Is Scalp Micropigmentation a Tattoo?

Of all the debates surrounding the world of SMP, this one ticks the list as the number one subject. Is scalp micropigmentation a tattoo? Hit the search bar with the question and you’ll come up with complete chaos and confusion. Some say it is, some say it isn’t.

One of the fundamental problems with the argument is that it is often discussed without sufficient prior knowledge. The other problem is that SMP techniques are, in effect, tantamount to tattooing which is why its often considered just that – a tattoo. So which is it? Well, keep reading and then all you need to do is decide. Which side of the fence do you sit on?

Scalp Micropigmentation and Tattooing – The Similarities

It is very easy to understand why people consider SMP to be nothing but a hair tattoo. The reasons are as follows :

  • Both SMP and tattoos are administered using a handheld machine that has been fitted with a microneedle.
  • They both implant pigment underneath the skin’s outer layer. The initial layer of your skin is known as the Epidermis. Underneath the Epidermis is the second layer known as the Dermis layer of your skin. In both procedures, the pigment that’s implanted is into this secondary layer.
  • And finally, the implanted pigment results in an indelible marking, albeit different in its fading capacity dependant on the depth of the implant. With SMP the mark resembles an imitation hair follicle, with tattooing, it’s anything you wish it to be.

All sounds pretty straightforward, right? It is clearly a tattoo. Or is it? Because there are actually some significant differences.

Scalp Micropigmentation and Tattooing – The Differences

  • The most fundamental difference is pigment implant depth. As stated above, pigments are implanted into the Dermis in both techniques. However, the structure of the Dermis is split into different anatomy types. The top layer is made up of collagen fibers that connect closely to the Epidermis. Underneath this, is a secondary layer that continues with collagen fibers, however, they are denser and elastic. Thereafter there is an underlayer and beyond you reach the fatty tissue. SMP treatment needs to be implanted in the upper level of the Dermis, tattooing goes deeper into the second Dermis layer. The reasons they have different implant depths are simple. The upper layer of the Dermis holds the shape of the implanted pigment. The deeper the implant depth the more blurred the pigment becomes. Tattoos don’t need such control over the shape.
  • The second fundamental difference is the pigment type. SMP pigments contain natural ingredients that are often found to be solely plant-based. There is no need for the use of chemicals as these are only used to create the vibrancy of color, something that is unnecessary in SMP. The additional benefit linked to SMP pigments is that there is a significantly reduced risk of allergic reactions given that they comprise of solely natural ingredients.
  • And finally, needles. SMP needles are much finer than tattoo needles and have microscopic rough edges. Tattoo needles are smooth.

So now you have the information where are you on the debate?? Is scalp micropigmentation a tattoo? Or is a tattoo, a tattoo, and scalp micropigmentation just a simple treatment that works in the combat against hair loss?