What is scalp tattooing (smp)

Scalp tattooing, also known as scalp micropigmentation (SMP), is a cosmetic procedure that involves the application of specialized pigments to the scalp to mimic the appearance of natural hair follicles. It is commonly used to address
various scalp conditions and aesthetic concerns, such as hair loss, thinning hair, baldness, and scars from hair transplant surgery or injury.

During a scalp tattooing procedure, a specialized tattoo machine or micro-needle to deposit tiny dots of pigment into the upper layers of the scalp. These pigmented dots are strategically placed to create the illusion of a fuller, denser hairline or to camouflage areas of thinning hair or baldness.

Scalp tattooing can be customized to match the natural hair color, texture, and density of the individual's existing hair, resulting in a seamless and natural-looking appearance. The procedure can be performed on both men and women of all ages and skin types.

Scalp tattooing offers several benefits compared to other hair restoration options, including:

  1. Appearance of a Fuller Head of Hair: SMP can significantly enhance the appearance of density in people with thinning hair, making it look like a full head of short-cropped hair.
  2. Conceals Imperfections: It can effectively hide scars from hair transplantation or other surgical procedures, as well as birthmarks and other blemishes on the scalp.
  3. Low Maintenance: Once completed, SMP requires very little maintenance, allowing individuals to save time and money on hair care and styling products.
  4. Durable and Long-Lasting: SMP can last for several years before requiring a touch-up, making it a durable solution for hair loss. The pigment fades gradually and naturally over time.
  5. Safe: When performed by a trained and experienced practitioner, SMP is generally safe and has a low risk of side effects.
  6. Non-Invasive: Unlike hair transplant surgery, SMP is non-invasive, with no incisions or stitches required, minimizing the risk of infection and complications.
  7. Instant Results: The effects of SMP are visible immediately after the first treatment session, although it may take several sessions to achieve the full desired effect.
  8. Boosts Confidence and Self-Esteem: Hair loss can significantly impact self-confidence. SMP can restore the look of a fuller head of hair, thereby improving self-esteem and overall quality of life.
  9. Cost-Effective: Compared to ongoing hair loss treatments or surgical options, SMP can be a more cost-effective solution over the long term.
  10. Versatility: SMP can be used to create various looks, from adding density to thinning hair to completely replicating the look of a full shave. It's suitable for all ages, skin types, and stages of hair loss.
  11. Minimal Downtime: There's little to no downtime required after an SMP procedure, allowing individuals to return to their daily activities quickly.

The cost of scalp tattooing will be quoted on a case by case basis. The amount of tattooing varies depending on severity of hair loss therefore not 1 price can cover all cases. You can find a price guide below.

Overall, scalp tattooing can be an effective solution for individuals looking to improve the appearance of their scalp and restore confidence in their overall appearance.


Price Guide

Please note that scalp tattooing prices varies depending on the norwood scale of hair loss! If you need an exact cost, please book a consultation. If you don't want a consultation and would like to proceed to booking, the consultation and price quote will be done at your 1st session. 

Scalp tattooing requires 3 sessions, 7-10 days apart. We recommend booking your 2nd and 3rd sessions straight away to secure your appointments. 

Prices can vary from $1650 (Norwood 1) through to $5500 (Norwood 7) depending on the amount of SMP required. Below is a rough guide of Price and will be confirmed prior to commencing treatment.

Most clients need a full head treatment, meaning the entire top of the head blending down past the crown into the thickest part of the hair on the sides and below the crown area. Average price is $4400-$5500 

Strip scarring suggested charge is $1650 this accounts for blending either side of the scar to create the best camouflage. Scarring which is shorter (<10cm) are charged less. 

FUE scarring can depend on how many grafts were taken - this can take up to 2-3 hours for big mega cases of 4500 grafts or more. Scarring still takes 3 sessions. FUE scarring can be between $1100-$2200. 

Alopecia is highly variable condition and is quite difficult to provide a price. It may be small areas of alopecia areata, or it may be a full scalp totalis which can take up to 5.5 hours charged at $600 inc GST.

Maintenance can be required anywhere from 2-5 years and is charged at an hourly rate of $450hour.


While scalp tattooing, or scalp micropigmentation (SMP), is generally considered a safe procedure, there are certain contraindications or factors that may make some individuals ineligible for the treatment or increase the risk of complications. It's essential for individuals considering SMP to be aware of these contraindications.

Some common contraindications for scalp tattooing include:

  • Skin Conditions: People with certain skin conditions affecting the scalp, such as psoriasis, eczema, and dermatitis, especially during flare-ups, may need to avoid SMP. These conditions can affect how the skin absorbs the pigment and heals.
  • Active Acne or Skin Infections: Active acne or any skin infection on the scalp can interfere with the healing process and may lead to an uneven appearance of the tattoo. It's best to wait until these conditions are fully resolved.
  • Keloid Scarring: Individuals prone to keloid scarring should be cautious, as the process involves creating thousands of tiny punctures in the skin, which could potentially lead to keloid formation.
  • Blood Clotting Disorders: Those with blood clotting disorders or who take blood thinners may experience excessive bleeding during the procedure, which can affect pigment retention and healing.
  • Uncontrolled Diabetes: Diabetes, particularly if uncontrolled, can impair healing and increase the risk of infection post-procedure. It's essential to have diabetes well-managed before undergoing SMP.
  • Cancer: Patients undergoing chemotherapy or radiation therapy should wait until their treatment is complete and consult their doctor. The immune system is often compromised during cancer treatment, increasing the risk of infection.
  • Allergies to Pigments or Dyes: Although rare, some individuals may be allergic to the pigments used in SMP. A patch test can help determine if you have any allergies to the materials used
  • Pregnancy and Breastfeeding: While there's no direct evidence suggesting SMP is harmful during pregnancy or breastfeeding, it is generally advised to avoid such procedures due to the potential risk of stress and infection.
  • Immune System Disorders: Conditions that weaken the immune system can affect healing and may increase the risk of infection after the procedure.
  • Heart Conditions: Those with serious heart conditions should consult with their doctor, as any procedure, including SMP, can pose additional stress on the heart.

It's essential to discuss your medical history, concerns, and suitability for scalp tattooing before undergoing the procedure.

By carefully evaluating any contraindications and following strict safety protocols, you can help ensure a safe and successful outcome from scalp tattooing.

Pre-Treatment Guidelines

Pre-treatment guidelines for scalp tattooing, or Scalp Micropigmentation (SMP), are crucial for ensuring the best possible outcome for the procedure. Following these guidelines can help minimize the risk of complications, ensure optimal pigment retention, and promote effective healing.

Here are some common pre-treatment instructions:

  • Avoid Sun Exposure: Minimize sun exposure to the scalp for at least a few weeks before your treatment. Sunburn or tanning can affect skin sensitivity and pigment absorption. Use a hat or sunscreen to protect the area.
  • Stay Hydrated: Good hydration can improve the condition of your skin. Drink plenty of water in the days leading up to your SMP session.
  • Avoid Blood Thinners: If medically permissible, avoid taking blood-thinning medications and supplements, such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and certain vitamins (like E and omega-3 supplements), for a week before your procedure to reduce the risk of bleeding. Always consult with your doctor before stopping any prescribed medication.
  • Refrain from Alcohol and Caffeine: Avoid alcohol and reduce caffeine intake 24-48 hours before your SMP treatment, as they can increase sensitivity and bleeding.
  • Shave Your Scalp: Depending on the type of look you're aiming for and the instructions from your SMP practitioner, you might be asked to shave your head before your appointment. This can vary based on individual treatment plans.
  • Scalp Care: Keep your scalp in good condition by moisturizing regularly leading up to your treatment. Avoid using harsh chemical products on your scalp for at least a week before your session.
  • Eat a Healthy Meal: The scalp tattoo session takes up to 4 hours. Have a balanced meal before your appointment to ensure you're feeling well and to help stabilize your blood sugar levels during the procedure.
  • Wear Comfortable Clothing: Choose a comfortable, washable outfit for your appointment. The pigment may splatter during the procedure, so it's wise to wear something you don't mind getting stained.
  • Consultation Notes: Bring any notes or questions you may have from your consultation, as well as photos or examples of the hairline design or density you are aiming for, to ensure clear communication with your practitioner.

    Following these pre-treatment guidelines can significantly impact the effectiveness of the SMP treatment and the overall satisfaction with the results.
What to Expect?

Attending a scalp tattooing, or Scalp Micropigmentation (SMP), appointment can be a significant step towards addressing hair loss concerns. Knowing what to expect can help ease any nerves and prepare you for the process. Here's a general overview of what typically happens during an SMP appointment:

  • Initial Assessment: If you haven't had a consultation prior to the day of your appointment, the practitioner will assess your scalp, discuss your goals, and recommend a treatment plan. This is the time to discuss the desired hairline shape, density, and any specific concerns you might have.
  • Color Matching: The practitioner will select pigment colors that closely match your natural hair color to ensure a realistic look.
  • Scalp Cleaning: The practitioner will clean your scalp to remove oils and ensure a sterile work environment.
  • Pain Management: The level of discomfort varies from person to person, but most people report a range of sensations from mild irritation to moderate discomfort. No numbing is required.
  • Microdot Placement: Using a microneedle, I will start implanting tiny dots of pigment into the scalp. The technique mimics the look of hair follicles. The process is meticulous and can take several hours, depending on the area's size and the desired density.
  • Breaks: Depending on the length of the session, you may have short breaks to stretch and relax.
  • Homecare Guidelines: After the session, I will provide specific aftercare instructions to ensure optimal healing and pigment retention. This typically includes keeping the scalp dry for a few days, avoiding certain activities, and how to wash your head.
  • Healing Process: You may notice redness and slight swelling in the treated area, which usually subsides within a few days. The pigment may appear darker initially but will fade to a more natural shade as the scalp heals.
  • Follow-up Sessions: SMP often requires multiple sessions to achieve the desired density and look, with each session spaced 1 weeks apart. Your practitioner will schedule these follow-up appointments accordingly.
  • Entertainment: Since sessions can last several hours, consider bringing headphones to listen to music or podcasts to help pass the time.
  • Gradual Process: The final result is typically achieved after two to four sessions. Patience is key, as the look of the SMP will evolve with each session.
  • Healing Variations: Everyone's skin heals differently, so the experience and results can vary. Trust the process and maintain open communication with your practitioner.

    By setting realistic expectations and following pre- and post-care instructions, you can achieve the best possible outcome from your scalp tattooing experience.
Post-Treatment Guidelines

Post-treatment care is crucial for healing and achieving the best results from Scalp Micropigmentation (SMP). Proper aftercare can help prevent infection, ensure optimal pigment retention, and promote a smooth recovery. Here are general guidelines to follow after your SMP treatment:

Immediate Aftercare (First 72 Hours)

  • Avoid Touching: Keep your hands away from the treated area to prevent infection and irritation.
  • Keep it Dry: Avoid washing the scalp or exposing it to water for the first few days (typically 3-5 days) following treatment. This helps the pigment settle and prevents it from washing out or fading unevenly.
  • No Shaving: Avoid shaving the treated area for at least a few days to allow the skin to heal.
  • Sun Exposure: Stay out of direct sunlight. If you must go outside, wear a hat or apply a physical barrier (like a bandana) to protect the scalp from UV rays.

Short-Term Care (First Week)

  • Gentle Washing: After the initial 72-hour period, you can start gently washing your scalp with lukewarm water and a mild, fragrance-free soap or shampoo. Pat the area dry with a clean towel—no rubbing.
  • Moisturize: Your practitioner may recommend a specific moisturizer to use after the first few days to keep the skin hydrated and promote healing.
  • Avoid Sweating: Refrain from heavy exercise, saunas, or any activity that might cause excessive sweating. Sweat can introduce bacteria to the area and affect how the pigment settles.
  • No Swimming: Stay away from swimming pools, hot tubs, and natural bodies of water to prevent exposing the treated area to chemicals and bacteria.

Long-Term Care

  • Sun Protection: Prolonged exposure to the sun can cause the pigment to fade over time. Use a high-SPF sunscreen on the scalp or wear a hat when spending extended periods outdoors.
  • Routine Moisturizing: Keeping the scalp moisturized can help maintain the appearance of the SMP treatment. Use a quality, fragrance-free moisturizer.
  • Touch-Up Sessions: Attend any recommended touch-up sessions, which may be necessary to fill in any areas that need adjustment or to refresh the look of the SMP as it fades naturally over time.

Additional Tips

  • Healing Process: It's normal for the treated area to look darker immediately after the procedure. The color will gradually lighten to a more natural shade during the healing process.
  • Flaking: Some flaking or scabbing may occur as the scalp heals. Do not pick or scratch at these areas, as it can lead to pigment loss or scarring.
  • Follow-Up Care: Attend follow-up appointments to assess the healing process, make any necessary adjustments, and ensure the best possible outcome.

By following these post treatment guidelines and communicating openly with your technician, you can help ensure a safe and successful healing process and achieve optimal results from scalp tattooing.

If you have any questions or concerns about post-treatment care, don't hesitate to contact me for guidance and support.