Scalp Tattoo and How to Choose the Needles

By June 21, 2019Blog
scalp tattoo, STAR Micropigmentation

If you ask the technicians at STAR Micropigmentation, one of the most common questions they receive from clients is about the needles used for scalp tattoo. Many clients, as well as students, inquire about certain details about the needles, including their size.

Whether you want to make a career out of SMP or you plan to undergo the procedure, 

it is important to be educated on the needles used for scalp micropigmentation. Without having the proper knowledge of the types of needles used, you could undergo the procedure with a provider who may not use the correct needle. Some technicians may not even disclose information about the needle they are using, which is why it is crucial to ask all the necessary questions.

The same applies to students. If you want to make a living out of scalp micropigmentation, you should understand every single element involved. The needles may be small but they have a huge impact on the procedure. The wrong ones can easily result in dreadful and fake-looking hair follicles, which is not what SMP is about.

Important Facts Every SMP Client Has to Know

A common misconception among many SMP clients is that scalp micropigmentation and conventional tattoos are the same thing. After hearing the term “scalp tattoo,” they immediately conjure up images of huge, scary needles. However, there is nothing to fear about SMP. It is not the same as a regular tattoo and the needles used are certainly different.

In a few ways, SMP and body tattoos are similar. Scalp tattoo is often compared to permanent makeup as well. There are distinct differences, but they also have a few similarities. The techniques are not the same, but they all have a familiar concept. They use a specialized ink or pigment to improve the appearance of a certain part of the body. However, SMP is not only an aesthetic procedure because it can also cover up scars and other hair loss problems.

If you are suffering from hair loss but you do not want to go through a hair transplant, SMP is the best option for you. There is almost no downtime with many clients going back to work as quickly as two to three days after the procedure. It does entail a few maintenance tasks, such as making sure the head is dry and free from sweat for about four days.

With the benefits of scalp tattoo, there is no reason to avoid the procedure at all. If you have always been scared of needles and the pain associated with them, SMP should not worry you. The specialists at STAR Micropigmentation utilize smaller needles, which allow them to make incredibly precise dots on the client’s head. 

As a result, the micropigmented dots form realistic looking hair follicles. Another reason why the scalp tattoo is much different than the regular tattoo is that the needles do not result in high levels of pain. 

While there are a few methods used to minimize pain and prep the area, patients do not require numbing cream at all. The technicians at STAR Micropigmentation take the extra step to prep the area to ensure that it is free from dirt and oil.

Needles Used in SMP

The needles used in scalp micropigmentation vary in sizes and type, which would depend on the machine used. It is recommended to go to a trustworthy provider that offers SMP using a machine that is solely for this particular treatment. If you live in Tampa, Orlando, or Denver, you are in luck because you can easily gain access to the services that STAR Micropigmentation provides. The professionals here only use the Vytal device, which is the first ever machine that is specifically intended for tattooing the scalp.

The Vytal device has a handpiece, just like other standard tattoo machines. This device allows you to use needle cartridges, including generic ones and those that are of their own brand.

For SMP, round liners are utilized, which are configured to be either single or triple needle. There are a few disagreements as to whether or not a triple needle configuration (3RL) is much better than a single needle (1RL). Back in the day, many learners were taught to use single needle configurations, which is why they were commonplace several years back

However, times have changed, and more current technicians prefer three-point triples for their clients. You may be wondering now whether you should opt for 1RL or 3RL. Some providers may disagree that 3RL is superior while others would want to learn about 3RL right away. If you have already learned 1RL before, it does not mean you should forget about what you have learned. Some situations may even call for a combination of these two types.

Three-point needles are much lighter to work with. One reason behind this claim is that they can deposit suitable amounts of ink or pigment into the dermis. You may compare this configuration to an inkwell in which it acts almost the same way. 3RL works by holding the pigment and keeping it at the top of the needle where it should be.

Although not necessarily a disadvantage, 3RL is more geared toward pros. This formation requires very light pressure. This way, you are ensured that the size of the pigment deposited into the skin is an accurate representation of the actual hair follicles.

On the other hand, a single point needle does the same job. However, there were several complaints about it in the past, which was why 3RL needles were introduced. According to its users, 1RL tend to have retention problems, where they had to keep going back to their provider. The result was not how they expected, especially as time went on. This issue was due to the insufficiency of the amount of pigment stored into the skin. Since there is only one point used, the ink is not enough to create realistic looking hair.

However, there were also quite a number of clients who were happy with their procedures after using 1RL. With the correct technique, and a certified professional, it is possible to achieve the desired outcome. Just like with 3RL needles, regulating hand movements and the applied pressure is necessary. 

Single needles or 1RL tend to penetrate the skin easily. They are still around because some providers prefer them. Since they reach the skin without much resistance, the needles do not generate bounces whenever they touch the skin.

Other Needle Details

When it comes to size, the most common needle diameters are the following:

  • 0.20mm
  • 0.25mm
  • 0.30mm
  • 0.35mm

Single needles are typically available in 0.20, 0.25, and 0.35mm while triple needles exist in all sizes mentioned above. Interestingly, STAR Micropigmentation uses 0.17mm needles, which are smaller than the standard needle sizes mentioned above. The smaller diameter allows the needles to penetrate the skin yet there is little to no pain felt. Rest assured that throughout the whole procedure you will feel comfortable.

The needles are definitely not the same as the ones used for permanent makeup. PMU needles were probably the first ones that were available for SMP. As time passed, experts realized that it is better to use a needle exclusively for scalp tattoo procedures. Nevertheless, there are numerous providers that still use PMU needles.

These needles are not recommended for SMP though. They will not fit scalp micropigmentation devices. If you ever plan to use them, you will need a different cartridge to fit your device.

The type of needle, along with the size, is important for an SMP procedure. You want to achieve and replicate how a hair follicle looks like when it is shaved. The dot, therefore, should have the correct impression and size. Also, it should not easily wear out.

The needles are essential in reaching your goal of covering a bald spot. However, the pressure that the technician applied, as well as the technique, and machine used, also plays a role in the overall look of the result.

STAR Micropigmentation offers a three-day course that tackles everything you need to know about scalp micropigmentation. You will learn all the fundamentals, including the best needles for SMP. Even better, all students will get the chance to use the Vytal Scalp Device, which is a device specifically created for scalp tattoo procedures.