Is Scalp Micropigmentation a Tattoo?

The top of the debate list in the SMP industry has to be is scalp micropigmentation a tattoo?

The internet is crammed to the very gunnels full of conflicting opinions and if you hit the question into your search bar the answers are nothing short of confusing. It would certainly appear to divide the nation. Some say SMP is a tattoo, some say SMP isn’t a tattoo.

SMP and Tattooing – Similarities

What are the similarities between scalp micropigmentation and tattooing which are resulting in confusion… or maybe not?

  • Both treatments are administered using a machine that is handheld and fitted with a tiny needle. Often, available machines can be used for both SMP or tattooing.
  • Scalp micropigmentation and tattooing work equally in that they implant pigments underneath the outer, waterproof layer of skin known as the Epidermis. To add, both procedures implant into the Dermis which is the secondary principal skin layer.
  • With both treatments, once healed it leaves indelible markings. At this point, however, it is important to note that fading for each treatment differs considerably.
  • If you read the above it is very easy to see why some consider this treatment nothing short of a tattoo. But there are differences, and these deem it scalp micropigmentation – and not a classic tattoo, as most of you know tattoos to be.

    SMP and Tattooing – Differences

    • One of the key differences which will change everything between the two treatments is the depth pigment is implanted. As we’ve learned from the above, the secondary layer of your skin is called the Dermis. This layer is made up of several different layers with the one closest to the Epidermis being made up of collagen fibers. The deeper down you go the more elasticated the fibers become until it reaches a fatty layer of tissue. With scalp micropigmentation, the depth of pigment needs to be in the upper layer of the Dermis. This is because the collagen fibers allow for the tiny imitation follicle to maintain its shape. The deeper down into the Dermis the pigment is implanted, the shape blurs. Fine if you are looking for artwork as in a tattoo. Not fine if you are after razor-sharp precision.
    • The result of the above means SMP fades after three to five years. Albeit the mark left is indelible, it will be invisible after a period of time. Tattoos don’t do that. They remain permanent owing to implant depth.
    • Pigment ingredients is another fundamental difference. For SMP they contain natural ingredients that are often plant-based. Chemicals used in tattoo inks are used to achieve color vibrancy, with SMP you don’t need this.
    • And finally, needles. Tattoo needles are smooth, SMP needles have rough edges, albeit invisible to the naked eye.

    So now you have it, all the information you need to make an informed decision. Is scalp micropigmentation a tattoo? You decide. To find out more about this innovative and contemporary treatment, just reach out to us right here.