How to Choose a Provider
Choosing the Best Scalp Micropigmentation Provider
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With so many new companies arriving on the scene each day, not only can it become overwhelming when trying to research providers, it is difficult to remember what each and every company either tells you or claims. Ensuring a quality end scalp pigmentation procedure can be confusing and difficult.
You first need to know the facts about SMP-MS (scalp micropigmentation multi-sessions) and their drawbacks.
To assist you in interviewing and keeping track of the particular providers’ answers or claims, you may download a convenient worksheet HERE to assist you in choosing your provider. This worksheet has the important key questions to ask. There should be no gray areas in their answers, a simple yes or no, so look for any hesitation on the provider’s part to give you a simple answer.
We receive an alarming amount of inquiries for corrective procedures and Artistry Concepts is working very hard on a national advocacy agenda to assure that all scalp pigmentation candidates are educated in this field. To further assist you in making the best decision that you are comfortable with, here are some steps that you should take to research a company’s claims and specific questions to ask them. Their answers (or lack of) will assist your decision-making process.
LICENSING: This is THE single most important factor and should be your first consideration no matter what the provider offers. Check with the provider’s state licensing board. Be sure that they are properly licensed. In some jurisdictions like Atlanta, Georgia, you apply for licensing through the Police Department. There are only two states that do not require any licensing, neither Department of Health or individual establishment licenses; Arizona and New York.
Below is a list of the licensing required in almost all states:
- Individual Artist License
- Fixed Location License
- Bio-Medical Waste Generator Permit
- Business Tax License (Occupational License)
TRAVELLING PROVIDERS: Keeping in mind the legal and licensing requirements above, this is a big red flag. Practitioners offering to come to your location so you don’t have to travel to them is asking for problems. Any company must be operating out of a permanent, fixed and licensed location and beware of anyone agreeing travel to perform your procedure out of a hotel room or office. Some companies utilize the services of the now very popular “virtual office” to create a successful-looking corporate image. These services provide mail and phone answering services, as well as a conference room available by advance request, but they are NOT licensed for cosmetic tattooing. Click HERE to view one example of these virtual offices and what they provide. Check with the city and require if the particular address they are claiming is licensed.
The only exception to this are laws pertaining to “guest artists.” Although still; very strict. Not only is the provider still required to have a permanent artist’s license for the particular state they are “guesting” in, but also a temporary license for the licensed establishment they will be working from. There is no such thing as a blanket license for either an individual artist or location. Unlicensed and non-fixed locations cannot provide proper sterilization and these highly unsanitary conditions can result in life-threatening skin infections, allergic reactions, tetanus, hepatitis B and C, and even HIV. They are breaking local ordinances, zoning laws, and most importantly, are in serious violation of all states’ health regulations. Something as simple as unsterilized tap water can have adverse effects. Seriously rethink your decision to have your scalp pigmentation performed in a hotel/office room where you would put yourself at a severe health risk. DON’T FALL FOR THIS!
PHOTOS/VIDEOS: Some new companies lacking portfolios even “borrow” photos belonging to other established providers. Reading through their website, does the text sound familiar? If so, it is likely that text was also “borrowed” from another company. Providers should watermark their photos.
While videos are excellent for testimonials, bear in mind that some of these men perhaps were either paid endorsers, or in many cases, received a monetary discount for their “appearance.” For instance, Artistry Concepts has six years of testimonials, and only two clients agreed to appear on videos. One of these men appears on our home page video and the other video was never published because it involved a previous treatment from another provider that was named by the client. In the long run, photos are stationary and can be enlarged to be able to closely inspect the work, without the constant movement of a camera.
Artistry Concepts does not compensate clients for the participation in testimonial videos. In addition, because many of our clients are actors, celebrities and sports heroes, they wish to remain anonymous. We feel if the client is happy, they make their own decision to provide reviews. We provide unaltered macro photographs to enable the viewer to inspect the photos in still frame, and to further enlarge.
COMPANY’S TIME IN BUSINESS: When was the company formed? Do they claim on their website that they have been in business since 2007 but in fact state records indicate 2010? For instance, one company claims they have post procedure results from 10 years ago. But in fact, the company was only formed in 2012……and NO post procedure photos on their site! This can very easily be confirmed through their state’s incorporation records. Jurisdictions will not allow a company to legally operate without a Business Tax License (a/k/a an Occupational License). And these licenses are only issued to approved, commercial, and legal locations after various inspections of the fixed location. Look for discrepancies in these dates.
While Artistry Concepts was formed as an LLC in 2007 to protect Weston’s international works of art, Mark Weston did not formally commence his research for the original ACHM until 2009.
COMPANY OWNER/OWNERS: Find out who the owner is and research him/her. This can also be found in their state’s incorporation records. Perhaps the person who in fact owns the company is merely an investor and has no previous background in this field. The incorporation records will also list what other companies he/she owns or have an interest in. One scalp pigmentation company is owned by an individual who also owns other unrelated sideline businesses. Some companies have been established in other services, such as hair transplants, tanning salons, nail salons, laser hair removal, permanent cosmetics or plastic surgery to name just a few. These companies have now added scalp pigmentation as a sideline “fill in” service to supplement their primary source of income. This information will help you to personally determine if the company is truly in this field for your benefit, or just jumping in to increase their bottom line. An owner/owners who have owned similar businesses in related fields are your best bet.
Mark Weston is the owner of Artistry Concepts and has owned numerous related businesses since 1981.
ARTIST RESUMES: Research the credentials of the person whom will be applying your procedure. You are hiring this person to provide you with a very important personal cosmetic service, and request the artist’s/technician’s resume whom will be applying your scalp pigmentation. Better yet, ask to speak to the very technician that will actually be performing your application, not a salesperson or receptionist. Ask these questions:
- What did they do before working for that company
- Where and how long for each position
- How long have they personally performed scalp pigmentation
- How many procedures in particular performed
- Where did they receive their scalp pigmentation training
- Any formal art-related background or degrees
- Ask to see photos of their personal procedure work
- And, ask to see their personal artist license
This your appearance that you are seeking to alter. While some certifications are valuable, be aware of “certifications” that are received merely by an annual membership fee. Listing in the IBMS is by invitation only, not to be confused with some other certifications that are simply received by an annual membership fee.
Mark Weston was the first tattoo artist to be personally invited by Dr. David Kalin in 2010 to join the IBMS.
SOLE ARTIST OR TEAM EFFORT: Scalp pigmentation can be viewed in two lights; as an art form or just dots to the scalp. If you are a person who would rather think of your scalp as a potential art canvas, then you need to choose a provider with a sole practitioner. In the alternative, request the larger company who has numerous practitioners to have only one technician work on you and ask for their resume as outlined above. Scalp Pigmentation should be considered a cosmetic art form, and experience, talent, technique and touch can vary greatly between technicians. If various technicians need to consult others in their company for color selection and/or hairline styles, they don’t have the experience to properly apply your application.
The photo to the left is a perfect example of a “team effort.” The hairline was established by one tech; she then consulted with another tech. After being advised by the second tech that the hairline was acceptable, the pigmentation procedure continued with the hairline being off over one-half inch.
CONTINUING RESEARCH: Providers that are involved in continuing research and innovations will offer you the latest technology and will be knowledgeable of other scalp pigmentation options available. A provider that offers continued improvements in the field has the recipient in mind for the long run. Mark Weston is the owner of Artistry Concepts and the ACHM2® and ACHM2.5 developer and has performed all R & D personally for the patented ACHM2® needles.
When making a decision to select a scalp micropigmentation provider, you deserve to get the highest quality scalp pigmentation procedure with the most innovative and advanced technology in the world today. You can refer to a simple comparative guide.
Mark Weston continues to conduct research for advancements in the scalp pigmentation field.
LASER: While it is understandable why a company would have a laser technician, it does raise some concerns if laser services are being offered for any other reason than correction of a previous application. To offer services to correct the provider’s own mistakes or for the client’s change of mind, then this is not acceptable. If the client is requesting laser services even before they have made the decision to commit to a particular provider’s method, then this should be a concern on the part of the provider. The client is not yet sure and should NOT be pushed into the company’s services, based on the ability to make corrections later. Advise the client to continue their research and to re-contact that provider in the future when they are absolutely sure.
Why should I choose Artistry Concepts® for the ACHM2® and ACHM2.5?
Artistry Concepts is the only company who can substantiate the claims in our website and our claims are not sales and marketing oriented. Mark Weston is the owner and the ACHM2® and ACHM2.5 developer and has performed all R & D personally for the patented ACHM2® needles. All our claims are clearly supported with photos and other evidentiary documentation. Please visit the Why ACHM2.5® page and ACHM2.5 History page for full disclosure.
©2014 Mark A. Weston
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