If you place the question, Is Scalp Micropigmentation a Tattoo? into a Google search, you will get a myriad of different results. And most of them are pretty confusing. They range from “SMP is NOT a tattoo” running right through to “Going bald? There is a tattoo for that”. Yeah, two ends of the scale, right. And each and every result on the very first page of googles result is different – one as conflicting as the next.
So what’s the truth. Is scalp micropigmentation a tattoo? Or is that just one great big fat myth? Well, why don’t you decide?
Scalp Micropigmentation and Tattoos, what’s the difference?
So let’s begin by the procedure itself. How does a technician administer SMP, how does a tattoo artist administer a drawing on a part of the body? Well, it is simple. Using a machine that has microneedles dipped in pigments, the said inks are implanted underneath the upper, waterproof layer of your skin. It’s clear that this is one and the same. There is no argument whatsoever. The procedures for SMP is tantamount to that of tattooing. Now it gets a little more interesting…
Skin is made up of three different principal layers, albeit there are additional sub-layers to get through before you hit some of the principal ones. The outer barrier is called the Epidermis. Underneath that barrier is the Dermis and thereafter the Hypodermis. For an indelible marking to be made by any form of ink or pigment, it needs to be trapped underneath the initial and outer barrier, or Epidermis. If it is not implanted below this, the colour will wash away. The first difference that we are going to cover between SMP is tattooing involves the layers beyond the Epidermis.
Scalp Micropigmentation pigments are implanted into the Dermis layer of the skin.
Tattoo inks are implanted beyond the Dermis layer.
The reasons for the above difference are simple. The deeper the implantation of any type of pigment the more likely it is to lose shape. Hair follicles are small and fine. If you are looking to replicate them, allowing control over the shape is crucial.
But there are another couple of crucials which make the differences.
Pigments used for scalp micropigmentation are, generally speaking, organic and often plant-based. The reasons for this are because they are not only kinder to your skin but also, they won’t risk turning blue or being subject to discolouration. Tattoos are often administered using non-organic inks. They are specifically designed for the job in hand and do not always lend themselves to scalp micropigmentation treatments.
And the final difference. Needles. Standard tattoo needles are far too thick and clumsy for intricate scalp micropigmentation treatments. And scalp micropigmentation needles are far too fine for tattoo procedures.
So the next time someone asks you is scalp micropigmentation a tattoo what will you say? It’s pretty clear that there are similarities. SMP treatments are tantamount to tattoo procedures, that’s for sure. However, scalp micropigmentation fades and requires top-ups. Tattoos are permanent. SMP can look mightily wrong if pigments are implanted beyond the dermis layer. If this happens with a tattoo, it’s just that, a tattoo, which it’s meant to be.