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Another important area to be addressed is the various “specialty” scalp pigmentation needles that companies are claiming they use for hair follicle replication.Let’s explore actual facts about needle sets, as just about every company out there offering scalp pigmentation is claiming that they have the smallest needles, or special needles. Yo may read about Mark Weston’s patented needles HERE.
While the proper needle size is extremely important, other factors that must be considered is experience of the artist, touch, proper equipment and supplies in order to produce a natural-looking result. But we will start with the smallest and most appropriate needle used in the industry, the ACHM2®, then through all the needles utilized by various providers. A summary paragraph is included at the conclusion.
ACHM2®: This was the first needle hand-made by Weston, considerably smaller than the standard commercial three round as depicted in the next paragraph. It does not take a lot of common sense to see that the three round needle set described and pictured below will make much larger point than the ACHM2® needle set that has a size of .003 at the tip. The ACHM2® needle set is .003 at the point and .014 at the 1/16th mark. The ACHM2® stainless steel needle is still in use and can replicate up to 1150 follicle points per square inch. Weston was granted a patent in July of 2015 for these needles. These needles are still mainly used by Weston on 90 percent of his clients. These are also the same needles that Weston is basing his training on.
ACHM2.5: This newest needle was released in January of 2014 after 2500 hundred hours of testing. Until then, the ACHM2® needles remained the smallest in the industry. But Weston has designed even a smaller needle and has surpassed his own present ACHM2® design. Previously, a smaller needle than ACHM2® needle was not possible because of too much flexibility in the stainless and the inability to carry sufficient pigment to the scalp. This new ACHM2.5 needle is smaller than the previous ACHM2® needle but utilized for specific scalp types only and locations on the scalp. This needle is utilized in about ten percent of scalp pigmentation cases.
Weston designed this smaller titanium needle for use on certain types of scalps only; Alopecia, men whom have laser treatment or have worn hair systems for many years. However because titanium is not as strong as stainless, Weston utilized a special diamond coating finishing process, thereby drastically increasing the titanium strength. Medical titanium is also bio-compatible with no known allergic reactions.
With diamond being the hardest material known with a very small friction coefficient, it is used widely in surgical instruments. It is also an excellent material for use in various needle applications. This much sharper needle creates increased ease of insertion into the scalp benefiting the scalp pigmentation recipient.
However, Weston is reluctant to publish the actual sizes of this new ACHM2.5 needle, as some providers arbitrarily use Weston’s dimensions to claim their needles are smaller, but without them supplying sufficient proof.
This new ACHM2.5 needle offers new features for specific scalp types:
- Up to 1350 follicles per square inch
- Smaller insertion point resulting in far less irritation
- Ease of insertion into the scalp, resulting in shortened application time
- Faster healing and curing time
- Better blending into existing hair on some scalps
- Follicle growth stimulation
ACHM2.5 Needle ACHM2.5 Result
THREE ROUND:This is the most widely used stainless needle for scalp pigmentation applications. However, these standard commercially-made needle sets are .016 (3R) at the point and are too large to accurately replicate a hair follicle. And with that said, the needles get thicker has you come up the shaft from the point to a very thick .047 (standard 3R grouping) at the 1/16 inch mark on the needle set, (the approximate depth of a replicated hair follicle). These needles typically can produce 400 – 700 “replicated” follicles per square inch.
DOUBLE (2 round):As can be seen in the photo to the left, the points of these stainless needles are perpendicular to each other, or stacked one on top of the other. The end result of these needles is an elongated (oval) point, as the pigment is carried to the scalp between the two shafts. There is no third shaft to hold pigment to make a round point. Claims that these double stacked needles can replicate 1200 follicles per square inch is unfounded and an impossibility. Notice that the pigment this provider used also has a blue hue.
SINGLE SPIRALS: These are being used by many pigmentation providers. Locating a macro photo of a scalp pigmentation with these needles is very difficult; as the providers tend to mute the photos to disallow close inspection of the “follicles.” These have a spiral cut in the tip of a single #12 needle. This stainless needle has a specific use in tattooing, on a specific skin type. Their use on scalps that have normal skin will look great for a few days, even a few weeks, then the points will fade off to nothing very quickly. The points left by these single needles can look very close in size to the ACHM2®/ACHM2.5 points, but the fact is a single needle does not hold or have the ability to carry enough pigment into the skin to make a “lasting” replicated follicle. This is why some procedures require three to five initial treatments. This is another reason some companies require you to return every few years, as the pigments eventually fade away. You can see the result of this needle below. So if a company is saying that they use a single needle set, you now have the actual facts with the actual outcome.
SUMMARY: The only proven way to carry the correct amount of pigment to the scalp is with a 3 needle configuration. The pigment is held in the small cup made where the three points of the pins come together at the tip to make a finished needle set.
- The ACHM2® needles can provide up to 1150 follicles per square inch and are the patented needles Weston utilizes. The ACHM2.5 needle provides up to 1350 follicles per square inch while carrying sufficient pigment to the scalp for a permanent pigmentation application, but these are only used in a small percentage of specialized clients.
- Standard three round needles are the most widely used and carry sufficient pigment, but they leave an oversized point that is roughly 10 times the size of a natural hair follicle.
- Double (2 round prong) needles also do not carry sufficient pigment, and they leave an elongated point.
- While a single spiral needle leaves a small imprint, it does not carry sufficient pigment for long-lasting results.The roller type application does not mimic a natural pattern of hair follicles.
©2014 Mark A. Weston