The magic of Scalp MicroPigmentation has made its way into the mainstream over the past decade or so, gaining traction as a legitimate, permanent treatment for receding hairline and other forms of pattern balding.
SMP is known more commonly as a “hair tattoo,” but it’s so much more than that.
SMP is a highly intricate, technical process whereby unique shades of ink and specialized needles are used to make a detailed design on the scalp. The result is a natural, convincing appearance of real hair on the head and lasting results that require minimal maintenance.
The advantages of SMP are many, but when it comes to cost, what can clients expect to pay for treatment in an entire city like Los Angeles, California?
Is it more affordable to receive SMP treatment elsewhere in the US, or perhaps traveling abroad is the smartest option from a cost standpoint?
The truth is that many factors make a difference in the cost of SMP, not just the location on the map. In this article, let’s talk about what really determines the price of this procedure, including what you can expect to pay in Los Angeles and other regions of the world.
The main cost factor in SMP treatment is the scope of the procedure itself, the complexity of the design, time commitment from technicians and assistants, and how many sessions are needed to attain the final results.
Here’s the simplest way to predict the cost of an SMP procedure – the more coverage, the higher the overall price. Simple, right? Covering more surface area on the scalp requires more in-depth planning on the surgeon, more resources to administer, and more time spent applying the design.
Things may vary, however, in SMP price structures and how clinics map out areas of the scalp with the cost of coverage.
Some clients may only require one section at a time – the hairline, for instance – but more commonly, complete scalp coverage is the cost-effective choice and the desired look in most cases.
Like any type of cosmetic procedure, SMP treatment is not a one-size-fits-all situation.
In the hands of a top-tier SMP practitioner, clients will see that the planning process is extremely involved, accounting for the density of coverage, the structure of the hairline, and patterns of hair on the crown and vertex.
Attaining the right color ink is also a process in which custom dyes are mixed to match the unique color of the patient’s natural close-cut hair of the scalp.
The best SMP technicians will see even the formation of individual ink ‘dots’ meant to replicate the irregular shape of follicles at a microscopic level.
It’s important to acknowledge these many variables when researching your options for SMP because this will give you a better read on the quality of the treatment and the experience level of the surgeon you choose to perform it.
Very rarely will SMP be administered in a single sitting, especially if the client wants full coverage from the front to the back of the scalp.
More commonly, SMP sessions will take place within two or three weeks of one another, ensuring the ink is settled and skin is healed for optimal long-term results.
It’s important to map out the entirety of your SMP strategy with a trusted technician during the consultation process, rather than going “piece by piece” and potentially end up paying more than you anticipated.
Transparency is key to setting reasonable expectations for your SMP experience and understanding the total cost of the treatment from beginning to end.
We’ve mentioned the main factors that determine the cost of SMP, but how much does it matter where you have the treatment done?
Location is certainly an element that impacts the cost of any medical procedure, SMP included. Here is what you can expect to pay for SMP in Los Angeles, across the US, and abroad.
With its reputation for glitz, glamour, and the high standards of the Hollywood elite, Los Angeles is certainly home to some of the world’s best cosmetic services, non-surgical and otherwise.
Even though SMP is still relatively new, Los Angeles is the place to go for top-quality treatment, although costs certainly reflect that level of prestige. For a full-coverage SMP treatment in LA, patients may pay anywhere between $7,000 and $10,000 in the very best clinics.
Prices for SMP will be comparable to Los Angeles in cities like New York, Miami, and Chicago, but in other regions of the United States, the cost of treatment is considerably lower based on demand, less experienced surgeons, and lack of regulation and standards.
In most cities in the United States, SMP treatments can be had for anywhere between $3,000 and $5,000 – lower than that, and you may want to avoid the offer.
Traveling abroad for a treatment like SMP is not advised simply because the procedure is still new, and technicians lack the experience necessary to ensure quality results.
While you may be able to find SMP services available for $2,500 or less in places like South America or Southeast Asia, we recommend waiting until SMP becomes more mainstream and widely practiced, with higher standards issued on a global level.
When it comes to a treatment like SMP, you get what you pay for, and it’s not worth risking poor results to save a bit of money in the short term.
Even in major US cities, you’ll find a range of SMP services and prices to choose from. How can you navigate these options and get the best treatment for a reasonable cost? Here are some key points to look for and some pitfalls to avoid.
How long has a surgeon been performing SMP, and are they qualified in other areas of hair restoration to ensure they have a background of technical and aesthetic excellence?
Beware of SMP technicians who only do this type of treatment or point to a background in tattooing or piercing as their only credentials.
This is where SMP treatments get into dicey territory because regulations and certifications are still being established. To protect yourself and get the best possible SMP treatment, stick with reputable hair loss professionals with experience in cosmetic surgery and hair transplant.
When choosing a clinic for SMP, go where you’re treated best. That goes beyond the technical abilities of the surgeon and techs. In any medical or cosmetic treatment, the general level of service, courtesy, respect, and professionalism matter, including SMP.
Hold clinics to a high standard of timely communication, transparency, and guidance in the consultation process to gauge how they do business and treat clients across the board.
SMP may not be considered an invasive surgery on the level of a facelift or hair transplant, but the results are still permanently altering your physical appearance. The clinic you choose should be professional in all aspects of your treatment, which justifies potentially higher costs.
One of the main draws of SMP is that patients no longer have to worry about maintaining, strengthening, or rejuvenating the natural hair on their scalp.
With SMP, you can say goodbye to the pills, the topical medications, the oils, shampoos, and alternative therapies or surgeries that add up to considerable costs – both in time and money – in the long run. For many clients, that’s a major relief and allows for real peace of mind.
However, due to natural processes like fading ink and environmental factors, SMP clients may require “touch-up” treatments several years after the initial procedure.
All the factors we discussed in this article must be accounted for in ongoing treatments, which may be necessary once every three to five years, depending on the quality of the work.
Thankfully, most SMP technicians offer discounted rates – a few thousand dollars at most – for return clients in need of touch-ups, and these treatments are typically quite brief and small in scope. To keep the SMP design looking fresh and natural, it’s worth the extra attention.
Accomplished in nearly every area of hair restoration, Jae Pak, M.D. is among the most renowned SMP technicians in Los Angeles and the world. His combined technical and artistic abilities deliver outstanding results for patients with a wide range of hair types, ethnicities, preferences, and other factors.
To learn more about SMP from Dr. Pak’s clinic, or discover other treatment options for hair restoration, call today and schedule your consultation.
Scalp Micropigmentation | NCBI
Standardization of SMP Procedure and Its Impact On Outcome | NCBI
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