Tattooing and scalp micropigmentation are usually thought of as the same thing, only that scalp micropigmentation is much more precise and requires a lot more skill and experience to get it done right. One of the qualities that that the two share is fading over time. This usually happens over years due to several factors. Having this in mind before you go for scalp micropigmentation will help you know what to prepare for in future, and how to handle it so that your looks are not compromised in any way.
How the Fading Occurs
Fading of scalp micropigmentation is often the result of the pigment being broken down into smaller pieces, which are then ingested by immune cells and removed from the site for further breakdown and excretion from the body. This is a slow process, which is why fading takes years to manifest. The immune cells responsible for this are typically macrophages.
Typically, they can’t ingest very large foreign bodies. Pigment used in scalp micropigmentation has large molecules that dwarf the macrophages, so they can’t be removed en masse. The macrophages have to wait for other processes such as exposure to solar UV radiation to break down the pieces of the pigment into smaller particles, which they can then ingest. This is also a slow process leading to very slow fading.
What You Can Do to Mitigate Fading
Fortunately, a lot can be done to reduce fading of scalp micropigmentation so that you can maintain your appearance for much longer. The first tip would be to use quality pigment. Not every scalp micropigmentation pigment is the same; there are others that are made with greater care and with better ingredients, resulting in particles that are guaranteed to remain intact for longer once in place in your scalp. These are usually used by quality clinics, which is why you are encouraged to only let experienced practitioners from notable clinics to do the scalp micropigmentation.
Reducing UV exposure to your scalp will reduce the rate at which the pigment particles are broken down. As the UV rays from the sun strike the pigment particles, they transfer a lot of their energy to the pigments, and this results in breaking of molecular bonds in the pigment among other things. As a result, the pigments become smaller and less visible, contributing to fading.
This also makes them more susceptible to being removed by the immune system, which further aggravates the fading. Preventing solar UV radiation from hitting your scalp is as easy as wearing a hat when the sun is out, or application of sunscreen. This also reduces your chances of getting skin cancer, so you might as well do it.
Finally, having a trained and experienced practitioner handle the scalp micropigmentation for you is also beneficial. They will place the pigment at exactly the right depth under the skin, which lowers the rate of fading over time. That said, it is always encouraged to come back for a “top up” every 3 to 5 years. This involves replacing the pigment that has been removed, making your follicles look real and healthy again.