Today we’ll look into perhaps the most painful of all body modifications, human branding. Branding is a process that involves burning the skin in a manner that will result in a permanent scar or mark, usually in a pattern or the shape of a specific symbol.
Branding works through the process of controlled injury and should never be considered “Safe”. Although if applied by a professional with experience in branding the risk could be considered acceptable.
Types Of Branding
Strike Branding – The process of heating a small piece of metal to the appropriate temperature and striking it against the skin. This can be done with a single or multiple strikes. Strike branding is the most common form of branding in use today.
Electrocautery – This form of branding uses a device which passes electrical current through an electrode which in turn becomes intensely hot. This type of branding can be used to create significantly more intricate patterns then strike branding.
Electrosurgery or Hyfrecator Branding – This form of branding uses a device which passes electrical current directly through the patients skin to, in effect, burn the skin. Several devices and setups are available for this type of branding and is very similar to Electrocautery.
Cautery Pen – This is a medical instrument used to control blood loss. Although previously popular among scarification artist they have fallen out of favor lately as they are just not reliable enough for body modification.
Healing Time And Care
Brands are a quite significant injury to the body and will take a long time to heal. It can take as long as 6 to 12 months to completely heal a brand. Healing time and final appearance of the scar will vary greatly from person to person depending on your body’s natural keloid development.
It is generally accepted that the best way to heal a brand is to just leave it alone. Applying a general antiseptic ointment and keeping the area clean. Be aware that a brand is a third degree burn and can easily get an infection if not taken care of properly.
Some Things You Should Know
Branding does not produce perfect lines like tattooing. Scars will migrate and can heal inconsistently leaving some areas more pronounced then others. Any lines formed during the branding process can be expected to heal to three times the initial wound width.
Brands can be tattooed over but not until the scar has healed completely, this is usually at least 12 months from the initial brand.
If a brand does not heal the way you want it to you can always get it re-branded once all the tissue has healed completely. Just like tattooing over a scar you are going to want to wait at least a year.