Skin Deep

By | November 7, 2007

BrandingIt appears that in the quest to be individual tattoos have now become passé and people are opting for branding instead. Ouch! Once this was used as a form of punishment in the middle ages and cattle branding is in decline as the more accurate ear tagging takes over to control cattle movements.

Yet individuals are choosing to have their skin branded, leaving permanent scaring and in some cases the wounds are turning sceptic. The recipient is hoping for the raised keloid tissue to leave permanent marks on their skin but this doesn’t always occur, sometimes they inset instead.

Branding is achieved via the application of heat, chemicals or electricity which burns the skin. There are four main methods of achieving the desired effect:

  • Strike Branding – where segments of metal are heated and applied to the body in organised patterns. The traditional way.
  • Cautery Branding – this method uses a cautery pen and as such can produce more intricate designs and effects. The pen heats up to an extremely high temperature. I can only imagine that this is akin to the soldering iron.
  • Electro-cautery Branding – electrical current is used to heat up the pen which is more consistent in temperature and quicker than the other methods.
  • Chemical Branding – this uses a combination of chemicals to etch the patterns in to the skin. This method isn’t used very often because it can cause extreme scaring.

I was moved to investigate today when I heard on the news, that scars are abraded by rubbing them with a toothbrush, keeping the scars open. This aggravates them making them more raised while simultaneously making them prone to infection.

When I checked branding out on the Internet there wasn’t much out there to read or many studios advertising the service. But I did find ByBlair who provide further information, galleries and branding consultations.

It makes me wonder just how individuals cope with the pain associated with this form of body modification, I have read that some go in to a meditative state and almost become desensitised to the pain when their adrenalin kicks in. I wonder, do they simply not feel the pain or do they experience an endorphin rush that counteracts it.

I’m feeling a little squeamish at the moment about the whole thing. What do you think? Is this form of body decoration as acceptable as tattooing or do you view it differently?


Tags: Branding, strike branding, cautery branding, electro-cautery branding, chemical branding, body art, body modification, tattoo, tattooing, keloid, keloid scar,