Why do some scalp micropigmentation treatments turn blue?

SMP Information

Anyone who has studied scalp micropigmentation for any length of time will have heard some of the horror stories told by some poor soul who had SMP at a less than reputable clinic, then wound up with a blue head.

Why exactly does this happen, and how do you know this won’t be the case for you? These are questions that every man considering scalp micropigmentation should consider.

You may have noticed that the blue effect is generally paired with over-sized dots or a smudge effect, so I’ll tackle these two issues together as they are intrinsically linked.

Two factors come into play here – the type of ink used, and the penetration depth of the needle.

The wrong ink used for SMP

You’ll notice I used the word ‘ink’, not ‘pigment’. That’s because high quality scalp micropigmentation treatments use pigment, not ink. Ink is the realm of tattoo artists, and ironically that shot across the bow isn’t too far off the mark.

3d smp
This is how a quality scalp micropigmentation treatment should look, and not a hint of blue in sight!

Tattoo ink, and the pigments used by most permanent makeup practitioners, are made of a blend of different colours to achieve a black or grey shade. Just the same as the ink in your printer, colours are mixed to create a black ink that is suitable for tattoos. When the ink is placed within the skin and is attacked by the immune system and ultraviolet rays from the sun, the ink breaks down into its constituent colours and a blue hue is the usual result. Ever seen an aged tattoo? That’s basically what happens on your head.

SMP Pigment on the other hand, is made of pure black compound, so there are no constituent colours. Therefore it doesn’t matter what the pigment is subjected to. It could even degrade entirely, but it will never turn blue because the compound doesn’t contain any blue. It would be entirely impossible.

Pigments deposited too deeply

The same technicians that use the wrong pigments for SMP, are usually the same people who deposit those pigments too deep in the skin. Both of these flaws in their process are the result of a lack of specialist training, but are equally as damaging.

The cellular structure of the skin is much more tightly packed near the skins surface. Deeper into the dermal layer, the cells start to become less structured and more fluid. This enables pigment deposits to spread, resulting in dots that are much larger than they should be. In some cases, individual dot definition is completely lost and the resulting smudge or blur is all that remains. Needless to say, this offers an extremely poor representation of real hair. This smudge effect can be seen in the video above.

The issue of pigments smudging or turning blue, is purely down to the inexperience or poor training of the practitioner. Scalp micropigmentation professionals use the correct pigments, and know exactly how to execute a successful treatment. Before you go rushing into your nearest tattoo shop for a restored hairline, think about what you’re doing and ask yourself if going to a poorly skilled practitioner is really worth the risk.


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