Beauty Blog

May 22, 2023

SMP Touch-up vs SMP Repair: Which One Do You Need?

smp touch-up or smp repair

Scalp Micropigmentation (SMP) is an increasingly popular solution for hair loss and thinning hair. We at 7 Derma preach about its benefits and believe that it changes lives forever. However, sometimes not for good reasons (if done by unqualified SMP artists). While the initial SMP treatment provides excellent results, in time, some clients require touch-ups to maintain the desired look, and others need repair sessions to reverse badly executed SMP. 

In this article, we will explore the differences between SMP touch-ups and SMP repair. Let us guide you on how to determine which option is right for you.

Easy access to the blog sections:

  1. All about SMP touch-ups
  2. All about SMP repair
  3. What’s the general difference between SMP repair and SMP touch-up?
  4. How to evaluate whether you need SMP repair or touch-up?

All about SMP touch-ups

Touch-ups usually require minor improvements to the existing tattoo due to natural fading processes. 90% of the time, this is a normal occurrence, not due to the quality of the SMP. Every tattoo fades in time, and SMP doesn’t make an exception.

What’s an SMP touch-up?

SMP touch-up is a maintenance session for refreshing and enhancing the appearance of an existing SMP result. It involves adding pigment to faded areas, improving hairline definition, and addressing any minor changes in hair color or density. SMP touch-ups ensure that your scalp maintains a consistent and natural-looking appearance.

Why do you need an SMP touch-up?

Over time, factors such as sun exposure, aging, and individual skin characteristics can cause slight fading or changes in the appearance of SMP. Touch-ups are beneficial for individuals who want to maintain the optimal appearance of their SMP treatment. This will ensure that it remains seamless and realistic.

What factors make SMP fade away?

Several factors can cause SMP (Scalp Micropigmentation) to fade or erase over time. Here are the main factors to consider:

  • Natural Skin Exfoliation: As your skin naturally sheds its outermost layer over time, some of the SMP pigment can be lost, leading to gradual fading.
  • Sun Exposure: Extended exposure to the sun’s UV rays can break down the SMP pigments, resulting in colour fading and a less vibrant appearance. Protect your scalp by wearing a hat or using scalp-specific sunscreen to prevent this.
  • Harsh skincare products or scalp treatments: Using skin care products with strong chemicals or exfoliants can accelerate the fading of SMP. Opt for gentle and mild products when caring for your scalp. Also, some treatments as scalp microdermabrasion, can destroy the pigment and damage the skin. 
  • Medications: Certain medications, particularly those used for skin conditions such as acne, can increase skin cell turnover, which may cause SMP to fade more quickly.
  • Individual Skin Characteristics: Each person’s skin reacts differently to SMP. Factors like skin type, oiliness, and thickness can influence how well the pigment is retained. Excessive sweating is one of the most common reasons for pigment fading.
  • Poor Aftercare: Neglecting proper post-treatment care, such as avoiding excessive rubbing or scratching of the treated area, can lead to premature fading or damage to the SMP.
  • Improper Application: If the initial SMP treatment is performed poorly or by an inexperienced practitioner, it may result in uneven results and reduced pigment retention, leading to faster fading.

How often do you need to touch up?

The frequency of SMP touch-ups depends on various factors, including skin type, exposure to sunlight, and personal preference. Generally, touch-ups are recommended every 1 to 3 years. However, some individuals may require touch-ups sooner due to faster fading or desired modifications. 

Here are what factors require more frequent touch-ups:

  • Skin Type: Individuals with oily skin tend to experience faster fading of SMP compared to those with normal or dry skin. Oily skin can cause the pigments to break down more quickly, leading to a higher likelihood of needing more frequent touch-ups.
  • Sun Exposure: If you spend significant time in the sun or have a lifestyle involving frequent sun exposure, your SMP may fade more quickly. UV rays can accelerate pigment breakdown, necessitating more frequent touch-ups to maintain the desired appearance.
  • Hair Color: SMP treatments aim to mimic hair follicles’ appearance, and the pigments’ color should match your natural hair color. If you have lighter or grey hair, the contrast between the pigments and your hair may be more noticeable as the pigments fade, requiring more frequent touch-ups to maintain a natural look.
  • Skin Healing and Regeneration: Some individuals have faster skin cell turnover, leading to a more rapid exfoliation. If your skin naturally regenerates quickly, you may need touch-ups more often to compensate for the faster fading of SMP.
  • Lifestyle Factors: Certain lifestyle factors, such as participating in activities that involve excessive sweating or using harsh skincare products, can contribute to the faster fading of SMP. If you engage in activities that are known to impact the longevity of SMP, more frequent touch-ups may be necessary.

What to expect from the touch-up?

During an SMP touch-up session, our skilled practitioner Olga Lelekova will evaluate your scalp, assess the areas that need attention, and match the existing pigment color to ensure a seamless blend. She will carefully apply pigments to faded areas, refine the hairline, and address any concerns you may have. After the session, your scalp will regain its freshly treated appearance.

How to keep your results longer and delay SMP touch-ups?

To extend the longevity of your SMP treatment and delay the need for touch-ups, it is crucial to protect your scalp from excessive sun exposure by wearing a hat or sunscreen. 

Additionally, using gentle hair care products and avoiding harsh chemicals can help maintain the integrity of the pigments. 

Regular moisturization of the scalp and following the aftercare instructions provided by your practitioner can also contribute to longer-lasting results.

May SMP result faded – is the artist to blame?

Blaming the SMP practitioner for needing touch-ups can be subjective and depends on the specific circumstances. Please, answer the following questions and determine whether your case is failed or due to natural processes:

  • Quality of initial treatment: If the SMP treatment was performed poorly by an inexperienced practitioner, resulting in uneven pigmentation, color mismatch, or an unnatural appearance, you might have a valid reason to require touch-ups. Did you like your results in the beginning? If yes, then your case has changed by natural processes related to skin type, sun exposure, lifestyle, hair care products, medications, or immune system.
  • Unrealistic expectations: Sometimes, clients may have unrealistic expectations about the longevity of SMP or the final outcome. If the fading or need for touch-ups is within the normal range and aligns with the practitioner’s guidance, it may not be fair to blame the practitioner solely.
  • Individual factors: Factors such as skin type, sun exposure, and lifestyle choices can impact the longevity of SMP. If you have a predisposition to faster fading due to your circumstances, the need for touch-ups is not the practitioner’s fault.
  • Aftercare compliance: Proper aftercare plays a significant role in the longevity of SMP. If a client neglects or deviates from the recommended aftercare instructions provided by the practitioner, resulting in premature fading or damage, it may not be fair to place the blame solely on the practitioner.

Examples of cases for SMP touch-up

All about SMP repair

SMP repair is much different than just fading. When the treatment is unprofessional in the first place, then you’ll see it very soon and dislike it. SMP repair is needed when the wrong technique, pigments, needles, or ink dilution has been used.   

What’s an SMP repair session?

SMP repair sessions are more extensive than touch-ups designed to address significant issues or corrections required for an SMP treatment. These repair sessions usually fix poor SMP. For example, when there’s a color mismatch, improper hairline design, or dissatisfaction with the initial results.

In what cases do you need an SMP repair session?

You may require an SMP repair session if you are unhappy with the outcome of your initial treatment. Or if there are noticeable flaws that affect the natural appearance of your scalp. SMP repair sessions are also necessary in cases where the initial treatment was performed poorly or by an inexperienced practitioner.

Here are some general factors that require SMP repair:

  • Poor technique or inexperienced practitioner: The skill and experience of the SMP practitioner are crucial. Inadequate training or lack of expertise can lead to uneven pigmentation, different sizes of dots, unnatural hairline design, or improper color blending. This may result in an unsatisfactory appearance and the need for repair.
  • Color mismatch or blue out: Achieving the right color match between the SMP pigments and the client’s natural hair color is essential. If the color significantly differs from the client’s hair color or the pigments fade or change color over time (blue out), it can create an unnatural appearance that requires
  • Uneven density: SMP should be even on the scalp to create a seamless and natural look. If the density of pigmentation varies significantly in different areas, it can result in an imbalanced or patchy appearance that may necessitate repair.
  • Client dissatisfaction: In some cases, the client may not like the overall outcome of the SMP treatment, even if no major technical issues are present. Subjective factors such as personal preferences, unrealistic expectations, or dissatisfaction with the final result can prompt the need for repair to address the client’s concerns.

What to expect from the repair sessions?

During an SMP repair session, an experienced practitioner will assess the existing SMP treatment. Then you’ll discuss your concerns and develop a plan to address the specific issues. The session may involve pigment removal, color correction, hairline redesign, or any necessary adjustments to achieve your desired outcome. The goal is to rectify the problematic areas and enhance the overall appearance of the SMP treatment.

How to prevent an SMP repair session?

To minimize the need for an SMP repair session, it is crucial to research and choose a reputable SMP practitioner thoroughly. Look for a proven track record. Take the time to discuss your expectations and desired outcomes before the initial treatment. By ensuring clear communication and understanding, you can increase the chances of a successful SMP treatment from the beginning.

Examples of cases for SMP repair

What’s the general difference between SMP repair and SMP touch-up?

The main difference between SMP repair and SMP touch-up lies in the level of correction required. SMP touch-ups focus on minor adjustments, color refreshing, and maintaining the existing treatment. 

On the other hand, SMP repair sessions are more comprehensive, aiming to address significant issues, flaws, or dissatisfaction with the initial treatment. They may require removing the pigment with laser tattoo removal and starting from scratch.

How to evaluate whether you need SMP repair or touch-up?

If you are unsure whether you need an SMP repair or touch-up, consult with an experienced SMP practitioner. Trusting a professional’s opinion will help you make an informed decision and achieve the best results.

Scalp Micropigmentation & Hair loss ,


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About 7Derma
7 Derma Clinic is an Aesthetic clinic where professionals with more than 20 years of experience are taking care of your appearance. Our mission is to bring more beauty into your wold and show you how perfect you can be in our imperfect world.

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