Scalp micropigmentation (or “SMP”) is a method of camouflaging hair loss. Dots of pigment are tatooed into the upper layers of the skin in order to mimic the appearance of a hair follicle cut in cross section. SMP reduces the contrast between the color of the patient’s hair and the color of their scalp and essentially reduces the appearance of hair loss.
SMP is a popular method for camouflaging genetic hair loss in men and women. The technique can also be used for other types of hair loss including alopecia areata and scarring alopecia. This photo shows the use of SMP in a patient with lichen planopilaris (A type of scarring alopecia). The arrows point to the typical perifollicular scale that surrounds hair follicles in LPP. SMP in scarring alopecia can be challenging as inflammation and scar tissue may cause pigments to deposit less reliably and fade disappear more quickly over time. Some patients with scarring alopecia find SMP is not quite as long lasting compared to SMP performed for genetic hair loss or alopecia areata.
Dr. Jeff Donovan is a Canadian and US board certified dermatologist specializing exclusively in hair loss. To schedule a consultation, please call the Vancouver office at 604.283.9299