A lot of the confusion surrounding scalp micropigmentation is caused by people conflating it with microblading, but they don’t actually do the same thing. “Microblading relies on small strokes, semi-permanent ink and a blade that cuts into the skin – it’s quite different,” says Jara.

It’s also easy to get lost in tattoo jargon. “Essentially, we tattoo like a tattoo artist, except we strategically use smaller, thinner needles to replicate the size of the tiny hair follicles,” Hernandez said.

The needle used for this procedure only penetrates 1.5 to 2 mm into the top layer of the dermis. “This is the best option for scalp micropigmentation,” says Jara. “If the needle touches only the superficial layers of the skin, cell turnover can cause the pigment to fade rapidly. Going deep into the subcutaneous layer, the pigment deforms and spreads, leaving the scalp with round spots.”

Overall, scalp micropigmentation may be useful for those looking for a pure cosmetic improvement for hair loss, says Michelle Henry, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in New York City who also specializes in hair restoration. “But it’s important to understand that it doesn’t cause hair regrowth,” she says, adding that scalp micropigmentation doesn’t damage hair follicles either. “If someone has a tattoo on their arm, it doesn’t turn into an area of ​​hair loss, so the process shouldn’t inhibit hair growth.”

Who is a good candidate for scalp micropigmentation?

Those dealing with thinning hair, hair loss, and visible scalp scarring after hair transplant or surgery will benefit the most from scalp micropigmentation. “A major area of ​​concern for men is the hairline and crown,” says Jara. “For women, it’s usually the temples and where they often part their hair.”

However, if you have an underlying skin condition, proceed with caution. “The type of patients who might want to talk to a dermatologist first have a lot of keloids and get what we call ‘spontaneous keloids’ from something as tiny as an acne scar,” Dr. Henry noted. People with active eczema or psoriasis may also be at risk because of their tendency to flare up in traumatized areas, she said.

Does scalp micropigmentation work if you already have hair?

The short answer is yes. Depending on the pattern of hair loss, there are several options. People with thinning hair can have follicles tattooed into areas that still have hair growth to create the appearance of volume (also known as “hair density scalp micropigmentation”).