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Beauty’s Solution to Baldness

More than two-thirds of American men experience some form of baldness. A type of permanent makeup could be the next big solution.

Permanent makeup has made its mark in many beauty categories from lips to brows. But now the concept is moving up — to the scalp to be exact.

Micropigmentation is on the rise as an option for hair loss. The 35 million follicle-challenged men in America have sunk millions of dollars into shampoos, prescriptions and surgeries to restore their locks. Hair-care products and vitamins to thicken hair are hitting retail shelves at a blistering pace. Consumers spent more than $56 million in multiunit doors on nonprescription hair growth last year (Rogaine alone produced more than $34 million), according to IRI data. But those remedies haven’t been the solution for many men — and women — who seek an alternative.

Cropping up across the U.S. are centers offering micropigmentation. The movement is likened to the expansion of laser light facials such as Skin Laundry or the rampant growth of centers providing everything from cool sculpting to eyelash extensions. Many see micropigmentation as a game changer to hair loss and an ongoing desire by Americans for what they see as easy fixes.

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“Losing hair can take a real hit to your self-esteem,” said Matt Iulo, the founder of Scalp Micro USA, a micro pigmentation facility that just opened a new office headquarters in New York’s Herald Square.

Iulo knows first hand. After losing his hair at an early age, Iulo started micropigmentation at 22. With a desire to help others, he became one of the first specialists to do the treatments in the U.S. He’s since treated more than 3,000 people and his business is doubling each month.

In addition to men looking for balding solutions, 30 percent of clients have scars they wish to cover. Hair loss also impacts 21 million women who represent further potential, Iulo said. Scalp Micro USA has a sizable business in eyebrows, he added.

Different from tattooing or other forms of permanent cosmetics, micropigmentation is designed to match hair color and resemble short cut hair. The process does not require surgery, hair transplants, drugs or other evasive procedures.

To create the illusion of the appearance of hair, Scalp Micro USA uses cosmetic pigmentation and special equipment. The special pigmentation has a low metal content to avoid skin issues or fading. Typically patients receive two to three treatments within the first one to three months followed by touch-ups every few years. Iulo said he received his first treatments six years ago. He’s only required one touch-up since. Treatment costs range from $2,000 to $4,000.

“Everyone asks if it hurts,” Iulo said. “It is a lot less painful than traditional tattoos. It can also be done in tandem with hair growth products such as finasteride.”

Iolu is training others to perform micropigmentation and selling the caliber of equipment he said is paramount to the process. He has a goal of certifying more than 100 people this year. Among those gravitating to the training include barbers, permanent makeup artists and even hair transplant surgeons.

Ancillary products are also on his to do list including moisturizers and sunscreens for the scalp.