As a busy SMP artist based out of Vancouver Canada I receive dozens of emails on a weekly basis from individuals interested in SMP.
My blog posts serve those who might not yet be ready for a consultation or a procedure but do have questions regarding SMP.
So I try to highlight the most common questions I receive in order to help you create a clearer picture of what SMP can or cannot do for you.
One of the questions I commonly receive is
“Is scalp micropigmentation painful?”
Scalp Micropigmentation, does it hurt?
Over the past 5 years SMP has been building rapidly in popularity as a solution for hair loss and hair thinking. Firstly because it is a far cheaper alternative to a hair transplant and secondly there is very little if any down time.
However, when you mention the word tattoo, some people panic at the idea of being pricked by a needle, not once but thousands of times.
As most of you already know, scalp micropigmentation (SMP) is a cosmetic tattoo procedure. One, which requires a tiny needle to deposit a pigment into the scalp thousands of times in order to create the look of thousands of micro hairs. These pigment deposits when administered correctly by a skilled and experienced artist create the illusion of a full head of shaved hair.
OK, but is SMP painful?
Well, the long and the short answer is SMP can be mildly painful for some, slightly irritating for others and virtually painless to the vast majority. As you know pain is subjective, so what feels painful to one might feel like nothing to another.
As a general rule I always ask clients if they’ve ever had a traditional tattooing. If the answer is yes, then I tell them that SMP is far less invasive or deep as their tattoo, so far less painful. And if the answer is no, I tell them that SMP is nowhere near as painful or as deep and invasive as a traditional tattoo. This seems to paint a tangible picture for the average person to understand.
Are some parts of the scalp more painful or irritating than others?
Some areas of the scalp more sensitive than others
Whilst the vast majority of people feel little to no discomfort, most will find some variance in sensation from area to area as the artist works his or her way around the scalp.
In my experience most people will find the front of the scalp particularly the hairline more sensitive than the crown. This is due in part to more nerve ending concentration in that area. Some of my clients might feel like sneezing or perhaps their eyes feel like watering when I’m working on the very front of the scalp. The sides of the head around the ears and temples can also be a little sensitive. The crown and back of the head seem to have (in my experience) very little sensation in comparison.
Does scar tissue from a hair transplant hurt more than regular tissue?
Scar tissue from FUT or FUE hair transplants can be a little more sensitive than regular tissue and is frequently easier to irritate and inflame. That’s why great care and experience must be taken when working on scar tissue.
If I feel pain or am petrified of needles what can be done?
Afraid of needles? Have no fear numbing cream is here!
If you feel discomfort, irritation or pain during your session a 5% topical lidocaine cream can be applied which will numb the skin and greatly diminish the sensation.
As well as a topical cream application, do not hesitate to ask your artist if you can take several mini breaks during the session, in order to relieve the skin.
Will my Skin turn red after SMP?
Once your SMP session is over you might notice that the skin looks red and irritated. This is 100% normal and should subside within a few short hours.
About Rob James
Rob James SMP at work in his busy Vancouver studio
Rob James is one of the most experienced and in demand SMP artists in Canada. Known for his ultra realistic hairline creations Rob James works out of his Advanced Scalp Clinic in Vancouver Canada. He is available for consultation at: firstname.lastname@example.org 778-917-7772