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Guys are tattooing hair on their head to deal with balding

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Guys are tattooing hair on their head to deal with balding

WATCH: Guys suffering hair loss are tattooing hair on their heads to make it look like they have hair.

If it's "long hair, don't care," that means it must be "short hair, do care," right?

That was the case for Matt Iulo, 28, who lost all his hair when he was in college.

He knew he wanted his hair back, but he didn't want to go through a surgical hair transplant like follicar unit extraction (FUE) or transplantation (FUT), which moves hair follicles from one place to the next, because he didn't want scarring.

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Matt Iulo does scalp micropigmentation from his New York clinic. He's served more than 3,000 customers.

Instead, he settled for a tattoo. A big tattoo of thousands of hair follicles on his head.

It's called scalp micropigmentation (SMP), and it involves tattooing little dots on your head so as to simulate a buzzcut.

"I was thinking about a transplant," Iulo said about the time he realized he was losing his hair.

"It was pricey. I did a consult, didn't love it. I came across scalp micro pigmentation. There weren't a lot in the States, so I had to travel overseas. I met the people who did it, loved it. I thought it was a good line of work; it was like an up and coming industry."

Now, Iulo runs Scalp Micro USA, an SMP clinic in New York City that has dished out full heads of hair to at least 3,000 people in the last six years. 

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Willie Goode is one person who's decided to embrace the bald look and says he never really considered any surgical or non-surgical treatment.

Because SMP is not a medical or surgical procedure, it is much cheaper than a standard hair transplant.

Dr. Ron Shapiro, who is a hair transplant surgeon in Minnesota, estimates that most hair transplants run anywhere from $8,000 to $12,000.

Iulo says an SMP procedure runs you on average anywhere from $2,000 to $3,000.

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Craig Ryding, 55, decided to get an SMP treatment after seeing an ad on Instagram.

"I'd never really cared about being bald," Ryding said. "But when I heard about SMP, it seemed like a  cool thing to do to make it look like I have a buzzcut."

Six months after having it done, he says he's happy with it.

"It did hurt," said Ryding. But he shouldn't have to go back for another 10 years, when it starts fading.

I would say for guys that are young, it may seem like losing your hair is the end of the world. It's not.
Matt Iulo, Scalp Micro USA

By the time they're 35, about 66 percent of men will have suffered some form of hair loss, according to the American Hair Loss Association, whether it's male pattern balding or stress induced.

Still, losing your hair doesn't mean you have to do something about.

Dr. Shapiro tells most patients who are under 25 years old to hold out before putting a knife in your head as your hairline is still maturing at that point.

"I tell my patients to wait it out," Dr. Shapiro said. "Because if we do it before your hairline has reached its final position, we might have to do another surgery and leave another scar."

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This is what a head with SMP looks like up close.

Shapiro who also practices SMP says it's not SMP or bust, or FUT or bust. There's  also tricopigmentation, a temporary version of SMP.

Shapiro says some people do this to see whether or not they're comfortable with the buzzcut look. The ink wears off eventually for those who change their minds.

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For a lot of people, losing hair can be a blow to the self-esteem.

From 2006 to 2014, hair restoration procedures increased by 76 percent, according to the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery.

But there are people who don't mind being bald.

Willie Goode started balding when he was about 23 years old and hasn't put ink or a knife to his scalp. He's put a lot of razors to it, though. He gets his hair cut twice a week.

"My girlfriend likes it," says Goode while he waits for his haircut at HIS Grooming, a barbershop in Washington, D.C.

As much as he believes in SMP, Matt Iulo has one piece of advice for people who are balding, no matter their age:

"There's no reason to jump the gun. There's more solutions now than ever. "

What would you if you experienced hair loss?

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