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Qualifications for Hair Professionals -Trichologist Vs Scalp Micropigmentation Artist

Trichology and Scalp Micropigmentation (SMP) are two distinct fields that deal with scalp and hair-related issues. Trichology is a paramedical science relating to the study of problems with the hair and scalp. SMP, on the other hand, is a cosmetic tattooing procedure that simulates the appearance of hair follicles on the scalp.

In this blog, we will review the qualifications required to become a Trichologist or Scalp Micropigmentation Artist, and the differences between the two professions.

Trichologist Qualifications

Trichology is the study of conditions affecting hair and scalp, including any medical issues associated with it. For this, thorough knowledge of the structure, function, and growth of hair and scalp is a prerequisite.

A trichologist is a specialist whose knowledge of hair health and wellness helps them with the diagnosis and treatment of hair and scalp conditions, including hair loss. They treat issues like hair breakage, alopecia or scalp disorders like psoriasis. They also advise on the correct use of hair colouring, permanent waving and straightening products and treat damage caused to the hair or scalp because of the misuse of such preparations. But they cannot prescribe drugs or perform medical or surgical procedures.

To become a trichologist, one needs to obtain a degree or certification in trichology from a recognized institution. Some of the common qualifications required to become a trichologist include:

  • Bachelor's Degree in Trichology: Several universities and colleges across the world offer bachelor's degree programs in trichology. These programs provide students with in-depth knowledge of hair and scalp disorders, anatomy, physiology, and hair care treatments.

  • Diploma in Trichology: Diploma programs in trichology are also available for those who want to specialize in this field. These programs typically cover topics such as hair and scalp analysis, hair loss causes, and hair restoration treatments.

  • Certification from a Trichology Association: Several trichology associations worldwide offer certification programs for aspiring trichologists. These programs include rigorous training and examinations that test the candidate's knowledge and understanding of trichology. All certifications require the completion of academic coursework, hands-on training, observations and mentorships.

  • Once certified through a program accredited by a state board, a trichologist can become a Member of professional organizations related to the field like the International Association of Trichologists or the World Trichology Society.

To become a successful trichologist, one must have excellent analytical and communication skills. They must also have a keen eye for detail and the ability to identify hair and scalp disorders accurately. Trichologists must stay up-to-date with the latest research and trends in the field to provide the best possible advice and treatment to their clients.

SMP Artist Qualifications

SMP is a cosmetic tattooing procedure that provides an alternative for hair loss. Using specialized equipment, a scalp micropigmentation artist tattoos medical-grade pigments into the scalp – giving the appearance of hair follicles. To become an SMP artist, one must complete specialized training in scalp micropigmentation.

Some of the qualifications required to become a Scalp Micropigmentation artist include:

  • Training in SMP: Several private institutions offer training courses in SMP. These courses cover topics such as hair density, types of hair, skin conditions, density enhancements, natural pigments, colour theory, needle selection, and scalp anatomy. The training includes practical experience with live models to ensure that the student can perform the procedure safely and precisely. The artists should also be well-versed in the minute aspects of scalp tattoo training, observation of safe practices and client management. Ink2Scalp Academy is the top academy in Canada.

  • Certification from an SMP Association: Several associations offer scalp micropigmentation certification programs for aspiring SMP artists. These programs include rigorous training and examinations that test the candidate's knowledge and understanding of SMP.

  • Aesthetician or Cosmetology License: In some states, SMP artists must hold an aesthetician or cosmetology license to perform the procedure legally.

SMP artists must have a steady hand and excellent hand-eye coordination to perform the procedure properly. They must also have good communication skills to understand their client's needs and preferences. SMP artists must keep themselves informed of the latest techniques and equipment in the field to provide the best possible service to their clients.

Trichologist Vs SMP Artist

While both trichologists and SMP artists deal with scalp and hair-related issues, there are some significant differences between the two professions as enumerated below:


  • Role - Diagnoses and treats hair and scalp disorders such as hair loss, dandruff and scalp infections. Provides advice on hair care and hair restoration treatments.

  • Qualifications – Degree or certification in trichology required.

  • Additional requirements - A deeper understanding of the medical and scientific aspects of hair and scalp disorders is required.

  • Tools and equipment – Routinely use specialized instruments such as microscopes and trichoscopy to examine the scalp and hair. They may also use scalp analyzers to assess the condition of the scalp and hair.

  • Services offered - Offer medical advice and treatment for hair and scalp disorders. Also suggest lifestyle changes, medication, or hair restoration treatments such as hair transplants or scalp micro-needling to address hair loss.

  • Career prospects - May work in clinics, hospitals, or research institutions, Trichologists may also work as consultants or educators in the beauty or healthcare industry.

Scalp Micropigmentation Artist

  • Role - Specializes in cosmetic tattooing to mimic the appearance of hair follicles on the scalp.

  • Qualification - Specialized training in SMP and certification from an SMP association are required.

  • Additional requirements – Must have a good understanding of colour theory, tattooing techniques, client management etc.

  • Tools and equipment - Use tattooing equipment, including needles and pigment, to create the appearance of hair follicles on the scalp.

  • Services offered - Provide a non-surgical solution to hair loss by tattooing the scalp to create the appearance of hair follicles.

  • Career prospects - SMP artists mostly work in specialized SMP clinics or cosmetic tattooing studios. SMP artists may have the opportunity to work with clients from a variety of backgrounds, including those with hair loss due to medical conditions or as a result of aging.

To summarise, both trichologists and SMP artists have prominent roles in the hair and scalp care industry. The educational qualifications required for each profession are different, with trichologists requiring a degree or certification in trichology, while SMP artists require specialized training in SMP and certification from an SMP association. While the services provided by trichologists and SMP artists differ, both professions need a deep understanding of hair and scalp anatomy, excellent communication skills, and a commitment to keeping up with the latest trends and research in the field.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you tell if someone has scalp micropigmentation?

Scalp micropigmentation (SMP) is a non-surgical hair loss solution that uses specialized pigments to simulate the appearance of hair follicles on the scalp. To determine if someone has undergone SMP, you would need to closely examine their scalp. SMP creates the illusion of a shaven head or a closely cropped buzz cut, with tiny, tattoo-like dots. However, it is important to note that without direct observation or confirmation from the individual, it can be challenging to definitively ascertain whether someone has undergone SMP.

Can hair grow after micropigmentation?

Hair does not grow after undergoing scalp micropigmentation (SMP). SMP is a cosmetic procedure that uses pigments to replicate the appearance of hair follicles on the scalp. It does not stimulate or promote hair growth. SMP is typically chosen as a solution for individuals who have experienced hair loss and want to create the illusion of a shaved or closely cropped hairstyle. If hair were to regrow after SMP, it would potentially disrupt the pigmented pattern and require touch-up or modification.

What qualifications do you need to do scalp micropigmentation?

To practice scalp micropigmentation (SMP), you generally need to complete a reputable SMP training program that provides the necessary skills and knowledge. Obtaining certifications in health, safety, and infection control is essential to ensure a safe working environment. Gaining practical experience through apprenticeships or internships helps refine SMP skills. It's important to comply with any licensing and registration requirements set by the local authorities to legally practice SMP.

How long does it take to learn scalp micropigmentation?

The time required to learn scalp micropigmentation (SMP) varies, typically ranging from a few days to a few weeks for initial training. However, becoming proficient and skilled in SMP may take several months to a couple of years of practice and experience. Continuous learning and staying updated with industry advancements are crucial for SMP practitioners to refine their skills and provide optimal results.

Can a tattoo artist do scalp micropigmentation?

Yes, in some cases, a tattoo artist can transition to performing scalp micropigmentation (SMP) procedures. Since SMP involves tattooing the scalp to create the appearance of hair follicles, tattoo artists may already possess the technical skills and knowledge of tattooing techniques that can be applied to SMP. However, it is important to note that SMP requires specialized training and an understanding of the unique aspects of scalp micropigmentation, such as hairline design, colour matching, and creating natural-looking results. Tattoo artists interested in offering SMP should undergo specific SMP training programs to learn the intricacies and best practices of this specialized field. By obtaining the necessary SMP training and certifications, a tattoo artist can expand their services to include scalp micropigmentation and provide clients with effective and aesthetically pleasing results.


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