The failures to create realistically looking hair with SMP, as well as successful tattooing, mostly depend on peculiarities of pigment injection. Here is what every SMP artist should take into account:
– The pigments color should match the person’s complexion, although it should be considered that even fair hair’s stubbles look dark. The shades vary from gray and lighter brown to black hues depending on the patient’s Skin phototype or/and race. However, the use of black color (primarily for African patients) may result in the risk of major color alterations: greenish or bluish hair looks.
– The SMP technique recreates hair stubbles between the pores of the scalp. To achieve a realistic result the number of pores (i.e. the hair follicles between them) should be taken into account, thus the average level of hair density is generally defined by the race. For the Caucasians it’s the average of 50.000 follicular units, for Asians 40.000 follicular units, for Africans 30.000 follicular units. The stippling of pigment injection can vary in order to achieve the necessary shading and the optical illusion of hair fullness and texture.
– The SMP process mechanism is confined in inserting a droplet of pigment into upper dermis with a fine needle that perforates the skin. Standard tattoo equipment for SMP allows 1 to 6 #1 needles to be used and supports 100 to 150 cycles per second. For covering larger areas a Hair Follicle Simulation roller can be used. The roller comprises of 56 needles, which are placed on the roller wheel in a staggered order. The device is operated by a vibrating spring mechanism. Being moved on the scalp, it produces multiple small dots creating the illusion of hair stubbles. The roller spares up to 80% of the artist’s effort, however once the wrong move is done it cannot be fixed, which presents a certain difficulty in application.
– Depth of needle insertion, time the needle is left in the scalp and angle of needle against surface are values controlled by the artist manually. As the scalp thickness fluctuates on various areas, the artist needs to constantly adjust to the produced effect at the tactile and visual levels.
– Healthy scalp with normal amount of underlying fat tissue and supporting infrastructure (e.g. blood vessels) differs considerably from atrophic scalp and scar tissue, thus their turgor pressure will be dissimilar. A well-trained artist has to take into account the factor of skin resistance, for it is not uncommon to work on normal and abnormal scalp conditions in proximity to each other in the same patient.
– The depth of pigment placement is a variable that defines the success of the SMP procedure the most. The pigment injected too close to the surface of the scalp, i.e. into the epidermis, will leak out within several days after the treatment is performed. Consequently, the proper placement should be effectuated in the dermis.