Hair Transplants vs Scalp Micropigmentation!

By Joe Barghi

I have been dealing with hair loss since I was 18 years old. My dad lost his hair, my grandfathers on both sides were bald, and most of my uncles were completely or relatively bald. My chances of having a full head of hair were similar to a drunk tourist’s chances of getting rich from playing blackjack or craps on the Las Vegas strip, if not much worse!

From a young age, I was looking for solutions or ways to mask my thinning. I tried the FUT Hair Transplant at 25 years old. They showed me some drastic before/after photos and said this could be YOU. I was desperate and naïve, so I believed them and paid $18,000 for them to cut me open. At the time, I was thinning, but not completely bald yet. I knew it was getting worse, so I decided to get ahead of it and try to stop it. I had a “successful” transplant with about 1800 (4,000 or so hairs) grafts taken from the back of my head to implant into the top of my head. I had no idea what I was getting into that day. First, they injected my head with massive needles all over my head to numb me for the next part. Once I was numb (mostly), they cut the back of my head open from ear to ear, I can hear the carving and see the blood all over the place. Sorry, I know this is gruesome, but I must share my story as it happened. Then the doctor stitches you up, tightening your skin as much as he can. The better your doctor and skin, the thinner your scar will end up being once it’s all healed. The techs take each follicle, one by one, from that strip of skin, and then get it ready to be implanted back into the top of your scalp, one by one. This surgery takes most of the day to complete. But it doesn’t end there, this is just the beginning. For the next month, I was recovering from the surgery and headaches while my scalp was recovering from the trauma of being cut from ear to ear. I had some shooting nerve pain in my head for years after this procedure. For the following year, I had to wait for the new hairs to grow, I was advised to take alopecia for the rest of my life to keep all the hairs and was also advised to grow my hair out to a length where my scar wouldn’t be visible (now short fades). I figured all the pain, money, and sacrifice would be worth it once I had a full head of hair again. I was gravely mistaken.

By the time I was 30 years old, I had lost the rest of my own hair, and even some of the transplant hairs. I was completely bald, and the transplant I had done 5 years earlier was a complete waste of time, money, and pain in my head. That’s when I started doing extensive research and learning about transplants in more detail (something I should’ve done before my transplant). I learned that a transplant could give you 3,000 to 5,000 hairs, yet a full head of hair usually has over 100,000 hairs. 5% of my hair! What!? Why would I go through all that misery to add a measly 5% where I’d still be bald in 5 years’ time!? Unfortunately, they do not tell you these details, at least not where I went for my transplant. They sell you on it like a car dealership would sell you on a car that looks amazing, but really isn’t the right car for you.

Over the years, I tried different haircuts, hair products, Propecia, Rogaine, Nioxin, hair makeup and fillers, silly laser helmets, PRP: basically, everything I could get my hands on that was sold as the “next best thing” for my hair. I probably spent over $100,000 in my 10-15 years of trying to fix my hair and regrow new hair. NONE of it WORKED. I was bald, and now had to shave my head completely even with this nasty scar on the back of my head. It was the end of the 4th quarter, I was down by 4 touchdowns, with only a few minutes left, I thought I was doomed and was close to giving up: then I found Scalp Micropigmentation. I thought hmmm, this looks interesting, so I started doing research on it. This was in 2014/2015 when not too many SMP artists existed. I dug deep into the HIS Hair Clinic forums, and read about their best UK artist, Zang. I found out he was now doing treatments in LA, found him, and made a consultation appointment to learn more. I was very skeptical this time around since I had such a bad experience with the transplant. I took everything he said with a grain of salt, and did more research, tons of research. I asked over 100 questions and took my time looking at as many photos and videos as possible, seeing what others who had done had to say. Not 1 person said anything bad (unless they went to the wrong place). I was amazed how natural and real it looked. All I had to do was shave my head, and I was already doing that anyways. After contemplating it for the next month, I finally got the courage to book my treatment. Nothing existed in Vegas at the time, so I planned 3 trips to LA over the next couple months to have Scalp Micropigmentation done.

This experience was opposite of my hair transplant experience. I enjoyed speaking with Zang as he went to town on my scalp, with over 100,000 follicle impressions over 3 sessions! Yet, there was no bleeding, no surgery, no recovery, nothing! And the results were instant! After seeing myself in the mirror following my first session and seeing my new hairline for the first time in years, I was immediately in love with this artform! The frame to my face took 10 years off my age immediately. My heart was pumping with joy and confidence. After my final session, I went to dinner that night and remember being this confident, outgoing, happy young man: a man that had been buried away for many years, a man who had been in hiding for many years, and a man who thought he’d never come back out for daylight. No more hats, no more hair makeup, no more stressing and worrying about my bald head! This was it; this was the answer I had been looking for! As I was driving back to Las Vegas, I thought how cool would it be if I could learn this artform and bring it back to Vegas!? So…I did just that.

I have now treated thousands of clients just like myself, and I enjoy every minute of it. Some of my clients have had multiple FUT or FUE transplants, and they still end up here to cover their scars, and to fill their scalps with density. Unfortunately, they all had the same horrible experience I had with the hair transplant. But fortunately, I can relate to them, and have found a way to fix their issue, giving them their confidence back so they can enjoy life from the same perspective I have now. Until there is a cure for hair loss without surgery, Scalp Micropigmentation remains as the #1 solution for hair loss, and it’s not even close.

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