Should I Shave for Scalp Micropigmentation?
A common question during an initial scalp micropigmentation consultation is: “Should I shave for scalp micropigmentation? This question, unfortunately, only sometimes has a straightforward answer. Depending on the amount of hair loss and age, an in-person consultation is recommended to discuss the pros and cons of shaving or keeping the hair.
Hair loss is something that most guys will experience in their lives. According to the American Hair Loss Association, by age 35, two-thirds of American men will experience some degree of hair loss, with 85% percent having significant thinning by age 50. Unfortunately, 25% of these men will begin the process by age 21.
Scalp Micropigmentation (SMP) can serve those with hair or those who shave it. In this case, I will discuss individuals who opt to shave their heads during treatment but want also want the option to grow their hair out. However, this is only an option when hair is still present on the top of their heads.
As artists, a shaved head provides us with a clean canvas without the obstacle of having to work around existing hair. Since treatments are commonly completed in 3 sessions, the results are very gradual. I’ve even had clients keep their treatment from their spouses. They get questions like, “Did you get a new haircut? Are you using vitamins for hair growth? And so on. I’ve had clients tell their barbers they had the treatment, and even the barbers can’t believe it; instead, they think they had a hair transplant. Scalp Micropigmentation achieves very natural results.
If you have extensive hair loss and shaving down is your only option, then there are a few things to keep in mind.
It is critical to keep the hair shaved if this is the route you have chosen because, not doing so, the SMP will practically look like it has disappeared, or worse, it won’t look right, specifically if a hairline was created. Since SMP is a tattoo, it sits on the skin in one dimension. Hair is not one-dimensional, so it will always look darker than the SMP. Also, when hair is lost on the scalp, the skin on the scalp changes. The hair follicles shrink and turn into skin cells; this causes the sebaceous glands to increase when the hairs are lost. The scalp will secrete more oil than when hair exists. So, if you have hair on the sides but missing hair on the top, the top of the head will be shiny and stand out.
I have another blog dedicated to matting lotion recommendations, which will help reduce shine during the day so that your treatment looks natural. Before bed, however, you should have a skincare routine that will help keep your scalp healthy.
This image is of a client that just had SMP completed. He previously had a hair transplant and came in for SMP. He wanted the option to grow out his hair or shave it down. This is possible in his case because of a previous hair transplant. When working with these clients, it is critical to stay behind the hairline. Working on a clean canvas is much easier, so the client’s hair is shaved upon arrival. Although with the existing hair, the SMP reduced the shine on his head and created a bit of density, once shaved down, the SMP becomes visible. The difference is impressive; it’s like an optical illusion. He did come in with a dry scalp, so I used a moisturizer during the treatment making his head shiny in this picture.
Here is a second example: Not all treatments were completed in this picture, but you can see some of the SMP dots. Simply shaving down makes a big difference and looks so much better. He also wanted the option to grow out his hair. Not everyone is ready to shave down and commit to the change. So for these two clients, we shaved for the treatment to ensure all the impressions were consistent; we stayed behind the natural hairline and ensured there was no over-saturation of ink, which is very difficult to achieve when working around existing hair. This way, in the future, if these clients continue to lose more hair and are ready to shave down, then they have the perfect SMP foundation to do so.
Always communicate openly with your artist to see which long-term solution is best for you. Scalp Micropigmentation should be done with longevity in mind. An experienced artist can help determine if it is viable to keep your existing hair and create density or if it is best to shave when there has been or will be significant future hair loss.
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