What’s so special about SMP needles?

Although Scalp Micropigmentation is often compared to tattooing, the needles differ in many more ways than they are similar. Future technicians as well as potential SMP customers are very curious about the proper needles required to efficiently execute the procedure.

Many technicians use specialized tattoo equipment while others use electronic permanent makeup machines. Others use machinery that resembles permanent makeup pens, but that is more light-weight or slim for easy handling.  Unfortunately, the needles between these various devices are not compatible. We will go more in-depth about differences now.

Needles for use with tattoo equipment

Some technicians that use a tattoo gun will use a 3RL needle as well as machines that accept generic fitment needle cartridges.

SMP requires round liners that are compatible with 1RL or 3RL configurations, and in some cases, 2 prong needles.

For clarification, the difference between 1RL and 3RL are the single versus the 3 point needles.

Singles needles versus triple (3 point) needles

The constant debate between the two styles of needles and which is best for SMP can finally be put to rest. Although they both have their advantages and disadvantages, There are quite a few technicians and artists tend to lean towards the 3 point needles for personal reasons.  Some like to switch it up between the 1 and the 3 depending on what part of the head they are on.  It is best to go to a technician who has both on hand.  The more needle sizes he has, the more experiences he most likely is.

Depending on which needle technicians are taught to use, some may venture to the other type, or plan to stick with what they are accustomed to.

There is absolutely no right or wrong, it is all based on professional preference. It is also not uncommon for technicians to combine the use of both styles during the time of one SMP procedure.

Advantages and disadvantages

In regards to single needles, users often notice retention issues. This is due to the lack of ability to grab and deposit the right amount of pigment. On the bright side, single needle users experience little to no resistance while penetrating the skin, as if it was grazing over the skin, ever so lightly.

2 and 3 point needles, on the other hand, deposit pigment into the skin at much more efficient rate. Users often suggest 3 point needles are put to far better use when trying to obtain a more pigmented look.

Whether 1, 2 or 3, it is extremely important to regulate hand pressure.

Needles for digital permanent makeup machines

Technicians around the world, since the start of SMP have been using permanent makeup machines. Unfortunately, standard tattoo needles are not compatible with digital devices. The only solution is to invest in compatible cartridges for each of the devices.

In regards to sizing, most SMP technicians utilize 3 micro for their procedures. 3 point needles are 0.15 mm in diameter (each), and is suitable for almost all treatments relating to the scalp.

Keep in mind, the use of either needle is based on your professional preference and not only yours, but the needs of any client you encounter. Each procedure will be different— not only will you be faced with challenges, but you will have to decipher which needle equipment will doing the best job achieving your desired results.

Needles for customized Scalp Micropigmentation machines

Since the birth of scalp micropigmentation, there have an influx of companies providing scalp specific machinery.  Despite this fact, a lot of technicians that starting SMP in the early days got used to their equipment long before these new tools came around.  Some make the switch to SMP specific machinery later in their career and some stick with what they know.  In the future this scalp specific equipment may evolve even further into something that is used unanimously amongst scalp artists, but this has yet to be seen.


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