SMP and fading – the facts

SMP Information

Getting a scalp micropigmentation (SMP) treatment is a long-term commitment. The inks used to create the pigments are indelible and could potentially last for a lifetime. There are however, concerns about fading. It is a fact that these pigments may dull over time. There is a way to regulate this and one should read on to find out how to care for your SMP treatment after receiving it.

There is the type of fading which is accepted and others that are not. Knowing the different kinds of fading would be good to start the discussion. An appreciation of the periods when they occur can be helpful. Providing the distinctions may help shed light on the matter:


Mid treatment

An SMP session usually lasts two to three hours. Depending on the degree of hair loss, the entire treatment can be completed after two or three sessions. Clients are advised to return about a week after each session. The purpose for this time period is to provide an opportunity for the scalp to fully recover and the pigments to be absorbed. There will be some fading during this period. It is necessary because the practitioner has to determine if the pigments will be able to hold up or not. This will be the basis of how they should proceed with the succeeding session.

Another point to consider is that pigmentation is laid out layer by layer to produce the best outcome. It is important to understand that the pigment dots are built up in layers for maximum effect. An adept practitioner can present pigments of varying tones that come together to form the illusion of “just-shaved” hair. Patients have sometimes felt disheartened after a few days of the first session. Their delight on the first day would turn into disenchantment when they see the signs of fading. This however, is part of the process. It is necessary in order to determine the next step toward the completion of a full SMP treatment.

Settling – from ninety to one hundred eighty days from the last session

One should expect that the pigments would have fully integrated itself unto the scalp by this time. Its appearance is a good representation of how the SMP should look like for the long haul. The pigments will reduce in circumference, look less fine and less clear. The hairline will look less sharp and patchy areas should disappear. The settling phase is where one could work out their daily ritual and practice shaving every two to three days. One should also be mindful to avoid extended sun exposure and remember to always keep the scalp moisturised.

Long term – two or more years

The clinic or specialist that performed the SMP, the locality of the client and the degree of care and maintenance that one routinely provides after the treatment, can also determine fading. There are so many factors that can influence fading as a result. An SMP procedure however, is expected to provide clients with lifelong benefits. It is recommended that clients come in every four to five years to have a check-up and possibly, touch-up sessions to refresh the SMP pigments and update the hairline and side profiles if necessary.

Aftercare for SMP to guard against fading

It would be challenging to totally guard against fading. Ultraviolet rays and one’s immune system influence how these pigments can maintain their vibrancy. It would be difficult to stay out of the sun and it is unavoidable to control how one’s bodily functions affect the pigments. There are however, other things one can do to minimise fading:

  • Keep the scalp dry, avoid brisk scrubbing and do not swim within thirty days following each session
  • Minimize sun exposure, if it is unavoidable use high SPF sunscreen and wear a hat if out during noon time
  • Bleach or alcohol based products are not to be used on the scalp
  • A non-greasy, light moisturizer should be used every day


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