Can Scalp Micropigmentation Fade Over Time?


In recent years, scalp micropigmentation has emerged as one of the most effective ways to conceal hair loss. This revolutionary treatment is less expensive and less invasive than hair transplants, which unlike SMP, requires significant downtime and leaves scars. In addition, scalp micropigmentation is more effective than other non-invasive treatments like Propecia, Rogaine, and Biotin shampoos. But how long does scalp micropigmentation last? Can it fade over time? 

The short answer is yes; scalp micropigmentation does fade. While the procedure will not simply wash off, it will slowly lighten-up over time. To understand why this happens, you will need to learn how scalp micropigmentation is applied. Let’s start with your skin, which is made up of three main layers:

  • The Epidermis is the outer, waterproof layer that creates your skin tone. This layer regenerates and renews.
  • The Dermis is underneath the epidermis and is made up of tough connective tissue, hair follicles, and sweat glands.
  • The Hypodermis is the deeper layer and is made of connective tissues and fat.

Why scalp micropigmentation fades

Regular tattoos are applied deep into the dermis, while SMP pigments are placed just below the epidermis. Also, regular tattoos use inks that are more concentrated compared to SMP, which uses specialized organic grey pigments. Regardless, with time your immune system will break down any type of ink and carry it into the lymphatic system to break it down and excrete, this causes the SMP to fade. 

With this in mind, if SMP pigments are placed too deep, the shape of the hair follicle will expand, creating an undesirable look. Placing the pigments just underneath the epidermis allows you have a maintenance-free look for anything between one to five years. With scalp micropigmentation, there are two types of fading: rapid fading between sessions, and long-term fading over the years.

Fading between scalp micropigmentation sessions

In order to achieve the perfect look, you will require multiple scalp micropigmentation sessions, usually 2-4 depending on your skin type. Between sessions, fading is commonplace. However, this is not actually ‘fading’. What is occurring is that the skin is healing from the ‘wounds’ made by the microneedle. These micro scabs are larger than the pigment deposit, and much darker too.

Once the micro scabs fall off, the new skin grows over the SMP and you see the ink through a thin layer of skin which acts like a filter and makes the ink look lighter.  So it is actually a natural way of the skin healing and not exactly a true fading. This is completely normal as it creates a more realistic look.

Long term fading

Long term scalp micropigmentation fading is unavoidable. The lightening of pigments over time is mainly caused by few factors – your immune system breaking down the pigment deposits, and exposure to UV rays from the sun, your skin type and the products you use.

The more you expose your scalp to sun rays, the faster your pigmentation will fade away. So, it is advised to wear sunscreen when you go out for the extended periods of time and avoid tanning beds. To correct long term fading, touch-up sessions are recommended every 2-4 years. These sessions are shorter than your original sessions, and cost significantly less.

How often do I need touch-ups?

It depends on the rate at which the pigmentation fades. Some clients request touch-ups after a year or two, while others need it every 3-4  years.  If you notice that the SMP area is starting to look lighter than the area with your own hair growth, that’s the time to call us to book your touch up session.  Also, please remember that SMP is suppose to blend in with the shaved hair and not with hair that grows for few days ( unless we are doing a density treatment for clients that still have a lot of their own hair, without any bald spots) 

A touch-up enhances and refreshes your look again, and you can book an appointment if you want to add density, make it slightly darker or want to cover more areas where you noticed more recession since the original treatment. Scalp micropigmentation is life changing and is guaranteed to provide you with long-lasting results. Once the treatment is complete, a simple touch-up will keep your look fresh without a significant dent in your wallet

If you are not sure if you need a touch up, give us a call so we can book a quick appointment to see if it should be done now or in the next few months.  We always like to see you again and we are here to answer all your questions. 

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