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Aftercare for scalp micropigmentation treatment: Tips and advice

Scalp micropigmentation (SMP) or Micropigmentation capillaire in French is a cosmetic treatment that has become increasingly popular in recent years as a solution for hair loss or balding.

Discover the art of Scalp Micropigmentation in Toronto through our insightful audio blog on Spotify.

In this procedure, microneedles are used to embed dots of pigment into the scalp, to simulate the look of real hair follicles. It works by giving the appearance of a shaved head or closely-cropped hair. While SMP is a relatively low-risk and non-invasive procedure, it is very important to follow a proper aftercare routine after your treatment session - to ensure that the pigments remain vibrant and also minimize the risk of complications.

Following the simple aftercare tips and procedures listed below will help to guarantee that your scalp heals properly, your pigment is long-lasting and that your new hair looks as good as it can:

Day-wise After Scalp Micropigmentation regimen for ready reference:

  1. Wait for three days before washing or touching the scalp after the treatment.

  2. By the fourth day, you can rinse your scalp with plain water. Avoid using shampoos or soaps.

  3. Begin to regularly moisturize the treated area after the fourth day of your final treatment (the same applies also between treatments).

  4. After seven days, the treated area can be cleaned using a mild facial cleanser.

  5. Avoid shaving your head with a razor for at least ten days and for at least five days if you use a machine.

  6. Generally, after ten days, your scalp will have recovered enough to resume normal activities.

  7. During the first 30 days, avoid exposure to UV rays, intense sweating, or any damage to the scalp while your micro-pigmentation sets.

Aftercare Phase

Time Frame




Immediate Post-Care

First 3 days

Keep the scalp dry and untouched.

Don't wash the scalp or expose it to water. Don't touch or scratch the area.

The scalp is most vulnerable during this period; avoid any kind of moisture.

Initial Washing

Day 4

Gently rinse the scalp with plain water.

Avoid shampoos, soaps, or any chemicals.

The goal is to clean without irritation.


Day 4 onwards

Start regular moisturization after the final treatment and between sessions.

Don't over-moisturize or use products with irritants.

Moisturizing helps heal and maintain the pigment.

Gentle Cleaning

Day 7 onwards

Use a mild facial cleanser to clean the area.

Don't scrub or use abrasive cloths.

Keep cleaning gently so as not to disrupt the healing pigments.


5-10 days

Resume shaving after five days for machines, 10 days for razors.

Don't shave if there's irritation or incomplete healing.

Wait until the area is fully healed to prevent infection.

Normal Activities

After ten days

Gradually return to regular daily activities.

Still, avoid excessive sweating and direct scalp trauma.

Healing should be well underway by this point.

Protection From UV

First 30 days

Avoid UV exposure and protect the scalp with SPF or head coverings.

Avoid sunbathing, tanning beds, and direct sunlight exposure.

UV rays can fade pigment and disrupt the healing process.

Exposure to Moisture

First 30 days

Keep exposure to moisture minimal.

Avoid swimming, saunas, steam rooms, and long showers.

Excessive moisture can cause pigment to fade or blur.

Short-Term Care

1-30 days

Monitor the area for signs of infection. Maintain scalp hygiene.

Avoid any rigorous activity that may induce heavy sweating.

Stay vigilant for any adverse reactions and follow hygiene practices.

Long-Term Care

30+ days

Use gentle products, moisturize daily, and continue protecting from UV.

Avoid harsh chemicals, long water exposure, and products with high alcohol content.

Ongoing care maintains the quality and longevity of SMP.

Follow-Up Sessions

As recommended

Schedule touch-up sessions with your SMP practitioner.

Don't overlook changes in pigment or the condition of your scalp.

Regular touch-ups maintain the SMP's natural appearance and prolong results.

Short-Term After Care

Following an SMP treatment session, it is paramount that you monitor the area and check regularly for signs of infection, such as swelling and redness around the wound, severe burning and throbbing sensation around the site, increased tenderness, and unusual discharge with an offensive smell. Seek medical attention immediately if you suffer from any of the above symptoms.

Do keep in mind the following aftercare guidelines:

  • Maintain scalp hygiene Keeping the scalp clean is essential for proper healing and maintenance of the SMP. Use a fresh pillowcase to aid in fast healing. Avoid shampooing or getting the scalp wet for at least three days after the treatment. After that, you may use a gentle, non-abrasive shampoo when washing the scalp. Hair products containing alcohol should be avoided, as they can cause the ink to fade.

  • Avoid scratching or picking at the scalp Some itching or scabbing on the scalp may occur after the SMP treatment, but it is important to avoid touching, scratching or picking at the area to rule out any infection. Such activity may also result in damage to the tattoo and lead to scarring.

  • Avoid sweating and exercise Do rest well and avoid any strenuous physical activity for at least a week following the treatment. Keep in mind that sweating and exercise can cause excessive moisture and friction on the scalp, which can delay the healing process and affect the quality of the SMP.

  • Take quick showers - not above 5 minutes so you do not create too much steam. Keep your face out of the water while you wash your body, then, at the end of your shower, wash your hair. Your face should only be getting wet at the very last stop of the shower. Avoid excessive rinsing and hot water on the treated area.

  • Avoid long-term exposure to sunlight UV rays from the sun can cause fading and discoloration of the tattoo and lead to premature fading of the scalp pigmentation. Avoid exposure to direct sunlight as much as possible. If you do need to go out, use a high SPF of 30 to 50 sunscreen and wear a hat to protect your scalp.

  • Avoid swimming, sauna, and steam rooms Avoid swimming, sauna, steam rooms, and tanning for at least 28 days after the treatment as this can generate excessive moisture on the scalp, which can set back the healing. Saline water, particularly, owing to the presence of minerals and ions, can adversely affect the deposited pigments.

  • Maintain a patient attitude The full effects of the SMP may not be visible until several weeks after the SMP treatment. Patience is the keyword here to achieve optimal results. It is normal to experience some redness, swelling and scabbing in the days following the treatment, but these symptoms typically subside within a week or two.

Long-Term After Care

  1. Use gentle shampoos and conditioners and moisturize your scalp at least once every day to keep it nourished.

  2. Keep in mind that UV rays are harmful. Always use sunscreen on your skin before going outside to avoid being sunburned or burned. Wearing sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 to 50 will help to keep you safe from the elements. Alternatively, you may wear a hat while going out. For the first month after treatment, avoid tanning the treated region completely.

  3. Prolonged exposure to water may lead to pigment fading, as such it would be advisable to refrain from indulging in activities like swimming, saunas or taking long showers. Avoid chlorinated pools, saunas and steam rooms during the first month of your treatment.

  4. Use a mild exfoliating cleanser to remove dead skin cells and keep your scalp looking great.

  5. Stay away from items with high alcohol concentration in case you consume alcoholic beverages.

  6. Avoid the usage of creams or lotions containing alcohol on your scalp. Creams and lotions with low alcohol content are fit for use.

  7. To ensure that the results remain consistent, it is important to schedule follow-up sessions with your SMP practitioner. They may review the colour and recommend regular touch-ups to ensure the SMP looks natural and maintains its colour and shape.

In conclusion, with proper care, SMP can be a safe and effective solution for hair loss or balding, providing a natural-looking and low-maintenance alternative to hair transplant surgery or other treatments.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the preparation before the scalp micropigmentation process?

To prepare for scalp micropigmentation, it is recommended to avoid alcohol and blood thinning medications for a few days before the procedure. It is also important to wash your hair thoroughly the day before the treatment and avoid any hair products such as gels, sprays, or oils. Additionally, it is advisable to wear loose and comfortable clothing to the appointment to prevent any irritation or discomfort to the scalp.

How soon can I return to work or normal activities after scalp micropigmentation?

Most people can return to work and normal activities immediately after scalp micropigmentation, as there is typically no downtime required. However, it is important to avoid exposing the scalp to direct sunlight, heavy sweating, and water for the first few days following the procedure to allow the scalp to fully heal. It is also recommended to avoid any strenuous physical activity or exercise for at least a week after the treatment.

Will I need to shave my head before the scalp micropigmentation procedure?

In most cases, yes, you will need to shave your head before the scalp micropigmentation procedure. This is because the treatment involves creating small, closely spaced dots on the scalp that mimic the look of hair follicles, and having hair in the treatment area can interfere with the precision of the procedure. However, some clinics may allow you to keep some hair if it is trimmed very short or if the hair loss pattern is not extensive. Your SMP artist will advise you on the best approach based on your case.


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