Losing your hair? We try the baldness treatment that turns back time in just a few hours – SMP.
SAY BYE BYE BALDNESS
6.5 million men across the midlands are losing or have lost their hair. Male pattern baldness has long been the dread of every man – including myself. Growing up I watched my Dad lose his hair knowing that my curly locks would most likely suffer the same fate as his. Although I’ve been prepared for it, as the years have passed my baldness has increased and I’ve become very aware of the growing patch of pink skin between the shadow of hair at the sides and back. Like many men it’s something I’ve not felt comfortable about and feel that it has prematurely aged me as well as changed my own sense of identity.
With the cost, scarring and pain involved in a hair transplant as unappealing as the idea of toupee I had begrudgingly become accepting of my baldness when I heard about Scalp Micro Pigmentation. SMP, as it’s abbreviated to, is a new treatment for hair loss sufferers who want a realistic and low maintenance solution to their hair loss problem.
The treatment works by effectively colouring in the bald patches of your scalp with tiny tattoos dots which, when viewed from close up or far away, replicate hair follicles. Those having the treatment are left with what looks like an even ‘just shaved’ head resembling the likes of Wentworth Miller, Channing Tatum and Marvin Humes. There’s no anaesthetic, incisions or scars and the treatment can be adapted for style preferences or if you continue to lose hair.
I contacted experts His Hair Clinic, based in Birmingham and the developers of the technique. Visiting their smart clinic on Hagley Road I met face to face people who had actually had the treatment and found it hard not to keep staring at their heads. The results looked fantastic and I was able to find out exactly how the treatment works as well as get answers to the many questions I had.
SMP employs traditional techniques to tattoo tiny dots of specially developed pigment directly into the scalp’s second layer of the skin. Existing hair colour is matched on a chart of 100 shades and the technique allows for a slight variance of shade in each dot to ensure a natural appearance. The hairline is created dependent on what you want it to look like with many men taking in old photographs for reference whilst others prefer a more groomed, freshly clipped look. If you decide you don’t like it in the future then a simple laser tattoo removal treatment will remove it quickly, easily and without any scarring and if you later decide to opt for full hair replacement therapy then the SMP will not affect it in any way. Treatments generally are made up of 2 sessions of 2 to 3 hours and, in terms of maintenance, all you need to do is moisturise and keep your hair clipped short. Pricing ranges from around £500 to £3000 depending on how much treatment is required- a fraction of the cost of hair replacement therapy.
Weighing up all the answers I had been given, looking at the finished results in real life and knowing the treatment could be reversed I booked myself in for the treatment…
BEFORE The Treatment
I did not sleep the night before my first treatment as I was so nervous but I did eventually drop off after revisiting the His Hair Clinic website- www.hishairclinic.com and discovering the forum section. His Hair has clinics all over the world and the open forum is a worldwide space for those who have had the treatment to chat about their experiences. The multiple comments from guys saying it was the ‘best thing they’d ever done’ was massively reassuring and I was able to go to my treatment feeling confident.
My treatment started with lots of photographs- the before shots used as a documented reminder of what I used to look like. Simon, my practitioner, then discussed my expectations and got an insight into the style of hairline I would like before making a mark with a white pencil. A decision as to pigment shade was made- I’m a 24- and I found myself sat ‘heads on desks’ style as if I was back in primary school.
LET’s GET Started
Waiting for the first touch of the needle I held my breath as, even though I have tattoos, I was worried that tattooing my scalp would be horrifically painful at worst, unpleasant at best. I needn’t have worried as the process was pain free. I had taken a couple of preparatory painkillers before we started but can honestly say I felt no pain. The treatment went quickly as well; chatting to Simon as he worked and listening to some pretty random tunes on his iPod acted as a great distraction.
Two hours later and my first session was done and looking in the mirror I was amazed. My baldness had gone, I was left with appearance of hair and, although my scalp was a little red, it was so unnoticeable I went shopping straight after.
A week of moisturising my scalp and I was back in for my second treatment, this is the one which perfects the look, defines the hairline and blends the SMP into your existing hair. By leaving a gap between treatments of around a week, the effectiveness of the first treatment can be measured. In my case my colour had settled slightly lighter so it was decided to go a little darker and to bring my hairline forward slightly making it less uniform in the process.
This time the treatment took a little longer but as I got up out my chair and looked in the mirror I was truly astounded at what I saw- it was still me but from 10 years before. Everything about my ‘hair’ looked completely natural and there was no way I could tell where my old hair stopped and my new hair began. In all honesty I was so shocked at how good it looked and what a difference it made that I felt somewhat unsteady on my feet and ended up sat back down again.
Since the treatment a lot of time has been spent looking in the mirror; just catching a glimpse of my new hair still comes as a shock to me – a good shock but a shock all the same. My partner was blown away by it and those friends who I’ve told about the treatment have been similarly impressed. Those people I’ve not let know haven’t picked up on the change although one or two have made comments about me looking well or by just saying ‘something’s changed.’
Any downsides to the treatment? My scalp was a little itchy a few days after my treatment and you need to wait three days before you wash it. Also, you can’t go swimming for a month after the treatment but that’s a small price to pay for a treatment that should last a lifetime.
Would I recommend it? Definitely. Do I wish I’d had it done years ago? Yes I do. Should you get it done? Damn right!
His Hair Clinic is at 86 Hagley Rd, Birmingham B16 8LU. Tel 0845 604 4618 or visit www.hishairclinic.com