How Do You Do Scalp Micropigmentation?
It’s a little bit different from a traditional tattoo in that while the FDA defines tattoos as anything that implants ink or pigments underneath the skin, scalp micropigmentation is really a distant cousin of traditional tattoos.
The main difference between traditional tattooing and scalp micropigmentation are the tools, the needles, and the pigment. I’ll explain them below:
If you’ve ever seen a traditional coil machine, they’re very large. A traditional coil machine is similar to a digital rotary machine except there would be an extension with a single feed long needle and then an attachment motor at the end. They’re a great deal heavier, a lot louder, whereas this is very quiet and the reason it’s much quieter is because the motor is not inside the pen. It’s actually inside a separate box that controls the needle depth, vibration, and then speed. So speed is going to be how fast the needle comes in and out. Vibration is going to be the rate at which the machine vibrates in order to get the pigment under the skin, and the needle depth obviously means how much of the needle is going to be coming out of the actual machine. that is much different than a coil machine where the artist controls the depth by hand and then they control the speed of the machine via the motor that’s attached to the end.
It’s a different balance, a different kind of expertise it takes to use this versus to use a traditional coil machine.
Scalp micropigmentation practitioners use two needles. There are two different needles that are the standards to get the kind of results that people want from scalp micropigmentation and they are two different formations.
The first one is 3RL, and what that stands for is round liner. It’s the type of needle that goes into these needle formations. So there are three in a 3RL—3 round liner and when you have three round liners, you get a reduced chance of what’s called a blowout. Newer artists or practitioners sometimes use 1RLs. That’s a one round liner when you use a one round liner, if you’re inexperienced, if you go too deep, or if you go too shallow, you’re not going to get the result that you’re looking for.
With a 3RL and a 5RL, you can alternate between the two and as your scalp micropigmentation heals because it’s the 2 to 3 procedure service. You’re going to see a variation in size and realistic nature of the tattoo hair follicle replications, and that is why these needles are so important. Not only are they prepackaged and sterile, but the diameter of these needles are specifically for scalp micropigmentation, so they’re smaller than a traditional 3RL. Because traditional tattoo artists can use the same type of needles. But the diameter used for scalp micropigmentation is unique and specific. That’s very important.
Note: If you go into a scalp micropigmentation practitioner’s office and you notice that they are not using individually sterilized pre-packaged needles, you need to leave.
That is not a safe practice, and it’s very important to make sure that your practitioner is taking your safety into account. You should never have someone open a needle before you get there. In most places, it’s the law. The tattoo artist must open your needle in front of you, and you can see that it’s single-use and sterile. So keep that in mind as well for scalp micropigmentation appointments.
Finally, we have the star of the show. t’s different from traditional tattoo inks. Traditional tattoo inks in order to achieve a wide variety and range of colors have a lot of different additives. These additives are difficult to control as the age they can change different colors, they can optimize under your skin. So this is actually a different type of pigment than a traditional tattoo ink. A traditional tattoo ink is carbon based. Scalp micropigmentation pigment is iron oxide based. It’s widely regarded as one of the more stable bases for any type of pigment that would be used for cosmetic tattoos.
The company that I use is actually called Perma blend. They are one of the best producers of pigment in the world. Very highly respected. They’re stringent with their sanitary measures with their pigment formulations and how stable their compounds are. That’s why I use them. They give great results, and they last a really long time, and that is huge. When you’re talking about the realistic nature of the outcome and how you want it to heal over time. Because it is part of my job to make sure that I give you a tattoo that is going to age well over time. That’s a huge part of tattooing.
How is scalp micropigmentation done?
So the way scalp micropigmentation is done is I would take my machine. I would adjust it to make sure that the right speed and depth for your scalp. Then I would custom mix a pigment that I know is going to work for your skin tone. Test it up against your skin, make sure it’s the right skin tone, the right darkness, the right depth fading, and then I would use a specific needle based on how thick your skin is in order to achieve a much more dispersed look for the first appointment, and then after your first appointment, you have seven days in healing time and another session, typically in the second session, I use a much larger needle, so this 5RL in order to make all of your hair follicles have a little bit of variation, which is going to make them look more real as they heal. And then after that, you would have 7 days more healing, and then we could do the same thing.
Each appointment is in descending order of time required. So you’d have your first appointment, which is around 2 to 4 hours in order to do an entire scalp. The appointments go down in time required as equal, so 2 to 4 hours then 2 to 3 hours. The last appointment can be 2 hours to 1 hour, depending on what your procedure looks like.
And so that’s the general overview of how you do scalp micropigmentation.
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