One of the most important considerations when it comes to performing an SMP is the type of pigment used. Experts have painstakingly developed the pigments used in scalp micropigmentation for their specific purpose. Therefore, even though tattoo inks and SMP inks may use similar pigment compounds, there are some very crucial differences in the composition and techniques used:
- The metal content.
The inks used in SMP have extremely low quantities of metals. On the other hand, traditional tattoo inks have significant quantities of heavy metals like cadmium, iron oxide and even mercury. These metals pose a huge health risk. They may cause allergic reactions, scarring and eczema. Some metals like mercury may have direct toxic effects if they get into circulation. Tattoo inks also cause interference with Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scans and other similar scans.
- The depth of injection into the skin.
Tattoo artists inject tattoo inks deep into the middle dermis of the skin while SMP ink is injected at the very top of the dermis, just below the epidermis of the skin. This means that the procedure is less painful than a regular tattoo. Furthermore, the increased depth of traditional tattoo inks means that they are more accessible to the immune system. This enhances their degradation by the body’s immunity and more severe inflammatory reaction which causes pain and swelling. Unfortunately, the shallow depth of SMP ink means that it’s more exposed to the UV rays of the sun.
- Resistance to degradation by UV light.
UV radiation has a very high energy and can break the chemical bonds in many compounds. When this happens to pigments, UV rays break them down causing them to quickly fade away or change colour. High quality SMP pigments are specially formulated so that their chemical bonds are highly resistant to the effect of UV radiation. They therefore last long beneath the skin even though they are injected closer to the skin surface. Even when the UV radiation degrades SMP inks, they break down in a stable manner without changing colour. This allows them to last for years before fading.
The Tricopigmentation Ink
While the idea of SMP was still new, many potential clients were leery of opting for a relatively unknown procedure whose effects lasted for 3-6 years. As a result, a new SMP ink was developed which enabled patients to test the waters and first determine whether or not the procedure worked effectively. This ink led to the development of a new form of the procedure called temporary SMP or tricopigmentation.
The ink used differs from the one in the previous permanent SMP in that it is reversible and bio-compatible. The pigments used in the ink are small particles so that the immune cells can easily swallow them up and get rid of them. Consequently, the effects of the procedure reverse after about 12 months as the ink fades. You need another session of SMP to maintain the effect after that.
Tricopigmentation is the best option for those who aren’t confident in the results. Additionally, it’s also very suitable in the early stages of progressive hair loss since the technician can deal with future hair loss during the reapplications of the ink.
However, these repeated sessions can be quite expensive in the long run.
Lifespan of a Scalp-Micropigmentation ?
Due to the degradation of the pigments by the body’s immune system and the UV radiation from the sun, the ink injected into the scalp eventually fades. Even the so-called ‘permanent’ SMP inks don’t last forever.