I began to notice my hair was receding before completing high school.
With male pattern baldness running on both sides of my family, and a strong attachment to my hair at the time, it didn’t take long for me to track my hair loss closely. As I noticed more hairs in my hands after washing my hair, as well as in the sink and on the comb, I began looking into options to slow, or halt my hair loss before I was 20.
For a few years, I experienced good results using a combination of antifungal shampoos such as Nizoral and Tea Tree Oil shampoo, as well as the topical over the counter foam Rogaine/Regain, also known as Minoxidil. This regimen, in conjunction with avoiding gym supplements like Creatine and Whey Protein Isolate, slowed my hair loss down significantly.
Until it didn’t.
Despite spending over $100 a month on my hair loss regimen, at around the 4-year mark, male pattern baldness caught up with me. As my regimen was no longer effective, I ditched the products, and within as little as 6 months, my hair loss had accelerated to the point where shaving my head was the only option.
I stayed up late researching other hair loss “solutions”, such as propecia, hair transplants and hair loss clinics, only to find that these options carried serious side effects or a hefty price tag, with no guarantees of success.
In venting my frustration to a friend who rocked a sharp buzz cut year-round, I recall jeering that he was “wasting” his hair by shaving it, as some of us don’t have the luxury of being able to choose a hairstyle. It was then that he revealed that he had lost his hair at a younger age than me, and had a procedure called “scalp micropigmentation” done.
He explained that his “buzz cut” was actually a hair tattoo of freshly shaved hair follicles, and that he had even less hair on top than me. As someone with their fair share of tattoos and who had seen this “buzz cut” more times than I can count, I was both surprised and impressed by the idea of this procedure, and a week later, I was chatting with Kate about my scalp micropigmentation “hair tattoo”.
I only had a few questions going into my consult, which were largely based around my hairline. I had always had a slightly “M” shaped hairline, even in my youth, so I knew that a sharp, square hairline would have appeared jarring and unnatural.
Kate explained that the hairline would follow my natural hairline and showed some examples of men who had a similar shape to me, emphasising the importance of following the hairline’s natural shape for the best result.
She also explained the technique used to create the most realistic looking hairline possible, so that I was assured that the end-product would look like a natural, freshly shaved scalp, as opposed to a tattoo.
The first procedure took around 3 hours, including a few breaks here and there to stretch and move around. The pain was not unbearable, and while it began with a bit of a sting and discomfort, I quickly became used to it, and had no trouble maintaining a conversation.
As someone who has been tattooed relatively frequently, I can confidently say that scalp micropigmentation is less than 50% of the pain of being tattooed. The experience isn’t exactly pleasant, but the pain would certainly not be a deterring factor from having it done.
Following my first appointment, I was advised to keep the scalp dry, and avoid excessive sweating or getting it wet in the shower for a week. I didn’t find the discomfort to be noticeable for the rest of the day, and the only inconvenience was that it was a little tender on my pillow for the first and second night after the appointment.
The feeling was similar to a mild sunburn.
Although there was a small amount of itching after the first few days, I felt the scalp micropigmentation healed rapidly and didn’t feel any major inconvenience after having the procedure done, other than having to remember to keep my head out of the shower.
The appearance after the first appointment was also great. Although it was a little red for the first 48 hours, it looked very natural and didn’t draw any unwanted attention. After the tattoo healed at the end of the week, it looked noticeably lighter than after the appointment, which was to be expected, and appeared as a very light version of the final product.
Second and Third Appointments
The second and third appointments were much like the first, only shorter, and I knew what to expect. Kate made adjustments to my hairline based on how the tattoo healed and added additional density to the front and sides to make the tattoo look more prominent. I found this approach to be very reassuring, as Kate mentioned, “we can always bring the hairline down, but if we start too low, we can’t bring it back up”.
I found that the aftercare was a lot easier and quicker than my first appointment as there was less ink being added in the second and third appointments, so the healing process was a little quicker.
My final result looked perfect and I couldn’t be happier, over a year later. The final product looks completely natural, maintenance is quick and easy, and my only regret is not getting it done sooner!
Read more about Dave’s experience with hair loss and male pattern baldness from a young age here.