Fighting hair loss? Some Valley men turning to scalp tattoos

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A handful of clinics in the Valley offer scalp tattoos designed to look like hair stubble. It’s called scalp micropigmentation. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) A handful of clinics in the Valley offer scalp tattoos designed to look like hair stubble. It’s called scalp micropigmentation. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Scalp micropigmentation is designed to give men a short-cropped buzz cut look by blending areas with real hair stubble with thousands of tiny ink dots. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Scalp micropigmentation is designed to give men a short-cropped buzz cut look by blending areas with real hair stubble with thousands of tiny ink dots. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
The procedure involves finer needles than those used in traditional tattoos, and special ink that’s intended to fade over time. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) The procedure involves finer needles than those used in traditional tattoos, and special ink that’s intended to fade over time. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Prices range depending on the amount of hair loss, but Garrett Duell said the average man with “horseshoe pattern” baldness can expect to pay about $2,800. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Prices range depending on the amount of hair loss, but Garrett Duell said the average man with “horseshoe pattern” baldness can expect to pay about $2,800. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
SCOTTSDALE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

When it comes to hair loss, a growing number of men are skipping the pills, creams, lasers and surgery, and opting for an entirely different solution: a tattoo on their scalp.

A handful of clinics in the Valley offer scalp tattoos designed to look like hair stubble. It’s called scalp micropigmentation.

The procedure has been around for more than a decade, but Garrett Duell of DermiMatch Hair Clinic in Scottsdale says his business has really picked up over the last three years.

“It’s become more of a mainstream thing,” he said.

Scalp micropigmentation is designed to give men a short-cropped buzz cut look by blending areas with real hair stubble with thousands of tiny ink dots. The vast majority of scalp micropigmentation patients are men, but Duell said about 10 percent of his clients are women looking to fill in spots along their hairline.

The procedure involves finer needles than those used in traditional tattoos, and special ink that’s intended to fade over time.

“You wouldn't want these 10,000 tiny dots to get blurry or change color all at the same time [like a traditional tattoo],” Duell said.

For most people, the procedure lasts four to eight years. Prices range depending on the amount of hair loss, but Duell said the average man with “horseshoe pattern” baldness can expect to pay about $2,800.

That’s significantly cheaper than hair transplant surgery, which can cost $10,000 to $15,000. Other hair regrowth solutions require daily pills or hair cream.

“This is something to fill your head in, give you back the shape of your face – right now,” Duell said.

When Mark Price started researching hair loss treatments, he initially wasn’t happy with the results.

"A lot of them are like surgeries. I didn't want to have a surgery on my head and they're very expensive as well," he said.

Price decided to undergo scalp micropigmentation. On the pain scale, he rated it a three out of 10.

“I've actually fallen asleep on the table," he said.

Blending real hair stubble with ink ones takes a level of artistry, and Price said he’s happy with the results.

 “Some people looked and said, ‘You got a really nice haircut!’ I go, ‘Thanks!’” he said with a laugh. 

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Derek StaahlDerek Staahl is an Emmy Award-winning reporter and fill-in anchor who loves covering stories that matter most to Arizona families.

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Derek Staahl

This once-uncompromising "California guy" got his first taste of Arizona in 2015 while covering spring training baseball for his former station. The trip spanned just three days, but Derek quickly decided Phoenix should be his next address. He joined CBS 5 and 3TV four months later, in August 2015. Before packing his bags for the Valley of the Sun, Derek spent nearly four years at XETV in San Diego, where he was promoted to Weekend Anchor and Investigative Reporter. Derek chaired the Saturday and Sunday 10 p.m. newscasts, which regularly earned the station's highest ratings for a news program each week. Derek’s investigative reporting efforts into the Mayor Bob Filner scandal in 2013 sparked a "governance crisis" for the city of San Diego and was profiled by the region’s top newspaper. Derek broke into the news business at WKOW-TV in Madison, WI. He wrote, shot, edited, and presented stories during the week, and produced newscasts on the weekends. By the end of his stint, he was promoted to part-time anchor on WKOW’s sister station, WMSN. Derek was born in Los Angeles and was named the “Undergraduate Broadcast Journalism Student of the Year” in his graduating class at USC. He also played quads in the school’s famous drumline. When not reporting the news, Derek enjoys playing drumset, sand volleyball, and baseball.

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