Does SMP hurt, and how can pain be managed effectively?

SMP Information

Much of the discussion that takes place in our forum includes comments about the level of pain or discomfort during a session.

What pain (if any) is experienced varies from person to person. Everyone has a different pain threshold, and we’ve found this has little to do with how strong or ‘manly’ they are. Big muscular guys experience pain just as much as our other clients, so you should not think that how much pain you experience, or how well you handle it, is any reflection on your masculinity.

There is clearly going to be some discomfort, as the process involves inserting a needle into the scalp multiple times to introduce the pigment. Although the treatment is minimally invasive in comparison to a hair transplant, the scalp is still red afterwards and needs time to heal. It is reasonable therefore to expect some pain, but nothing to any major degree.

How much pain are we talking?

It varies, but the general consensus is that having an SMP treatment hurts less than having a tattoo.

There are certain parts of the scalp that may hurt more than others. For example some clients report that the area around their frontal hairline is more sensitive, as well as their temples. Any scars that are treated are more unpredictable, but as a general rule raised scars tend to hurt less whilst indented scars tend to hurt a little more. Some scars have no sensation whatsoever.

Pain levels are often expressed by members of our forum on a scale of 1-10, and most people say its somewhere between a 3 and a 7, which is a pretty broad brush!

Ways to reduce the pain

There are a number of things you can do to improve your general level of comfort during your treatment sessions. The first piece of advice is to stay calm, as the pain levels are not too bad and there is a lot of evidence to support the idea that a calm mind has a therapeutic effect on the amount of pain experienced, due to the release of endorphins. Women in labour are usually given the same advice.

If you want to try pain relief drugs, please note that HIS Hair Clinic is not allowed to recommend or supply any particular painkillers.

Feedback from our clients suggests that strong painkillers such as codeine or percocet are useful. Even standard painkillers like ibuprofen and paracetamol (branded as Tylenol in the United States) can apparently offer some benefits. The general consensus however is to avoid any painkillers that may thin the blood such as aspirin, as this could cause slightly more bleeding than normal during the treatment which may cause larger amounts of pigment to be flushed from the scalp before its had a chance to settle.

Some members suggest alcohol as a pain relief mechanism, however please be aware that if you turn up to your session in an intoxicated state, we reserve the right to refuse treatment.

More resources

If you want to find out more about the subject of pain during scalp micropigmentation sessions, try the following links:


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