Hair loss can be an incredibly frustrating experience, luckily with modern technology, it doesn’t have to be. Scalp micropigmentation (or SMP for short) is a safe, non-invasive alternative to more intensive hair loss treatments.

If you are just beginning your research into SMP you might be asking yourself a couple of questions, mainly is SMP the same as a traditional tattoo? You are in just the right place to have that question and many others answered. In this blog we will jump into some of the common questions people tend to have about SMP, including if SMP is a form of tattooing and how long scalp tattoos last.

What is Scalp Micropigmentation?

Scalp Micropigmentation (SMP) is a non-surgical procedure that layers very small dots of pigment in varying shades to mimic the natural look of a shadow on your scalp. SMP gives the impression of a fuller head of hair, either by adding density to thinner areas or by covering the entire bald scalp to give the look of a freshly shaven head (buzzcut).

Hair Tattoos: What’s All the Buzz on This Growing Trend?

What is a Tattoo?

A tattoo on the other hand is a type of body modification where a piece of artwork is placed on the body by inserting ink, dyes and pigments into the dermis layer of the skin. Tattoos are usually decorative or symbolic.

what is Tattoo

Key Differences Between Scalp Micropigmentation and Traditional Tattooing

While the two procedures might seem similar so far, there are some key differences between hair tattoos used for thinning hair and traditional tattoos. We have listed some of the key differences between SMP treatment and standard tattoos below:

Their Purpose

First off, and this may be an obvious one; the two procedures are undergone for different reasons. While tattoos are primarily used for decorative or symbolic reasons, SMP is specifically used to replicate the appearance of hair and is a solution to hair loss.

The Equipment Used

SMP uses specialised equipment to get the proper scalp pigmentation look. The needles used by SMP practitioners are usually much smaller than those used in traditional tattooing. This smaller size is better for accurately mimicking the look of hair follicles.

Will Scalp Micropigmentation Cause Hair Loss

The Type of Ink Used

The ink that is used by SMP practitioners has been carefully formulated to ensure it doesn’t change colour over time in the way that traditional tattoo inks can. Traditional tattoo inks contain different ingredients to SMP pigments.

The Technique of Needle Insertion

The technique used for SMP is different in comparison to traditional tattoos. This difference helps to decrease the spread of pigment under the skin and allows technicians to make smaller and more precise dots that resemble short hairs.

The Training Undergone

SMP practitioners undergo scalp specific training, as well as learning about hair follicles, scalp anatomy and the specific techniques used in SMP. Traditional tattoo artists on the other hand have a different range of skills.

Is Scalp Micropigmentation a Form of Tattooing?

Technically speaking, yes, because the procedure involves the insertion of pigment into the skin. However, as we have spoken about above, it is a highly specialised form of tattooing with its own unique equipment, techniques, and training. If you are looking to undergo SMP it is critical to book with a SMP specific practitioner.

How Long Do Scalp Tattoos Last?

Scalp tattoos are considered permanent, however will fade with sun exposure and age, meaning they usually last between 3 to 5 years. After this the pigmentation may start to fade and you will be due for a touch-up session. There are several factors that may impact how long your scalp tattoos lasts including the quality of your practitioner, your skin type, lifestyle and maintenance treatments.

Benefits of Scalp Micropigmentation


Unlike other invasive treatments for hair loss, SMP is non surgical and non invasive. The procedure has minimal downtime.

The Appearance of Fuller Hair

SMP gives you an authentic look of fuller hair. This is great for those who are either experiencing balding or hair loss in only specific parts of the scalp.

Long Lasting

After your SMP treatment you will have a good 3-5 years before you have to think about your hair loss again!

Cost Effective

In comparison to other hair loss treatments SMP is an affordable treatment option, especially due to the long lasting results.

Low Maintenance

Luckily, SMP is a very low maintenance hair loss solution. You don’t need any special shampoos or expensive skincare products, and you can cut or style your hair however you like.

Confidence Boost

The most important benefit on the list; SMP will help boost your confidence, so you can stop worrying about your hair constantly.

Benefits of Scalp Micropigmentation

How to Choose the Right Scalp Micropigmentation Clinic

Selecting the right scalp micropigmentation clinic is critical for having an end result that replicates natural hair follicles. When selecting your clinic you should consider the following qualities:

  • Experience and qualifications
  • Portfolio (pics or it didn’t happen)
  • Reviews and testimonials
  • A successful consultation
  • Fair pricing

What to Consider when Choosing an SMP Clinic

Get in Touch With Foli Sim

If you are seeking a reputable scalp micropigmentation clinic, Foli Sim is the team you need. The Foli Sim team is a family business made up of a dynamic, highly skilled group of individuals specialising in scalp micropigmentation. We have clinics in Perth, Melbourne and Sydney offering high quality scalp micropigmentation services. We offer a free consultation, so if you want to take your first step on your SMP journey, fill out our enquiry form below or reach out to our friendly staff on 1300 668 490.

About The Author