SCARIFICATION- an alternative to tattoos


Scarification is a widely practiced process which involves itching, burning, superficially cutting designs, pictures or words into the skin. It is gaining much popularity and is offered in many tattoos and piercing stored across many countries. People who do not like a permanent inked tattoo in their body can go for scarification though it is somewhat a painful process but lesser in comparison to a tattoo.


When was it first used?

Scarification gives a look of an ink less tattoo like scar. Even though it is not as widely practiced as tattooing or piercing, it has its roots in tribal culture; most people in certain regions of Africa who have “markings” can be identified as belonging to a specific tribe or ethnic group or gods. It is the tribal culture which has been adopted by tribes since a long time.

For people who are uncomfortable with foreign pigments on their bodies, hence avoid tattoos; choose scarification where the design is from their own body. The process of scarification takes an hour or two depending on the body design that you opt for.

Health risks associated with scarification

However it has its own share of shortcomings. Unlike tattooing which might pain a tad too much and is much time consuming, scarification is associated with several health risks. They might break intact skin and mucus membrane – especially through the processes of cutting, burning or piercing. Scarification might also result in increased risk of scarring; the risk of scarring, hemorrhaging and psychological trauma as well as exposure and infection with blood borne pathogens, such as hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV is also very likely. However, it is chosen over tattooing for more practical reasons- This process hurts much less than tattoos and is less time consuming. All forms of scarification occur on the same level of the skin as tattoos: on the dermis, far above fatty tissues and muscle matter.


However, it is strictly prohibited in some countries because of the associated health hazards. The practice is illegal in United Kingdom and several U.S. states. Most recently, the practice was banned in Arkansas. Also, Winnipeg declared the practice illegal in 2008.All the parlors and the tattoo centers are monitored minutely in Toronto.

Branding and cutting is not believed to be all that different from tattooing. It’s popular and is believed to be even more interesting than getting a tattoo because of the level of creativity involved and the intricacy of the method.


This article gives a brief description of what scarification is all about, when it first used and what are its associated health risks.

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