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Medical Treatment of Hair Loss

Scalp Micropigmentation (SMP) is a Practical, Permanent Cosmetic Treatment for Hair Loss

May 8th, 2015

Hair restoration physicians William R. Rassman, Jae P. Pak, and Jino Kim have outlined a practical, permanent cosmetic treatment for hair loss, called scalp micropigmentation (SMP) in a paper published in the journal Hair Transplant Forum International.[1]

Scalp micropigmentation, first described in the medical literature in 2001,[2] is a cosmetic tattoo that creates the appearance of the short hairs of a closely shaved head on an otherwise bald or thinning scalp. SMP (also referred to as ‘cosmetic transdermal hair replication,’ ‘scalp pigmentation,’ ‘cosmetic hair follicle replication,’ or ‘micro hair technique’) is an option for patients who are not candidates for a hair transplant and who are willing to keep their hair cut short or shaved. It is can also serve as a “filler” for those with longer hair.

The paper discussed case studies of six hair loss patients of varying age and hair loss condition who used SMP to camouflage scalp scars or areas of hair loss:

  1. A man in his mid-30s, who was diagnosed with scarring alopecia in his teens, used SMP to camouflage his scarring.
  2. A 30-year-old male, who had worn a hat continually since being diagnosed with alopecia totalis in his teens, used SMP to frame his face and re-build his self-esteem.
  3. A 55-year-old man, who had large-graft (“hair plug”) hair transplants and several scalp reductions, used SMP to fill in plug scars and re-define his hairline.
  4. A 32-year-old man used SMP to cover donor area scars from previous FUT procedures, fill in his thinning crown, and create a smooth hairline.
  5. A 22-year-old man filled in scars from a previous FUE hair transplant using scalp micropigmentation.
  6. A 45-year-old man, who had always shaved his head and refused hair transplantation, used SMP to create a hairline with an overall look of a clean-shaven head.

SMP can be applied to patients with alopecia areata, alopecia totalis, or pattern baldness. SMP can also help hide the scar tissue from several types of scarring alopecia. Finally, it can help to camouflage the scar tissue caused by large-graft “plug” transplants, scalp reduction procedures, or poorly performed or failed hair transplant procedures.

The authors note that adoption of SMP by physicians and potential patients has been slow because of the highly variable outcomes due to a lack of standardized SMP techniques and materials. However, the authors say a standardized SMP technique is being formalized that should support consistent high quality outcomes.

References:
  1. Pak JP, Rassman WR, and Kim J. Scalp micro pigmentation (SMP): novel application in hair loss. Hair Transplant Forum International, Vol. 21, No. 6, Nov./Dec. 2011, p. 1, 186-87. []
  2. Traquina AC. Micropigmentation as an adjuvant in cosmetic surgery of the scalp. Dermatologic Surgery, Vol. 27(2) 2001: 123-8 []

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on Updated 2015-05-08






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