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SMP with Dr. Mohebi (no shaving, whole head)


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  • Regular Member

I recently finished three SMP procedures with Dr. Mohebi and wanted to share. I was a little hesitant in the beginning because I saw so much hesitance over SMP on these forums awhile back, but I'm very pleased with the results and thought I should contribute my experiences.

 

My Expectations

 

  • SMP would provide the same effect as using a product like Toppik.
  • SMP requires a shaved head.
  • SMP would be relatively uncomfortable.
  • I'd have to go in for two sessions that would last a couple of hours each.
  • The results of SMP would last 5+ years.
  • SMP would be very dark and visible, like a shaved hair sticking out.
  • I'd be able to notice the finally SMP results immediately.

 

 

In some ways I got what I expected and in others I did not.

 

My Results

 

  • SMP does provide a similar effect to products like Toppik, in that it reduces contrast between the scalp and the hair. What I didn't consider—and, in retrospect, should've been obvious—is that SMP is skin pigment and adds no volume or physical presence on the hair. On one hand, this is good, because then your hair feels like hair and not hair with Toppik in it. On the other hand, it doesn't create a greater volume like Toppik can. While the results were quite good, I expected something fairly identical and didn't get that. Nevertheless, the reduced contrast helps greatly.
  • SMP does not require a shaved head. Most people seem to undergo the procedure to have a shaved head look if they don't have enough hair to provide that appearance, but it can also be performed to reduce scalp contrast (why I wanted to do it). I'd thought I'd need to shave my head for the procedure and then grow the hair back. I didn't want to do this. Fortunately, SMP can be performed without any shaving whatsoever. I was concerned the results might not be as good but after three sessions I think they look great. Aside from money, a little discomfort, and impermanence (if that bothers you), there are very few sacrifices to be made with SMP.
  • SMP was relatively uncomfortable. To call it painful wouldn't be fair, although there were some instances in which it did hurt a little. I have a relatively high pain tolerance, and I was told by the technician that I seemed to be bothered by SMP much less than most people. What I found surprising, however, was how unsettling the feeling was. It's very hard to describe, but it made my head feel overly sensitive during the procedure and I felt that sensitivity in my arms and legs. It made any touch feel uncomfortable. Fortunately, this passed almost immediately after the session was complete. As for the actual sensation of the SMP needle, it felt like getting stung by a bee repeatedly for several hours but without the lasting soreness.
  • It took three sessions to achieve the results I wanted. Because SMP is relatively expensive at the moment, there is a pretty high cost if you have to go in three times. According to Dr. Mohebi, many people go in for three sessions. Two can be enough, but a third is often desired to get the look just right. I'd discussed pricing for the procedure in advance, with the understanding it'd probably take three sessions to accomplish what I wanted. We were able to work out something that was affordable for me. If you want to undergo SMP, I highly recommend figuring out the costs in advance so you know what to expect in the event you need more than two sessions. It's rare you'll find anyone who will do it all in a single session for a couple of reasons: 1) the sheer amount of time required and 2) the ink can bleed together and look like a blob rather than a hair if it doesn't have time to set. To avoid that, sessions need to be conducted at least a week apart. I'd recommend two, as my second was a week later and my third a month later. The second was much more uncomfortable with the first and third were not bad.
  • According to Dr. Mohebi, the lasting results of SMP are unknown. It's a new procedure and nobody really knows exactly how long a patient can expect to retain the pigments. Unlike a standard tattoo, the ink is not placed as far down. It can last years but, by design, not forever. This also helps prevent the color from changing from your standard hair color to some unpleasant blueish black hue. The obvious downside is that SMP will require regular maintenance as often as every year. Dr. Mohebi predicted it will last 2-3 years, but could require touch ups earlier than that. Right now the procedure hasn't been around long enough to collect enough data to know the exact expectations to set. For me, non-permanent results were ideal because I wanted to see how I'd benefit from SMP without committing to it forever. Additionally, my hair color won't be around forever and it'd look pretty weird if I had colored dots on my head with mostly gray/white hair (presuming enough sticks around, that is). While I'd prefer SMP lasted for, say, 10 years instead of the presumed 2-3, it's still far better than forever. On that note, I've found some facilities that do promise results forever. While I can't speak to their procedure's efficacy, I'd be very hesitant to use them as I'd expect it's either not an accurate statement or the results won't look great after the ink sits in the scalp for too long. Or your hair turns gray. Dr. Mohebi was very honest and direct about the results with me, and how much we do and do not know about SMP, so I felt far more comfortable with him than any of the other places I'd researched. That and I'd been through procedures with him before. I'm sure there are other doctors capable of SMP that are also very good and honest, but I chose Dr. Mohebi because I had firsthand experience of his good work. I haven't had procedures with other doctors so I cannot offer a comparison, but I can say I would avoid anybody who claims they can provide permanent SMP for the reasons previously stated.
  • SMP was not very dark or visible. It does look like shaved hair when the area is shaved, but only when completely shaved. When you have longer hair like mine, it's very hard to even tell it's there. The scalp just looks darker/grayer. It's much lighter and less perceptible than I'd expected. The downside is that it provides less contrast than, say, Toppik, because the color isn't vibrant. The upside is that it still gets the job done and it'd be very hard to notice it exists without close examination. When I examine closely, I still have trouble telling it's there.
  • I was able to notice the SMP results immediately, but they look much better right after the procedure than they do a few days later. Because you're getting your head poked with a small needle repeatedly for hours, it gets (understandably) a little red. This redness also reduces scalp contrast, so the results look more effective for the first day or two. Additionally, because you can't wash your hair for about eight hours, some of the ink will stay in it. The technicians will remove the ink as much as they can with water and a paper towel, avoiding the scalp, but that won't get rid of it 100%. So you don't want to wear anything on your head or touch anyone because it might stain, but you should also know that the ink will help decrease scalp visibility just a little bit. I thought everything looked perfect after the second procedure, but a few days later there was more visibility. The third procedure added the extra "density" I wanted once the redness disappeared. If I had to guess, the redness reduction and removal of ink left in the hair made coverage look about 30% less than it did immediately afterwards. If you want to undergo SMP, you should know this so you set your expectations accordingly.

 

 

So that's what I learned from the experience. SMP helped reduce the visibility of my FUT scar almost completely. There was just one tiny area with stretching that was obviously bereft of hair. I could've painted it black and it wouldn't have mattered—I just had to wear my hair long enough to cover it and hope it didn't move. For some reason my skin just stretch in this area that was half an inch or so. Who knows why. So before we even went ahead with SMP, Dr. Mohebi and I discussed a FUE procedure to transplant some hair into the scar as well as a couple of areas in the front of the hairline that SMP couldn't help. SMP was able to create the illusion of density I wanted almost perfectly—more so than I expected. I'm very happy with the results. I'm really hopeful that after this small FUE procedure my hair will look exactly the way I wanted.

 

But that's just me. Hopefully this post helps explain a little bit about the procedure and this information will be useful for anyone considering SMP. As with anything, there are a number of pros and cons and I tried my best to outline them as well as what I learned through my three procedures. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask and I will answer as best I can!

 

---

 

Also, photos. My blog has plenty over a period of time:

SMP Results: Hair Restoration Social Network - Hair Loss Patient Blogs

Photos from the past:

 

 

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  • Senior Member

marklet,

 

Thanks for taking the time to share your SMP experience with Dr. Mohebi. This is probably the most detailed account of SMP that I've read thus far. I took a look at your blogs but didn't see any pics after SMP. Will you be posting any? I'm very interested to see your results.

David - Former Forum Co-Moderator and Editorial Assistant

 

I am not a medical professional. All opinions are my own and my advice should not constitute as medical advice.

 

View my Hair Loss Website

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  • Senior Member

awesome write-up, I think the first here on this site for SMP into existing hair.

I have been contemplating SMP for added density in the front, but seems as you mention it would only add grey color and not dark or brown as needed.

 

Seems the rule is to go for temporary ink.

Also, if you're not shaved is there any chance of the needle transection-ing into your hair and damaging the follicles?

I worry about that part.

go dense or go home

 

Unbiased advice and opinions based on 25 plus years of researching and actual experience with hair loss, hair restoration via both FUT & FUE, SMP, scalp issues including scalp eczema & seborrheic dermatitis and many others

 

HSRP10's favorite FUT surgeons: *Dr. Konior, *Dr Hasson, Dr. Rahal

HSRP10's favorite FUE surgeons: *Dr. Konior, *Dr. Bisanga, Dr. Erdogan, Dr. Couto

(*indicates actual experience with doctor)

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  • Regular Member

 

This post shows the actual pictures with SMP results. Because there's hair all around, it's quite difficult to tell what's hair and what's SMP and what's actual hair. You can see the color of the scalp, however, is a little darker and grayer. The result that's so appealing to me is that when I comb my hair forward it looks fully covered in almost every spot. Before that you could see a lot of the scalp. It's still strange to me that it works so well because when combed back it doesn't look like there's a ton of coverage, but it's very effective when combed forward (which is what I wanted).

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  • Regular Member

Oh, sorry, I think I was maybe a little confusing. It does add brown color (or whatever color your hair is). It just has more of an appearance of a shaved head (as designed), which is a little grayer looking as the scalp creates that effect. I guess it's not really so much gray but less of a saturated color because it's in the scalp. If it appeared vibrantly brown like the actual hair it wouldn't look real. It looks like shaved brown hair, not shaved gray hair. Sorry if I made that a little confusing. :)

 

As for transection, it's tough for me to answer that technically as I've only undergone the procedure but I can say that in my experience I didn't have any problems I'm aware of. I was awake and aware of the whole procedure and could see what was going on, and I didn't notice any loss of hair. There's actually a lot of wetting and combing during the process and I did not see hair come out on the paper towels used to pat the hair after wetting it to remove the ink. Also, the ink isn't placed very far into the skin. I would expect that in order to transect a follicle and cause permanent damage, the needle would have to be inserted farther. Additionally, Dr. Mohebi and his technician plotted out every angle the needle went in so it matched the direction of the existing hairs. This was to create a realistic appearance, but I assume this also can help. Again, I'm not particularly qualified to answer this question but, in my experience, I didn't notice any damage whatsoever. I don't believe any of the three SMP procedures caused any problems at all.

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  • Regular Member

I asked Dr. Mohebi for the before and after photos so I could show more exact results. I think these really demonstrate the changes. The before photos were taken before any SMP procedures and the after photos were taken a couple of weeks after the third SMP procedure.

IMG_5655-front-before-smp.jpg.67a1eb367492260695bea4dbd2cd7049.jpg

IMG_5656-side-before-smp.jpg.23049e2c818282ed2ecdcde4cda9ec89.jpg

IMG_5661-back-before-smp.jpg.4e19a88d7a416e8e2f9d1b6630bc0486.jpg

IMG_7674-front-top-after-smp.jpg.3958040d96a3c6d88c3d5d0f28fcb0bf.jpg

IMG_7676-back-after-smp.jpg.ce948d53ce0ee9d6e5dcdefb4cfdf243.jpg

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  • Senior Member

thanks for the additional info and pics, yeah does make a cosmetic difference for sure. looks good man.

I want to cut my hair shorter and wear it washed/combed back so I have been thinking of doing some type of SMP after my second HT grows in.

again thanks

go dense or go home

 

Unbiased advice and opinions based on 25 plus years of researching and actual experience with hair loss, hair restoration via both FUT & FUE, SMP, scalp issues including scalp eczema & seborrheic dermatitis and many others

 

HSRP10's favorite FUT surgeons: *Dr. Konior, *Dr Hasson, Dr. Rahal

HSRP10's favorite FUE surgeons: *Dr. Konior, *Dr. Bisanga, Dr. Erdogan, Dr. Couto

(*indicates actual experience with doctor)

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