As one of Canada’s busiest SMP artists a frequent question I receive is:
“Is SMP better than a hair transplant” or “should I get SMP rather than a hair transplant?”
It’s important to note SMP and a hair transplant are very different procedures with very different results, so let’s explore this topic further.
Hair transplant vs. SMP
Is SMP better than a hair transplant?
As you probably know a hair transplant is a medical procedure where actual hair is harvested from the back of the recipient’s head and transplanted on to other areas, where the hair has thinned or disappeared from (usually hair line to crown).
If the transplant is successful the individual will generally want to keep their hair a little longer, rather than sport a shaved look, which is traditionally the SMP aesthetic.
Asking the right questions
So, the primary question you need to ask your client when they are trying to choose between hair transplant and SMP, is what is their long-term hair goals? Do they want to grow their hair? Maintain it at the current length? Cut it short? Or add density to their existing hair? The answer will help guide the client and SMP artist.
Adding density to transplanted area short hair
Adding density for longer hair
If they want to sport a dense super short, shaved look then I would absolutely recommend SMP. However if they want to wear a fuller head of mid length to long hair, then only a transplant can accomplish this.
However, there are those who receive a hair transplant and then choose SMP to help conceal scarring as well as to increase the appearance of more volume (density treatment).
When done properly this is often a good pairing of the two procedures.
Pros and cons of a hair transplant
Several things to keep in mind when it comes to a hair transplant are:
Cost, a hair transplant is significantly more expensive than SMP.
Scarring, weather you’re receiving an FUT or FUE, there is always scarring to contend with.
Down time, a hair transplant is a medical procedure, with a significant amount of down time and recovery.
Continued hair loss, many times a recipient will receive a transplant to a certain area of the scalp, but continue to lose hair elsewhere.
Rejection, sometimes the newly transplanted hair is not suitable and fails to grow.
Pros and cons of SMP
Several things to keep in mind when it comes to SMP are:
Longevity, SMP will not last forever (about 3-5 years before refresh is needed).
Realism, SMP is a two dimensional cosmetic tattoo, which can only produce the illusion of increased short hair or conceal bare scalp and lighter coloured scar tissue.
Quality: SMP results can vary greatly depending on your selected artist’s experience, your skin chemistry or immune response as well as your aftercare adherence.
It is difficult to change the style or repair heavy, blown out areas without laser removal. For these reasons experienced guidance, clear communication, realistic expectations are vital in order to avoid negative outcomes.
Adding density to longer transplanted hair
About Rob James:
Whether you’re considering a hair transplant or SMP, it is always advisable that you sit down with an experienced practitioner. This way you can garner all of the right information in the right order and make the best possible decision.
My mantra when it comes to SMP is, slow and steady wins the race and you can always add more, you cannot take away.
Rob James works out of his private clinic in Vancouver BC and is always available for a stress free, pressure free information session regarding SMP.