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Micropigmentation vs Microblading For Hair Loss

When it comes to hair loss or hair thinning, we have a lot to be grateful for.

Over the last few decades, we’ve seen plenty of developments in the line of hair loss concealment, from FDA-approved medications, to more realistic hair pieces, surgical procedures and more.

More recently, we’ve heard a lot about procedures like microblading and micropigmentation. 

And listen, where with y’all — at first, the two sound a little unnerving and, most of all, permanent.

But there’s a lot to know and understand about these two cosmetic procedures — the differences between them, what they offer, their individual risks and, yes, their potential rewards. 

So, if you’ve been wondering what micropigmentation and microblading are, this is the guide you’ve been waiting for.

What Is Micropigmentation?

Micropigmentation, otherwise known as scalp micropigmentation (SMP), is a special type of cosmetic tattoo performed on the scalp to mimic the look of natural hair follicles. 

SMP is a great option for many men who are suffering from androgenic alopecia and going bald but would not rather rock the “I have hair but I just choose to shave my head” look. 

Unlike typical hair loss solutions, such as hair transplants, scalp micropigmentation offers a tattoo-based, non-medical cover up that creates the illusion of dense hair follicles.

Scalp micropigmentation is performed by a skilled technician, using a combination of carefully placed dots of pigment done by tattoo instruments. 

Practitioners will use many different colored pigments and techniques to make hair follicles look as realistic as possible. 

When done correctly, SMP can help conceal many cosmetic scalp conditions, such as alopecia, thinning, the scar from strip harvesting and more.

Benefits of Micropigmentation

There are plenty of benefits to micropigmentation, but the number one benefit is increased confidence. 

Hair loss can be a devastating blow to anyone’s ego, and feeling good about the way you look again can go a long way.

Here are some of the other benefits of scalp micropigmentation:

  • Little to no downtime. A great benefit to SMP is that there is little to no downtime after the appointment. 
  • Non-surgical. SMP is a great non-surgical alternative for thinning hair, hair loss or someone who is balding, like men with androgenic alopecia. 
  • Good camouflage. Scalp micropigmentation is good at camouflaging scarring from hair transplant surgery, making it appear as though you have a thicker, denser head of hair. It also works to correct patchy spots or uneven hairlines. 
  • Natural appearance. When done correctly, SMP has a very natural appearance.
  • More permanent than other concealers. SMP is a more permanent alternative to powdered and spray-on hair concealers or pigments, and will not drip or shed during a workout or in humid weather.
  • Buh-bye, wigs and toupees. Scalp micropigmentation is also a great alternative for men who aren’t into wearing a wig or toupee. 

Risks of Micropigmentation

Given the fact that scalp micropigmentation is essentially a tattoo on your scalp, it’s completely normal to feel nervous for your first appointment. 

Let’s explore some of the potential risks of micropigmentation so you can walk into your appointment feeling confident and prepared. 

Potential risks and side effects of scalp micropigmentation can include:

    • An allergic reaction. This allergic reaction would be due to the ink that the practitioner uses. That’s why it is super important to tell your technician everything you are allergic to prior to getting started.
    • An infection. An infection can come from contaminated equipment. Unsterile equipment and needles can transmit diseases (human papillomavirus, hepatitis), as well as skin infections caused by bacteria like staphylococcus. It’s very important that a new, sterile needle is used in the procedure.
    • Pain and itching. Let’s not forget that you’re essentially getting a tattoo on your head. It won’t tickle. And as the skin repairs and recovers from the procedure, a feeling of itchiness is common. 

Cost of Micropigmentation

Perhaps the biggest downside of micropigmentation is its cost. Because scalp micropigmentation requires a highly skilled and trained practitioner and can take many hours to complete, you can expect to pay for the time and skill.

While costs vary widely depending on things like your location, the individual practitioner, the extent of the procedure, etc., expect to pay in the thousands of dollars range.

What Is Microblading?

Microblading is a form of superficial micropigmentation. 

Basically, it’s a less permanent form of micropigmentation where pigment is deposited on a more superficial level in the skin (up to the papillary dermis). 

This is done with a manual device and a blade consisting of extremely fine, thin stacked needles — hence the term “microblading.” 

Microblading is most often used to enhance the appearance of eyebrows in people who have very thin eyebrows or non-existent eyebrows due to medical conditions or aging. 

The results are crisp, fine hair-like strokes that look like real hair. 

Typically, the pigment in the hair strokes lasts around 12 to 18 months.

Don’t worry — the pain is mild and feels similar to getting a normal tattoo. A numbing cream can also be applied before the procedure to minimize pain.

Benefits of Microblading

According to some research, the eyebrows and lips are two of the structures on a human face that should always be symmetrical.

Similar to micropigmentation, microblading helps many people regain confidence in their appearance. If you have asymmetrical or sparse eyebrows, microblading might be a good option for you.

Nowadays, microblading is not only a cosmetic procedure, but helps people with certain dermatological conditions such as alopecia totalis, hypothyroidism and chemotherapy-induced hair loss. 

It’s a great tool in any dermatology or cosmetic practice for its many uses.

Risks of Microblading

Again, given the fact that microblading is very similar to traditional tattooing, it’s completely normal to feel nervous for your first appointment. 

Let’s explore some of the potential risks of microblading so you can walk into your appointment feeling good.

Potential risks and side effects of microblading are the same as micropigmentation and can include:

  • An allergic reaction. This allergic reaction would be to the ink that the practitioner uses. That’s why it is super important to tell your technician everything you are allergic to prior to getting started.
  • An infection. An infection can come from contaminated equipment. Unsterile equipment and needles can transmit diseases (human papillomavirus, hepatitis), as well as skin infections caused by bacteria like staphylococcus. It’s very important that a new, sterile needle is used in the procedure.
  • Pain and itching. As we mentioned above, microblading is essentially a small, thin, superficial tattoo. Experiencing pain during the procedure or soreness after it is common, as is itchiness while the skin heals and repairs itself.

That being said, even though they’re typically used for different things, if we were comparing which of the two is “safer,” the nod probably goes to microblading, if for no reason other than that it’s typically only used to tattoo the outermost layer of skin, while micropigmentation is typically used for more “permanence.” 

Cost of Microblading

Depending on where you live and where you get it done, expect to pay anywhere from a few hundred to as much as a couple thousand dollars for microblading. 

While less expensive than micropigmentation, you’re really only going to find practitioners that specialize in small areas like the eyebrows (as opposed to your entire scalp). 

Does Microblading or Micropigmentation Work Better for Hair Loss?

Micropigmentation delivers pigment much deeper into the skin compared to microblading. 

This means that the results of micropigmentation typically last about twice as long as microblading. Microblading lasts anywhere from 12-18 months and micropigmentation lasts for about three years or even longer.

The other major difference between microblading and micropigmentation is that microblading is usually done to enhance areas like eyebrows, whereas micropigmentation can be done for the eyebrows, other parts of the face or body and the scalp.

Therefore, as far as which is better to help with hair loss or thinning around the scalp is concerned, the nod definitely goes to micropigmentation. 

Can You Do Both Microblading and Micropigmentation? 

Yes, you can. It’s important to understand that while these two procedures are similar by design, they’re both used to treat different things. 

You can get your eyebrows microbladed and get scalp micropigmentation. If you’re strictly looking for a solution to going bald, however, scalp micropigmentation is the way to go. 

The results will last longer, and the SMP practitioner will be an expert on making it appear the most natural.

Micropigmentation or Microblading?

While they may sound similar, scalp micropigmentation and microblading are two different things. 

Scalp micropigmentation is a special type of cosmetic tattoo performed on the scalp to mimic the look of natural hair follicles. 

Microblading is a less permanent form of scalp micropigmentation and is most often used to enhance the appearance of eyebrows in people who have very thin eyebrows or non-existent eyebrows due to medical conditions or aging.

For more hair loss solutions, check out our blog post 6 Remedies For Baldness.

This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information contained herein is not a substitute for and should never be relied upon for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment.