SMP vs Hair Transplant – Which is Better?

You are losing your hair and the hair loss treatments you’ve been using like Minoxidil and Propecia for your scalp just isn’t working anymore. What should you do?  There are really only two options left, SMP or scalp micropigmentation and hair transplant. Both are very popular, but is one better than the other?

Your decision would be based on three main things:

  1. Your budget
  2. Your hair style
  3. The amount of donor hair you have (back of scalp area)

Can You Hide A Hair Transplant Scar Using SMP® 1

Hair transplantation is the process of transferring your active hair follicles from the back of your scalp to the thinning areas in the front hair line and frontal scalp area where your hair loss from typical male pattern baldness occurs. The hair in the donor area does not fall out like the ones in the front, and thus once transplanted, will not miniaturize and shed.

There are two main types of hair transplant procedures, FUT or FUE. In FUT (Follicular Unit Transplant/strip) the surgeon removes a strip of donor skin where the individual follicular units are harvested and transplanted to the thinning area.  In FUE (Follicular Unit Excision), each individual follicular units are harvested directly from the scalp one at a time.

Advantage of Hair Transplant

  1. It’s permanent. Once you’ve completed two to three transplant sessions, if done by a good hair transplant surgeon, your hair should look completely natural.

Disadvantage of Hair Transplant

  1. Costly: On average between $10,000-$15,000 depending on how many sessions you require and the type of hair transplant you choose (FUE or FUT). You can find cheaper surgeons, eg. in Turkey, but still need to pay for flight and hotel and go back more than once.
  2. Invasive: This is a surgical procedure and with any surgeries there could be complications.
  3. Scarring: There is scarring on the back of your scalp where the donor hair was harvested. This may be fine if you wear your hairstyle long, however if you want short hair or have the buzz cut look, then both types of scarring (strip and pitting) can be seen.
  4. Down Time: Because it is surgery, you will need to take some time off work for the healing process to take place.
  5. Hair Shock Loss: It’s a term that happens to your hair after the hair transplant. Shock hair loss usually happens between two to eight weeks after a hair transplant, when your new hair grafts enter a resting phase and the hairs are shed.
  6. Multiple Sessions required: Depending on how much hair you’ve lost; you may need anywhere from two to three sessions to complete your hair transplant. In an average hair transplant, between 500 to 2500 grafts are harvested and planted in a single session. However, if more grafts are needed, then at least two sessions are required, normally spaced six months apart. So, in the interim you’d need to settle for a half finished look for many months or even longer.
  7. Not enough donor hair. This is perhaps the most disadvantage issue with hair transplant. If you don’t have enough donor hair, it will lead to poor results. It will look half-finished and not the thicker looking hair you had hoped for. If you are in the process of losing your hair, the problem is you don’t know exactly how much more your hair is going to recede. Transplanting hairs from the back of the scalp that may still recede will eventually miniaturize and fall out in the front.

If you’ve already lost most of your hair and have a good idea no more is going to fall out, then the hair transplant surgeon can give you a good assessment as to whether you have enough donor hair to complete a successful hair transplant.  If you don’t, then SMP scalp micropigmentation is really the only other alternative, unless you want to wear a hair system (toupee or wig).

So, what is SMP?  SMP, or Scalp Micropigmentation for short, is the process of applying individual dots of inks into the scalp to replicate hair follicles. If done by a well-trained technician, the results look like real natural hair follicles even at close range.

Advantage of SMP Scalp Micropigmentation

  1. Affordable: (compared to hair transplant). Cost range on average from $3000-$5000 depending on the area of scalp that needs to be done.
  2. Non-Surgical: The needle for SMP is much smaller than traditional tattoo needles. Also, the depth of penetration is not as deep as a traditional tattoos. So little or less pain than regular tattoos.
  3. Can hide scars left from hair transplants. If you’ve done previous hair transplants, and don’t have enough donor hair, or you just want to change your hair style to the buzz cut look, SMP can do a great job in hiding scars left over from hair transplants.
  4. Little or No Down Time: A typical SMP session takes anywhere from 1-3 hours. Afterwards you can go abouts your regular day. Some redness on the scalp is typical but compared to a hair transplant, you don’t need to stay home for many days or weeks.
  5. Can be done on scalp with existing hair to make it appear thicker. This is good for women who may experience thinning hair, but still retain their frontal hair lines.
  6. SMP Scalp Micropigmentation is a permanent solution to hair loss. A touch up is usually not required for at least 8-10 years.
  7. Most SMP clients are very happy with their results. Imagine not having a frontal hair line for many years and suddenly you have a new look with a hair line and full coverage to your scalp. Your appearance and confidence level will soar.

Disadvantages of SMP

  1. SMP Scalp Micropigmentation requires you to wear your hair in a semi-shaven buzz cut look. If you don’t like this look, then it may not be for you.
  2. SMP requires two to three sessions. In order to achieve a 3D look, two or three sessions are required. Stay away from any SMP clinic claiming they can do the complete procedure in just one treatment. The first and second sessions are spaced out about one week apart. A third one (if required) can be done two to four weeks after the second one.  The first session lays out a lighter pigmentation and slightly higher hairline. This allows the scalp to heal, to see how much of the pigmentation is absorbed into the scalp.  Based on the outcome of the first session, the technician will increase the pigmentation and move the hairline down some more if the client prefers.
  3. SMP requires you to wear sunscreen on your scalp. If you are outdoors often, then a good sunscreen is needed to protect your investment from the damaging UV rays of the sun. If you don’t go out in the sun often, they you most likely would not require a touch up for at least ten to twenty years.

So, which is better? Scalp Micropigmentation or Hair Transplant?  Both are good, and both have their advantages and disadvantages. technicians have been trained by internationally recognized Ian Watson of HIS Hair Clinic in United Kingdom, the originator of the SMP process over 17 years ago. They are widely regarded as the best in the world.

If you believe you are a good candidate for SMP Scalp Micropigmentation, why not give TRICHOLOGY CENTRE | | a call at 647-492-9093 for a free consultation. We have a consultation clinic in downtown Toronto and our main treatment centre is in Richmond Hill.

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