After treatment, most clients can expect not to need a touch-up session for around 4-8 years. Protecting your scalp from the sun can help prolong your treatment and increase the time between touch-ups.
Long term pigment fading is normal and expected, and is principally caused by ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun, and your immune system trying to absorb the pigment deposits. Whilst there is little you can do to reduce the effect of your natural immune system and how it reacts to foreign substances in the body, exposure to the suns harmful rays is something you can seek to reduce.
I’ll put to one side the usual advice about wearing sunscreen to help avoid skin cancer and other conditions. You know all that stuff already, but in case you don’t you should read this article.
The reality is that some people take sensible precautions in the sun, and some do not. Bear in mind though, even if you tan really easily and do not burn, this changes nothing about how your pigments react. Spend a lot of time in strong sunlight without taking any precautions, and your pigment dots will fade faster. It’s as simple as that.
We’re not talking about a catastrophic level of fading here. For example the consequence could be that a touch-up is needed after five years instead of six. It is up to the individual to decide for themselves what precautions they want to take. Some may wish to prolong their pigment shade for as long as possible and are happy to take all necessary precautions. Others might say “to hell with the precautions”, which is fine of course as long as they understand that slightly more frequent touch-up sessions may be necessary.
Please note that the impact of your decision either way is not affected by your skin type. For example people who are used to sitting out in the sun all day and tan really easily are no more at risk (or less at risk) than those who burn easily, with all other variables being equal. The impact is influenced purely and simply by how many hours you spend in the sun, the strength of the UV rays and the precautions you take, or not as the case may be.
We have a responsibility to our clients to provide the right advice. For this reason we advise all clients to take sensible precautions in the sun. Not only will this reduce the chance of you having some form of cancer in the future, it will also help to prolong your SMP pigments.
We advise all clients to use a sunscreen of an appropriate SPF factor when exposed to the sun, with a minimum recommendation of SPF30. We also advise clients to wear a hat when the sun is particularly strong, or when exposed to the sun for a long period of time. Clearly those living and/or working in hot, outdoor or marine environments are at greater risk, and extra measures should therefore be taken to protect the scalp from the sun.
For more aftercare guidelines see this section of our knowledgebase.