The psychological and social impact of hair loss and its ongoing treatment can be considerable. Medical treatments are not always successful, and alternative treatments, such as medical tattooing, are growing in popularity. The aims of this study were to explore adults’ motivations, experiences, and self-perceived outcomes in relation to medical tattooing. Individual telephone interviews were conducted with 22 women from the United Kingdom aged 26–67 years who had undergone medical tattooing in the past 5 years related to hair loss. Interviews were transcribed and inductive thematic analysis was performed. Appearance concerns, loss of self-confidence/identity, and the practicalities of daily upkeep were cited as reasons for seeking a semi-permanent solution. Trust in the practitioner and the ongoing costs of tattoo maintenance were important considerations in participants' decision-making process and their overall satisfaction with treatment outcomes. Participants felt the emotional impact of hair loss and the subsequent need for appearance-restoring treatment remains unrecognised. This study provides insight into participants’ perceptions of an under-researched and unregulated but widely accessible treatment. Implications for the decision-making process are discussed, and suggestions for health professionals are offered.
Stock, N. M., Sharratt, N. D., Treneman-Evans, G., Montgomery, K., Denman, R., Harcourt, D., & at the Centre for Appearance Research, T. V. R. T. (in press). ‘My face in someone else’s hands’: A qualitative study of medical tattooing in women with hair loss. Psychology, Health and Medicine, https://doi.org/10.1080/13548506.2021.1883688