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.
Copyright 2017 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.