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This August marks the 13th year for National Hair Loss Awareness Month, which was established by the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) to raise awareness about this treatable condition that affects an estimated 60 million men and 40 million women in America.

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The above snippet is from a press release I was sent, and I want to elaborate about how this is a treatable condition.

For those of you who look into the mirror every morning and see the signs of hair loss, you should know that there are many options available for you to slow, stop, or reverse hair loss without surgery by using medications such as finasteride (for men) and minoxidil (for men and women). Additionally, there other modalities that can make your hair look thicker without surgery, such as Scalp MicroPigmentation (SMP). Of course, there is also hair transplant surgery, an example of which can be found here.

Granted, many readers of this site are knowledgeable about the treatment options available, but just in case some of you weren’t familiar with them, I hope the above was helpful.

Tags: hair loss, hairloss, awareness, dermatology

 

Here’s a story about a patient that has had four total hair transplant procedures — procedure #1 and #2 in 1995-1996 with us totaling 3286 hair grafts, procedure #3 with another doctor a couple of years ago of 1000 grafts, and finally procedure #4 (to fix procedure #3). This gentleman continued to lose hair after his first two procedures in the mid-1990s, and although he did not like what was happening to him, he was reluctant to have another procedure.

That is, until he saw an advertisement for hair transplants at $2/graft. At that price, he decided that one more surgery would solve his problem. Unfortunately, this cheap procedure produced a harsh, detectably grafted hairline which made him never really satisfied with the final results. He came back to us to correct this harsh hairline to some degree about a year ago with one of our standard hairline repairs, but he still did not like his look and the larger grafts from procedure #3 still showed.

We are all torn between what we hope to achieve and what we really end up achieving, and progressive hair loss during the treatment phase does not help the problem. This particular patient had unrealistic expectations and that is why he went to another doctor who, based upon promises, sold him a procedure that just made him angry with himself for falling for a sales pitch. As planned, after the repair of the frontal hairline that we performed a year ago, he came in for Scalp MicroPigmentation (SMP) about a month ago and told me that he is now euphoric with the results (today was the last SMP procedure).

Why didn’t you offer me this 15 years ago,” he asked. I told him that it was not available until three years ago. “Innovation moves at its own pace, driven by problems that need solutions,” I told him. This innovation took time and the right circumstances to find its place in our treatment regimen. He continued to discuss the personal toll that he experienced with his hair loss and his recent dependency on surgery to fix something that he did not like. “It was not pleasant, but now things are different,” he continued. And he can put the entire hair loss experience and the toll it took on his self confidence behind him. It was rewarding to hear this from him, so I decided to share it with our readers.

Many people can not achieve their goals of a perfect end look because they either:

  1. don’t have enough hair to cover the balding area
  2. their balding pattern is advanced and the supply/demand equation for hair does not math out, or
  3. they continue to lose hair without a Master Plan that took into account the progressive nature of the hair loss.

Scalp MicroPigmentation bridges the gap for many people who fall into the above categories. Doctors want to believe that given enough money, every person that they treat can get a full head of hair; however, nothing can be further than the truth.

I continue to write this blog because it is an important part of our practice, educating patients and bringing them to understanding what is happening to them. At the last ISHRS physicians meeting, I was told many times that the doctors in this industry read my blog and that it has become a resource for them when dealing with their patients. That just adds to our (editors) satisfaction in knowing that this blog is a good community service.

Tags: hair transplant, hair restoration, scalp micropigmentation, smp, hairloss, hair loss, reality

 

Hey Dr Rassman,

If a patient were to come and request to have as many grafts that their donor supply would allow then have the SMP procedure done in between those grafts and also had the scar camouflaged in the back of the scalp, wouldn’t it be nearly impossible to tell the persons head of hair from a non balding person?

Like for those individuals with high donor densities if some had 10,000 grafts placed on their scalp then had the micro pigmentation procedure done i would think they would be able to get close to their juvenile hairline back and they would also be able to grow their hair out to probably a number 1 clipper without it looking too odd. What are your thoughts on this?

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Yes, we have done this before. Here’s an example of a patient that wasn’t satisfied with his transplant and had SMP done to give it a fuller look. Another patient that comes to mind had SMP done first, then had 500 or so FUE grafts placed into his head to give him the feel of stubble.

Though, if you’re going to have 10,000 grafts placed, I would probably wonder why you’d want to shave your head down to a 1 guard.

Tags: smp, hair transplant, pigment, scalp micropigmentation

 

I recently started using Toppik and I’m always worried that it’s going to come off on my pillow or I’ll get caught in a rain storm and have my “hair” wash away. SMP would be like a permanent Toppik, yes?

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I had a discussion with one of our hair transplant patients who continued to use Toppik to get the fullness he needed despite having a reasonable hair transplant result. This man in his late 50s received around 5500 grafts, which was not quite enough to cover his entire Norwood class 6 balding pattern, so he became dependent upon using concealers like Toppik and DermMatch even after the transplants were completely grown in.

This patient is a daily swimmer, and with his primary exercise being in the pool he was always wearing a swim cap to deal with the Toppik running down his head once it got wet. I told him about Scalp MicroPigmentation (SMP) and how it could be done to supplement his hair transplant to increase the illusion of fullness, much like what he was doing with the concealers. He had the SMP done and was able to give up the Toppik dependency.

He said, “Now I swim without a swim cap and you can not believe the freedom I got by that SMP treatment. I am single and now that my hair looks like I am 40 again, my life has turned another page“.

Tags: smp, toppik, dermmatch, concealers, scalp micropigmentation, hairloss, hair loss, hair transplant

 

I have heard that scalp micro-pigmentation can look quite artificial if you have none or very little hair remaining on your frontal hairline. To what extent does it look artificial under the conditions I previously mentioned? Is it artificial to the point that anybody walking around with it can easily be spotted or is it more subtle (i.e you would really need to pay attention to the person)?

All of this is of course assuming that the head is either wet shaved or buzzed to a 0. I know it’s not perfect but with little existing hair remaining can micropigmentation still frame your frontal hair line in a somewhat natural and realistic way without catching the attention of every on-looker?

I don’t mind telling those I am close to but I wouldn’t want everybody looking at my head either. I’m 24 now, I still have a hairline but I will probably be totally bald (norwood 7) by the time I’m 30 or 35. I would just like to know and I don’t want to be pressured into doing it or anything like that.

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If I understand your question correctly, you have lost much of the frontal edge of your hairline and want it put back with SMP. You seem to understand that if you have SMP done at the leading edge of the hairline where you lost the hair, that you must shave your entire head and keep it short. That’s the most important thing to know, and we call that the bold look on our website.

One should not be able to tell the SMP from normal hair, even close up, provided that the scalp is completely shaved. If you allow the surrounding hair to grow out too long, it will create an obvious change in depth that would make the areas with SMP look different. But if you keep it shaved, it will blend in just fine.

Tags: pigment, smp, hairloss, hair loss, scalp micropigmentation

 

A while back you mentioned a new SMP pigment that might be reversible with one laser treatment. Sorry if I missed your follow up on that. How did that turn out?

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The pigment we use for Scalp MicroPigmentation (SMP) is reversible with laser pigment removal; however, it may require more than one treatment. There is also a risk for hair loss with the laser pigment removal.

A while back, we were made aware of an ink that was reportedly able to be removed with one laser treatment, but the company that produced the product apparently was sold and the ink hasn’t been made available.

Tags: smp, pigment, hairloss, hair loss, laser removal

 

This patient came to see us after having a hair transplant (from another clinic) that still left him not a full as he would like. We offered Scalp MicroPigmentation (SMP) as an alternative option to having further transplant surgeries. He took this alternative option and the transformation was very exciting.

It would have taken between 3500-6000 grafts had he gone the hair transplant route and the results would have taken possibly 16 months for two procedures. The results you see here were instantaneous — no waiting period — although he had some touch-ups after the initial session.

Click the photos to enlarge:

After:

 

Before:

 

Tags: smp, scalp micropigmentation, hairloss, hair loss

 

Hello dr Rassman
Am thinking about having SMP but am not sure if i will get the same result as dermmatch. i had HT about 8000 grafts, and now when i use dermmatch with a little of toppic fiber my hair looks perfect but i want something permanent. so please i need help to decide.

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DermMatch is a kind of powdered paint (albeit a crude description) — it is not permanent and while it is not detectable up close when applied correctly, you can feel it and it does come off on your pillow and hands if you rub your scalp. Toppik is a similar temporary camouflaging product, but it adds little fibers to existing hairs to provide a visual bulk.

On the other hand, Scalp MicroPigmentation (SMP) is permanent, you can not feel it by touch, and if it is done by someone that knows what they are doing it should not be detectable up-close. Everyone is different and whether this is what you want to do is a something you’ll need to decide on.

What I would suggest is that you attend one of our Open House events in Los Angeles. We hold them every month in our office and we show off actual patients who have had SMP done so you can see it being done, feel it (with the permission of the patient) and look at it up-close to judge the answer to your questions yourself. Seeing and touching is believing.

Tags: dermmatch, toppik, hairloss, hair loss, scalp micropigmentation, smp, pigment

 

Hey Doc,

Regarding the order of SMP and a HT (either FUE or Strip) – is an order of procedures preferred or needed? Specifically, if a younger candidate with the beginnings of thinning hair wanted to get SMP first to “fill in” some thin spots while anticipating the need of a HT procedure down the road, would the ink from the SMP hurt the recipient area? Thanks so much!

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There is no real anatomical risk to the Scalp MicroPigmentation (SMP); however, there is something that we call the Master Plan that you need to discuss with your doctor, which includes planning for SMP and hair transplants.

If you want us to be your doctor, please contact my office at 800-NEW-HAIR and send me some good photos. I will be happy to offer you a free consultation and keep your photos confidential.

Tags: smp, pigment, hairloss, hair loss, hair transplant

 

A 55 year old male patient had a complete Scalp MicroPigmentation of the scalp done. He has changed his hairstyle from long hair with a balding pattern to a shaved head.

He sent me this short email that I wanted to share:


About a week after my procedure, I was at a party where I met a number of guys that I didn’t know. Sometime later in the evening, the topic of conversation shifted to age, and we did the “guess my age” bit. Guesses of those who were in the 50 year old range were pegged between 45-60. When it came to me, they all guessed I was in my mid 30s! Totally made my day.

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Awesome! I’m glad your day was made and I’m pleased that you’re enjoying your new look.

Tags: smp, age, hairloss, hair loss, pigment, scalp micropigmentation

 

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