Scarifying involves scratching, etching, or superficially cutting designs, pictures, or words into the skin as a permanent body modification.
In the process of body scarification, scars are formed by cutting or branding the skin. Scarification is sometimes called cicatrization (from the French equivalent).
Scarification is usually more visible on darker skinned people than tattoos. Endorphins can be released in the scarification process that can induce a euphoric state. There are also religious and social reasons for scarification, as well as aesthetic, it is also seen as a form of self-expression.
Scarification is not a precise practice; variables, such as skin type, cut depth, and how the wound is treated while healing, make the outcome unpredictable. A method that works on one person may not work on another. The scars tend to spread as they heal, so outcome design is usually simple, the details being lost during healing.
Human branding is one type of scarification. It is similar in nature to livestock branding.
Cutting of the skin for cosmetic purposes is not to be confused with self-mutilation, which is also referred to by the euphemism "cutting." There may be cases of self-mutilation and self-scarification for non-cosmetic reasons. Lines are cut with surgical blades. Techniques include:
Scars can be formed by removing layers of skin through abrasion. This can be achieved using an inkless tattooing device, or any object that can remove skin through friction (such as sandpaper).
Chemical scarification uses corrosive chemicals to remove skin and induce scarring. The effects of this method are typically similar to other, simpler forms of scarification; as a result there has been little research undertaken on this method.
The common practice on healing a scarification wound is use of irritation.
- If an enclosed area perimeter is cut or branded, the skin inside of the closed space may die off and scar due to a lack of blood flow.
An alternative view is described by the acronym LITHA, meaning Leave It The Hell Alone. In body modification this is often considered the best way to reduce the risk of infection and the pain of healing.
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