Nathan Rollins, 31, from Anchorage, Alaska wanted to cover his balding hair with a realistic tattoo procedure called scalp micropigmentation (SMP).
Rollins had tears in his eyes and his voice was shaking as he shared his feelings going into what he hoped would correct the problems he saw with his appearance.
SMP is supposed to give the appearance of stubble where hair no longer grows, but Rollins was not pleased with the results of his initial treatment.
This problem of his hair thinning had begun in his early 20’s and had taken a toll on him mentally as well.
He initially used microfibers to give the appearance of thicker hair. ‘It’s something I struggled with for a long time, I did a good job concealing my thinning hair over the years and I was tired of doing it,’ he said.
That’s when we went in for his first SMP session, that didn’t go as planned.
‘After my first session I was so depressed that I didn’t want to live anymore,’ Rollins said.
‘I’m not an expert but it didn’t look right at all, the impressions were large like pen marks. It looked like someone had put dots all over my head. I was like “Oh, my god, what did I do?” and knew it was a big mistake, looking at myself in the mirror made me feel even more depressed.’
This where expert Jonathan Gerow stepped in and fixed a previously botched treatment that left his nearly bald head looking like it had been dotted with magic marker.
The before and after of Rollin’s transformation was caught on camera and published by Caters News Agency on Monday.
‘I didn’t have any trepidation coming into this and now I do, just because I feel like the top of my skull looks like markers,’ he said in a confessional style interview at the beginning of the video.
But Rollins fears subsided after Gerow, 36, was able to blend the large blobs of ink with thousands of tiny dots.
‘It looks like someone took a black point marker and just made huge dots,’ he said.
‘I’m just concerned that the authenticity of it is not gonna be there. I’m just [at a loss] for words.’
At one point, Rollins had quite a bit of hair atop his head, that he wore styled with a buzz cut on the sides.
‘I had enough hair to make it look like I still had a full head of hair, I kept it cut short on the sides and back to make it more deceiving,’ Rollins said.
Gerow, whose practice is based in New York City, New York, knew how important this was to Rollins, who got emotional himself after he completed the 3-hour corrective session.
‘I wanted to make sure this kid was taken care of perfectly,’ he said.
Rollins said he wouldn’t have wished what happened to him on his worst enemy.
‘I felt like the individual who did my first session was just in it for the money,’ he said. ‘It’s a shame because it’s a person’s appearance and you can’t hide it.’
The camera panned over the botched SMP job, that showed large black dots all over his head.
Gerow said Rollins was right that the company who completed his first treatments ‘really messed him up.’
‘I thought he must have gone to a rookie for treatment, the color didn’t match his skin and the ink was a real off-black. The dots looked like they were made by a Sharpie, they were large with no volume and didn’t look like hair at all,’ he said.
‘Usually a person would need laser surgery after such a bad job, he got lucky. I was able to camouflage the dots, with thousands and thousands of tiny dots, adding a lot more density to the scalp so you couldn’t see them anymore.’
After the botched work was fixed, Rollins stood looking in a mirror and cried.
‘Oh, it looks great,’ he said, overcome with emotion.
‘Wow. It’s a night and day difference,’ he said, his voice shaking even more than before.
Rollins wiped a tear from his eye as he turned from the mirror toward Gerow, the SMP expert responsible for his new look.
‘Look at that, man,’ Gerow said as he exhaled in appreciation of the work.
‘Look at that, you see that look how natural that looks now? That’s, like, amazing.’
Rollins let out a laugh, full of relief and joy at his updated appearance.
He cried some more and hugged Gerow, who said, ‘It’s alright brother, don’t worry about it.’
After his ordeal, Rollins had a bit of advice for those considering SMP.
‘The thing people don’t understand is that it’s an art form, it’s more difficult than a canvas,’ he said.
‘I would advise anyone considering this treatment, do your homework, don’t settle, find clients of theirs that you can see and don’t jump into something unless you have the best artist.’
Rollins said that he and Gerow are now forever bonded by the experience.