Body Mods: Scarification

Updated on March 29, 2016

What is Scarification

Scarification, or scarifying, are words used to describe the acts or art forms of those of us that intentionally inflict wounds of different sorts to create scars on their bodies. Your probably asking yourself, who are these crazy people and why are they undergoing such tremendous amounts of pain to intentionally create scar tissue? (Something that most people try to avoid.) Being one that has personally experimented with and enjoyed different types of scarification, I would like to further expose and share the experiences and history of this extreme and beautiful art form.

Why would someone do such a thing?

Intentionally scarring yourself may seem like a radicle practice of the mentally unstable, but I'll be the first to tell you that self inflicted scars are more often than not a means of expression rather than a cry for attention. For centuries people have undergone these physical transformations as a means of artistic expression, spiritual enlightenment, right of passage and sexual related experimentations. Throughout the past, tribal cultures and warriors have scared their bodies to signify the coming of age, puberty, sacrifice, social or military status, marriage and spiritual or religious confirmations. Contemporary scarification practices can be for very similar reasons as those of the past, or for very different reasons all together. Everyone is different, their reasoning for modifying their body should be looked upon with respect and an open mind.

Through my own personal experiences with scarification I've come to discover that the physical pain itself is quite soothing when you can bring yourself to overcome it. This is something that I believe many adrenalin junkies and spiritual mystics may be able to relate to. I've also come to adore the imperfectly beautiful designs that resided as the outcome of such pain stricken artistic processes. For some I believe the scar can be very much like a trophy or medal to be worn with pride for the amount of pain that they had to overcome to receive it.

Here comes the pain!

Now that I've shared some insight on what scarification is and some of the reasons for its practice, We're going to take a look at some of the methods used to create these amazing and seemingly grotesque pieces of body art. These methods include different variations of branding, skin cutting and removal, controlled chemical burns and abrasion.

Cutting and skin removal

Often confused for acts of self-harm or mutilation, skin cutting is a cosmetic way of using a razor or scalpel to cut through the layers of skin to create a pattern or design with intentions of scaring the body. Hatching and cross hatching are implemented while cutting for means of shading very similar to the methods that an artist would use when creating an ink drawing.

Skin removal or peeling is a more extreme variation of skin cutting. When preforming skin removal, the artist will typically outline all of the design first with a series of incisions. Once the outline is complete, the artist proceeds to remove the desired skin from the outline by peeling it back with the tip of the razor or scalpel until the skin is removed completely. Some designs can take up to hundreds of little pieces of skin to be removed to reach the desired outcome, however in my personal experiences, the skin was lifted and removed successfully in one piece.

Wound packing is another technique seen more frequently in tribal like cultures. This practice involves pacing the cuts full of clay or ash to encourage hypertrophic and keloid scaring. This occurs during the healing process as the body tries to force the forging matter out

Strike branding

Strike branding has been utilized throughout history to mark cattle, slaves, criminals and in this case willing body art canvases. A strike band is achieved by heating a piece of metal until it reaches a glowing red ember, then proceeding to press the hot metal steadily against the skin to inflict a burn. Multiple strikes are often used repetitively until the desired design is complete. Metal pieces of all different shapes and sizes can be worked with when preforming a strike brand. Strike branding can make it difficult to use a great deal of precision. It also can leave wide spread and uneven scar tissue.

Cautery and Electrosurgical branding

These methods of branding can be done by first using a stencil or drawing the design onto the clients skin before the procedure begins, or they can be done freehand.

A cautery brand uses a hand held thermal cautery tool to melt away the skin in the desired pattern or design.

Electosurgical brands (otherwise known as laser brands) are preformed with electrical surgical units that use electricity to actually vaporize the skin.

These methods of branding are more precise do to the greater amount of control involved during the branding process. These types of brands typically leave cleaner and more even scars.

Solar Branding

This meathod of branding is the one that I personally find to be the most intriguing! Solar branding is the process of using the UV rays of the brightest star in our solar system to burn the skin in distinctive patterns with a magnifying glass. These burns can start off resembling thin paper-cut like markings and over the matter of a few days, they begin to spread and blossom into beautiful artistic patterns.


Controlled Chemical Burns and Abrasion

Abrasion can be used to create scar tissue by means of friction. Tools such as sandpaper, metal files, inkless tattoo needles and wire brushes can be uses to remove the layers of skin to create a decent scar.

A controlled chemical burn uses chemicals to deteriorate and melt away the layers of skin to create a desired scar. This method of scarification can be unstable and highly dangerous.

Does it hurt?

If a body modification procedure looks and sounds painful, that's because it is. Plain and simple. The pain of the procedure itself isn't the only painful part of creating the scar. The healing process can be just as painful if not greater than the original pain of the wound being inflicted. It all depends on personal choices during the aftercare of the healing scar.

Like most forms of body modification, it is extremely important to maintain personal hygiene and to keep any open wound clean to prevent infections.

The healing process

Methods used to heal the wound have an influence on how the scar will turn out. The faster a wound heals, the less it will scar. For this reason many things scan be done to prolong the healing process, thus increasing the overall amount of scar tissue. A wound can be left open to for the air to heal them dry. When the scabs are formed, they are then removed to reopen the wound and the process is repeated. The healing process of the wounds can also be prolonged by wet healing. This is achieved be keeping the wound covered with a bandage or cellophane and keeping it moisturized. During the healing process, the wounds can also be scrubbed vigorously with brushes or rubbed with salt to stop the growth of new cells and prolong the healing process. Rubbing products such as vinegar, lemon and lime juice and iodine tinctures directly into the open wound can also be done to encourage scaring.

Beauty of the Scars

Scarification can seem like a bizarre and over the top art form. With an open mind and the will to understand, a great deal of respect should given to the artists and canvasses that participate in all of these practices. Like it or not, scarification is here to stay. Who knows, maybe someday you'll join us in this ever-evolving world of body art.

Until then, Cheers!

-Skyler


Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Coffeequeeen profile image

      Louise Powles 

      18 months ago from Norfolk, England

      Yes, I've seen programmes about this before. Goodness, I can't imagine painful it must be though!

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, tatring.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://tatring.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)