entirely up to you.
Yes, if you wish. Pain levels for this treatment really aren’t that bad, however you may feel more comfortable with a little help. Any painkiller based on paracetamol or codeine is fine. Anti-inflammatory painkillers such as ibuprofen will have little effect.
Please note: Do not take blood-thinning painkillers like aspirin, as this will encourage bleeding during your procedure. If you are already taking medication that thins your blood, please consult a suitable medical professional, and advise your technician. It doesn’t mean you can’t have treatment, but they do need to be aware.
When you arrive at the clinic, usually you would be asked to follow your technician to a private area for a pre-treatment discussion. If you haven’t had a consultation yet, now is the time. Otherwise, the conversation is likely to be a brief recap or summary of the objective.
Make sure your technician is fully aware of what look you hope to achieve. Although you may have discussed this already during your consultation, it is always a good idea to reiterate your wishes.
A hairline will be drawn on your head and agreed upon before the treatment begins.