How Do Micropigmentation and Tattoos Differ?

There are different ways to cover up the loss of hair on the head, and scalp makeup is one of the most popular. Scalp makeup can either be scalp micropigmentation or scalp tattooing—two forms of body art, each with staunch admirers.

The micropigmentation and tattoos are both trying to achieve the same thing: an enhancement for your skin and scalp. Both of these makeup techniques are good options if you want to enhance your look. However, they are very different from each other.

Before talking about differences between micropigmentation and tattoos, let’s check out their meanings:

Micropigmentation and Tattoos


Micropigmentation is the deliberate introduction of pigment into the dermis by pricking the skin or scalp with a needle. The introduction of ink creates the illusion of a tattoo, yet the purpose and intention of micropigmentation are different.

How Do Micropigmentation And Tattoos - Micropigmentation


Micropigmentation is a semi-permanent makeup technique. To put it in simple words, Micropigmentation involves drawing small pigments on the skin with the help of a special needle.

Scalp Tattooing

Tattooing is a form of body modification. Scalp tattooing is the use of a needle to apply pigment to the epidermal layer of the scalp. It is a cosmetic procedure that helps cover up hair loss. Most people who feel the need to cover their hair due to scalp burn and head scar, among others, often turn to solutions like scalp tattoos. And it has been proven as an effective method. Also, It is an excellent thing that while covering hair loss, scalp tattoo also makes users look better.

Scalp Micropigmentation and scalp tattooing are two popular procedures that have been growing in popularity over the past few years. Scalp Micropigmentation came to be after people had used alternatives like wigs and hairpieces, and hats for years. It quickly gained traction due to its ability to cover extensive areas of hair loss. Scalp tattoos, however, date back to about 3100 BCE.

In the past, scalp micropigmentation and tattoos were used as a choice to conceal one’s balding and thinning hairlines. Scalp micropigmentation is done through the use of inserted pigments in the scalp. Scalp tattooing can be used to identify one’s hairline and is usually darker in color.

There are many reasons to get scalp micropigmentation and scalp tattoos. Depending on the customer, and their personal issues, the reason for using scalp micropigmentation and scalp tattoos cut across a couple of things. Here are some of the most popular reasons to use scalp micropigmentation and scalp tattoos.

popular reasons to use scalp micropigmentation

  • Cancer
    It is no news that diseases like cancer are brutal, and the treatments are equally intense. Following the treatment of cancer, people lose their hair. While it is a great thing to have a chance at life again, not many people want to live without hair on their heads for too long. In this case, people may opt for using scalp micropigmentation or scalp Tattoos to cover up.
  • Alopecia
    Alopecia, which is the loss of hair from any part of the body, often results from heredity, hormonal changes, or other medical conditions. It is another crucial reason people go for SMP or scalp tattoos.
  • Thinning Hair/ Baldness
    All reasons fall back to either thinning hair or baldness. However, it is not all the time that diseases or other factors cause thinning hair/ baldness. Sometimes, this comes with age, and other times it does not. Whatever the case is, scalp micropigmentation and scalp tattooing were designed to help you get your full hair back.

popular reasons to use scalp micropigmentation

What is the Difference between Scalp Micropigmentation and Scalp Tattooing?

The relationship between scalp micropigmentation and scalp tattooing should not be ignored. Apart from their differences, there are similarities. The two lifesavers may not have many things in common, but they have a few things that we can associate them with. Here are some of the similarities between the scalp tattoo and scalp micropigmentation:

Handheld Machine

Whether you are a tattoo artist or a scalp micropigmentation practitioner, one thing you are surely not going to escape is the use of a microneedle. So, yes! Both of these artists get to use a handheld machine as they fit in the right inks and the needles.

What is the Difference between Scalp Micropigmentation and Scalp Tattooing?


This is one of the things that both tattooing and micropigmentation have in common. Likewise, using pigment is common with both. While scalp micropigmentation (SMP) and scalp tattoos are very different, both procedures involve the application of pigment to the scalp; SMP is a non-invasive medical hairline tattoo used to create the appearance of hair follicles on a bald head. A scalp tattoo is a permanent cosmetic procedure that involves injecting ink into subdermal layers of skin on your scalp.

Scalp micropigmentation is done in our clinic using advanced medical pigments and specialized microneedles to create tiny dots that resemble shaven hair follicles. Then, a scalp tattoo is performed by a specialist who uses regular tattoo needles to insert permanent ink under your skin.

All the Differences between Scalp Micropigmentation and Scalp Tattoos

Scalp Micropigmentation and scalp tattooing are popular treatments for hair loss, but they have vastly different results. Micropigmentation involves the application of organic pigments to the scalp to replicate the look of tiny hair follicles. At the same time, tattooing uses ink that sits on top of the skin in a layer.

Some people believe that scalp micropigmentation is a much more effective treatment for hair loss because it lasts longer and is more natural-looking.

All the Differences between Scalp Micropigmentation and Scalp Tattoos

Here are some other differences between scalp micropigmentation and scalp tattoos:

Needle Size

The needle sizes used for scalp micropigmentation and tattoos are different. For tattooing, the needle is bigger. The Scalp micropigmentation, on the other hand, uses a smaller needle. This needle is known as a 3- point- microneedle, and it has proven to be an effective tool for enhancing looks. When a professional artist uses this needle, you can hardly tell the difference from an actual hair follicle.

The Ink

The process of making a traditional tattoo ink is different from the way scalp micropigmentation ink is made. The traditional tattoo ink is artificial—an ink made with chemicals. The Scalp Micropigmentation uses an entirely different ink. The type of ink is made specially to serve the purpose of micro-pigmentation. Also, the ink for the scalp micropigmentation is tailor-made for your scalp and skin. The SMP specialist ensures that your scalp or skin color is considered before the ink is applied. With the use of some makeup tools like the Fitzpatrick scale, this can easily be accomplished.

Depth of Skin

Before you decide to get any of the two, it may be the wisest step to ask yourself how deep you want the needle to go into your skin. You will certainly not be dealing with the same layers in depth. For the SMP, the makeup artist goes about two layers deeper. The treatment is all about not being too invasive. So, this makes sense.

Since the same rule of not being invasive does not apply to tattooing the skin, it is understandable if the artist goes a bit deeper than two layers when drawing the tattoo. This traditional tattoo goes all the way to the fifth layer. But, of course, there is an advantage to this. The depth in the layer helps the pigment to stay in shape.


The differences in the methods are miles apart. For scalp micropigmentation, the makeup artist uses a dotting method. They also use pointillism in order to achieve this technique without any complications. Again, the makeup artist takes their time to ensure that the hair follicles are present on the skin.

The dotting technique is a method that expert makeup artists of scalp pigmentation have adopted. The dotting method involves the application of distinct dots of color to the second layer of the skin to achieve a certain look with short hair strands. To make the dots, the needle-like tool is the best option. With this tool, a dot of special pigment is made to resemble a single short-clipped follicular unit.

Pointillism is unlike the dotting technique. Instead, pointillism is characterized by using the thinnest needle to make thousands of tiny dots, which helps create a solid image from afar. When you go closer to a skin that has undergone pointillism, you will be surprised by the details.
The difference between these techniques is why the level of pain differs.


Nobody wants anything to disrupt their day-to-day life. But, if you decide to cover hair loss with a scalp tattoo, you might want to make peace with the fact that there would be a little discomfort. While it is great to make peace with the idea of pain, it is not something that the clinic has not planned for. We offer numbing agents to our clients at our clinic to ease the process.

As for micropigmentation, the technique is easy, so this makes the pain minimal. But unfortunately, the level of pain when getting a tattoo is higher.

Training & Certifications

Before becoming a tattoo artist or SMP makeup artist, it is normal that you undergo certain training. However, training for scalp micropigmentation seems to be more demanding. Establishments like Elix Beauty ensure that they provide adequate training for intending makeup artists.

How Do Micropigmentation And Tattoos Differ - training for scalp micropigmentation


Concerning certification, both the tattoo artist and this scalp micropigmentation practitioner need the certificate to open their clinic. But, as expected, more is demanded from the scalp micropigmentation makeup artist.

Aesthetics and ultimate objectives

While both Micropigmentation and tattoos are good semi-permanent solutions for concealing hair loss and other forms of hair & skin imbalances, the micropigmentation is designed so that people do not easily see it. Tattoos, on the other hand, have always been a bit dramatic. So, the chances that they go undetected are slim. In addition, tattoos have always been associated with artworks. So, it is normal to see how a tattoo will draw attention even though the goal is to help cover up hair loss.

The Experts

It should not be a surprise that the expertise and skill it takes to be a tattoo artist are different from what it takes to be a scalp micropigmentation practitioner. From the names to the techniques they use, there are glaring differences.
They also have technical differences, characterized by the types of lasers, needles, pigments, and other equipment that each uses.

Whether you are looking for a micro-pigmentation practitioner or a tattoo artist, Elix Beauty is one of the best places to pick the most fitting for yourself.

Elix Beauty is one of the best places to pick

Final Thoughts

Although there are significant differences between the two, micropigmentation and tattoos, have one thing in common. They are both procedures used to solve hair loss problems and improve appearance.

To sum it up, tattooing is the artistic creation of a permanent drawing on the skin by injecting ink into the dermis. On the other hand, micropigmentation involves making small deposits of special pigments with a needle inserted into the epidermis. As such, it can be maintained more easily and offers a more natural look because this process remains within the skin’s surface.

How Do Micropigmentation And Tattoos Differ -Scalp Micropigmentation

Both micropigmentation and tattoos are applied to restore or enhance beauty. However, especially when the restoration has to do with hairlines and scalp, both of these methods have their distinct strengths and flaws. While choosing between these two, we should keep in mind the nature of work- our work environment and the cost factor.

Micropigmentation is a simple process of filling pigment into the skin, which leaves almost invisible marks in the form of fine dots on the skin. In other words, tattoos are made permanent using dermal pigments, while micropigmentation works with the same end goal but achieves it differently.

It is important to know the type that best suits your long and short-term goals. If tattooing sounds like something you wish to do, you should go for it. And if not, the other may be the best option.