Trichology vs Scalp Micropigmentation: What’s the Difference?

There are many treatments for hair loss, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. Regaine (minoxidil), hair transplants, and wigs are fairly common methods of dealing with thinning or balding scalps. Less well-known (although rising in popularity) is scalp micropigmentation, often referred to as ‘hair tattoo’. 

You may be wondering: what do these treatment solutions have in common, if anything? What’s the difference between trichology and scalp micropigmentation?

What is Trichology?

Trichology derives from the Ancient Greek thrix ‘hair’ and plainly means ‘the study of hair.’ More specifically, trichology is the study of the health of hair, scalps, and the skills of diagnosing conditions such as male or female pattern baldness, alopecia, and more.

The International Association of Trichologists (IAT) was founded in 1974 and oversees the qualifications, standards, and issuance of educational courses and materials related to trichology. We are proud to have one of only five trichologists practising in Western Australia, the well-renowned Kate Dawes.

What is Scalp Micropigmentation (SMP)?

Scalp micropigmentation (SMP for short) is not a school of study, but rather a clinical process whereby a practitioner injects tiny dots of specialised pigment into the patient’s upper dermal scalp region. This can create the appearance of a buzzed haircut or camouflage patchy areas of baldness or thinning hair.

SMP has become quite a buzzword lately, for many good reasons which we’ve outlined in previous blog posts. In brief, SMP is a guaranteed hair loss treatment solution that has proven and long-lasting effects. However, it does not address the core cause of hair loss; think of it in a sense as ‘doubling down’ on hair loss. The results are guaranteed, but the pigmentation on the scalp will not restore your scalp with a full head of hair.

What are the Differences Between Trichology and SMP?

It should be quite evident that there are fundamental differences between trichology and SMP. Trichology is simply a field of study, whereas SMP is a clinical process and is itself a treatment.

This is a general comparison, however. A more nuanced approach would be to say that trichology goes beyond theoretical education and is applied to studying the root causes of hair loss or alopecia in patients, in order to prescribe appropriate treatments for that individual patient.

What’s the Best Hair Loss Treatment For Me?

It depends, considering every scalp is unique. However, when discerning your various options, scalp micropigmentation often emerges as the most suitable hair loss treatment. Not only is it a non-invasive and non-surgical procedure, but it also gives clients the best value for money, and has the life-changing ability to restore people’s confidence in just a few sessions.


Request a consultation with our trichologists and SMP practitioners at MHRA today.