ONTARIO, Canada (CBC News) — Men who are losing their hair have long known about a few options — shave it all off, wear a toupee or get hair plugs.
But they might not know about another option that gives the illusion of re-growing hair.
“It’s just a tiny little dot that’s going to go right in the scar,” nurse Linda McLean said.
The tool might look like it belongs in a tattoo parlor.
But Linda McLean is a registered nurse.
Today she’s fixing a hair transplant scar.
Adam McEniry had a hair transplant nearly 20 years ago.
“Very soon afterwards I realized it wasn’t the way I wanted to go,” McEniry said.
Now he shaves his head and people notice his scar.
“They would say how did you get that scar?” McEniry said. “When people did bring it up I felt so ashamed and embarrassed it would really bother me.”
That’s why he’s trying scalp micro-pigmentation – basically, a scalp tattoo – to mask it.
“It’s not as deep as a tattoo so it will only last a couple years and costs one thousand dollars,” McLean said.
And the initial results – the dots of ink – are tough to see.
Reporter: They’re so tiny.
McLean: They’re very tiny.
Reporter: But I guess that’s the point, right, so are the hair follicles?
McLean: But they increase in diameter in the next couple days.
Dr. Robert Jones and McLean learned about the technique in Italy.
“I’ve had it done myself,” Dr. Jones said. “The idea is that you’re making a thinner head of hair look a little thicker.”
He’s tattooed bigger areas – creating a nearly permanent five o’clock shadow.
But the results can be unpredictable.
“It looks fine when they leave and then a day or so later it will actually bleed under the skin,” Dr. Jones said.
Dermatologist Dr. Jeff Donovan has other concerns.
“This woman, she may have hair loss simply from thyroid abnormality or low iron, or from some disease, and I think if you just go ahead and micro-pigment you may be missing a serious disease,” Dr. Donovan said.
McEniry says he’s heard it all.
“There’s risks any time you do something that’s man-made,” McEniry said.
But for him, the benefits outweigh any risks.
“I made one bad decision when I was 20 and it’s been a journey to try to correct that,” McEniry said.