Menu
Lifestyle

Scarification: World’s most shocking and extreme body art

The scar this leaves will depend on how the person takes care of it.
The scar this leaves will depend on how the person takes care of it. News Corp Australia

WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT

IMAGINE having a stranger cut or burn your skin with the hope to leave a permanent disfigurement that will remain visible on your body for the rest of your natural life.

It might sound like a horrid act of vengeance carried out by members of an outlaw motorcycle gang, but it's actually a voluntary body modification procedure known as scarification.

With one in five Australians now tattooed, the art form is no longer considered a form of rebellion, leaving people looking for new ways to push the boundaries of what is acceptable.

Enter scarification - the art of branding or cutting custom designs, pictures or words into the skin with the hope they will leave a detailed scar.

Traditionally used by tribes around the world to mark important life events, scarification has slowly been becoming an accepted form of body modification across the globe.

Not to be confused with self harm, the process of "cutting" uses sterile surgical scalpels to slice single lines into the skin to produce relatively thin scars of a certain design.

For those wanting larger area of scar tissue, a removal technique is used to peel large strips of skin from the body, although this method can result in an inconsistent texture.

In terms of branding, artists either press a piece of heated metal onto the skin like what is done with livestock or a thermal cautery tool with a heated wire tip can be used to cause the burns.

And while this might sound like they have to be carried out in a dodgy back alley, there are no laws stopping people from offering the extreme procedures - artists are only required to follow local governments skin penetration guidelines.

Tina Seiferling branded this skull onto her own leg.Source:Facebook
Tina Seiferling branded this skull onto her own leg.Source:Facebook

As a body piercer, Tina Seiferling used to perform cautery branding on herself and others.

"The process is performed using a cautery pen - a medical instrument used to burn off skin cancers and perform vasectomies," she told news.com.au.

"The tip of the pen heats up to 1200 degrees and burns through the flesh quickly and easily.

It is not very painful - sort of like using your fingernail to scratch over bad sunburn."

Ms Seiferling said she had always enjoyed body modifications and with several piercings, branding was the next logical step for someone looking for an alternative for tattoos.

"The appeal of something like this is that it's different, it's not ink on skin and heals leaving a white to light pink scar which people sometimes find more appealing than traditional tattoos," she said.

"I did a skull on myself and people have mixed reactions when I tell them it's a brand. Most think it's a white tattoo or a tattoo removal."

An example of strike branding. Source:Supplied
An example of strike branding. Source:Supplied

"Should you wish the scar to be raised and prominent you irritate the burn, pick at the scab and apply some sort of irritant like shaving cream to really aggravate it," she explained.

"For more simplistic results just leave it and the scab will eventually fall off leaving a more subtle appearance."

As one of only a small number of artists in Australia offering a scarification, Peter Sheringham has been offering his cutting services to clients for over 15 years.

"I practised on fruit before I started to work out how to do the procedure on human skin," he said.

"It's an interesting form of body art that is much more a commitment because it can't be lasered off or covered up like a traditional tattoo.

"Similar to tattooing, we make sure people are very serious and genuine about wanting the procedure. We are not going to just carve your girlfriends name into your arm."

A fresh cut artwork and the healed finished product.Source:Supplied
A fresh cut artwork and the healed finished product.Source:Supplied

"It looks more uncomfortable than it really is and will only be painful when washing under the shower for the first few days," he said.

"It's more susceptible to infection than a tattoo, but if you do proper after care and don't go on a trip to Bali immediately following a session, you should be fine.

"It'll generally heal within two to four weeks, but over a period of many the scar will develop and change in appearance."

Mr Sheringham said he is one of maybe half a dozen artists in Australia offering scarification at a commercial level, which often means people fly from all over the country for his services.

"The clientele looking for cutting is quite bizarre. I have done mothers from the country, young boys and girls, and gentleman well into their 50s," he said.

"While I do think it will always be a niche art form, I have had many repeat customers because after they get their first piece done, they think of new ideas and come back for more."

While you might not be able to get the same detail as a tattoo, scarification can be intricate. Source:Supplied
While you might not be able to get the same detail as a tattoo, scarification can be intricate. Source:Supplied

"Because you don't know how the client will sit, I generally charge on the work the client wants done instead of an hourly rate," he said.

"And it might be expensive, but this is something you want to get done in a professional studio not a backyard job.

"Make sure you do your research and look at the artists' portfolio before committing."

Topics:  body art branding editors picks tattoo

News Corp Australia


Christensen reported to police for ‘appalling’ photo

Nationals MP George Christensen has joked about shooting protesters

Wet week: Days of rain expected to hit parts of CQ

Weather outlook for the five days in Central Queensland.

CLOUDS expected to roll in tomorrow and stay all week

Motorcyclist injured in collision with L-Plater

A motorcycle has been involved in an incident on the corner of Agnes and French Street in South Gladstone on 18 February.

A motorbike rider has been taken to Gladstone Hospital.

Local Partners

Cost of having children soaring sky high

PARENTS-TO-BE have been warned that it’s now more expensive than ever to bring a child into the world, and competition among parents is driving up the price.

These are the sex capitals of Australia

Sex is in demand.

Data reveals surprise Australian suburbs where people want sex the most

Aussie couple road tests hotels by having sex in them

Justin and Jess have revealed their steamy hotel experiences.

They won a comp to share stories of getting lucky in hotel rooms

‘I have slept with 100 people’

The documentary is one person’s quest to track down their 100 past sexual encounters

Documentary counts down one person’s full list of sexual encounters

Pregnant Erin Molan hospitalised

Erin Molan has been announced as the new host of the Footy Show. Picture: Jonathan Ng

She collapsed, hitting her head on the ground

Botched jump led to years of hell

Hilary Judith nearly died in a skydiving accident. But that was only the start of the trauma.

Her body was reliving the accident, over and over again