Scarification vs. White Ink

Friday June 15th, 2012 @ 7:15 PM

Filed under: Scarification

I have been considering both scarification and white ink for a lettering piece, because I like the white ink look and have seen/read/heard that sometimes scarification looks like white ink. Because it’s a scar I would assume that it would be less likely to fade, is that true? Also, how easy or likely is it that the scar would become as shown in the picture? I only have one small scar from surgery on my lip and it isn’t a keloid, but the results of scarification seem to have a lot of variation. Alternatively, in terms of white ink I am extremely pale (you can trace my veins very clearly essentially anywhere on my body), is that good or bad? I live in Greensboro, NC, are there any white ink places that are recommended from the triad area? I know that white ink is tricky and the artist should have experience, but I don’t know where to even start calling about it. Sorry about the many many questions, but I appreciate your attention!

I would recommend starting with the tattoo before you make a commitment like scarification. If the tattoo doesn’t turn out like you envision you can always do the scarification afterwards. Doesn’t really work the other way around.

I would start going into studios instead of calling, look closely at the portfolios and ask if they have experience with white tattoos as well as healed pictures. Find someone you are comfortable with and someone with experience and you’ll be just fine.

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Posted by Ryan Mills | Permalink | Comments

Electrocautery Branding and Tattoos

Sunday June 3rd, 2012 @ 5:35 PM

Filed under: Branding

With Electrocautery Branding, the scar is typically flat / pink. I was asked recently how difficult it would be to tattoo over such a brand, but was unsure how to answer for sure. I see multiple questions asked about raised scars or brands with raised ridges, but don’t see a reference to ECU branding cover ups. I know the skin layer there is smaller than normal skin, but otherwise, what else should one need to know about tattooing over this type of brand?

The tissue in an ecu or tcu brand can be very flat like you mentioned. In these cases the scar tissue tends to be softer and more of a paper texture than a bumpy texture with keloided tissues. Tattooing over this skin is similar to tattooing over stretch marks. Its pretty easy to blowout and have holidays.
The main issue is the length of time this tissue is actually healing and distorting, in some cases this can take up to two years to settle down. Hope that helps.

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Posted by Ryan Mills | Permalink | Comments

Remove or cover a brand?

Wednesday May 23rd, 2012 @ 7:45 AM

Filed under: Branding, Tattoos

A friend of mine got branded very early in what is now a failed relationship. She wants to be rid of it in some fashion. Here is the situation.

The brand is a letter, about 4″ high by 2.5″ wide. It is a keloid about a half inch across, raised about an 1/8″. It s just a year old. It still itches every day.

She wants a covering tattoo yesterday at the latest. One concern I have is that if it is itching, it is still healing and not yet completely stable. I have seen some folks say wait a year, others say two years.

Also, I am encouraging her to consult with a plastic surgeon to see if it might be at least reduced. Any thoughts on keloid reduction/elimination? She has an older keloid that she finally gave up on and tatted over. She is happy with that result.

Any insights would be much appreciated.

That’s a very difficult call without a picture of the branding and the exact extent of the scar tissue. I would most likely suggest that they seek a doctor who can administer steroid injections to reduce the raised effect of the scar before getting it tattooed.

Alternatively they can also massage pure vitamin E oil into the area as a daily routine to soften up the raised tissue and return it to a more normal colour.

Itching the scar will also make the situation worse as it will just make the scar raise and itch even more!

I think perhaps the first step would be to chat to the prospective tattoo artist first and see what they think about the design choice, placement and height of the scar. Many experienced artists will be able to work around nearly any kind of scar to give a lovely end result.

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Posted by Joeltron | Permalink | Comments

Palm Branding

Tuesday May 15th, 2012 @ 4:43 PM

Filed under: Branding

For the longest time I’ve wanted to have a bass clef permanently placed on my body. However, because of it’s odd shape, the placing of it has been my hardest decision. I’d like it to be branded.

In my mind, the palm of one’s hand would be the ideal place for it. After much searching, however, I’ve not been able to find an answer as to whether a branding in such a location would heal correctly. Has this ever been done with success?

Fishing through old unanswered questions today and this one caught my attention.

I have branded a few palms and they just heal too damn fast to scar. You’re much better off picking a different spot to do it that will actually scar.

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Posted by Ryan Mills | Permalink | Comments

Calf Bran Aftercare? (To care or not to care)

Monday May 7th, 2012 @ 3:03 AM

Filed under: Branding

Firstly I have to say BME is an invaluable source of information to those who currently have, or are looking to get body modifications of any kind and thank you guys for contributing to it.

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I had a ring branded (electrocautery)around my calf 4 days ago and was advised by the artist to follow the LITHA (Leave It The Hell Alone) theory. I have noticed that the wound on the outside/back (the bits that move most while walking) is slightly wider than on the front. As this was not the case when the burn was fresh I was thinking I may need to start taking action to ensure the healed band is the same width all the way around.

So far, I’ve been cleaning with sterile saline (and sterile gauze) and applying pressure in opposite directions, (trying the ’stretch’ the wound at the front) twice a day. Is this enough to counteract the ‘natural’ stretching effect day to day life is having on the back of my calf?

I have been thinking about beginning to soak the wound in order to remove all the scab on a daily basis to encourage a build up of scar tissue. This is something I did for my first piece of scarification (a band cut into the same leg around 2 years ago) but am hesitant to repeat with my brand due to my branding artist specifically saying “Do not get the wound wet, It’ll make the scab porous” which makes me think that in doing so I’ll be creating a nice home for unwanted bacteria- hello unwanted infection :S

So will the ’stretching’ technique do me any good?

If I go ahead with the scab soaking, should I use warm water or add salt to it? Should I bandage the wound once de-scabbed? Most of the advice I’ve read says I should air dry the brand.

Thank you for any advice/suggestions you may have :)

Be careful using saline solution when healing a scar, saline is made to dry out a wound and make it heal FASTER - you want the opposite to even up the scar.

Rather than just ’stretching’ the tissue (which should work, but may be inconsistent), I would suggest to buy a new soft toothbrush and scrub the area in the shower (to make the scabs moist) of the bits that are thinner.

This can be done while healing and even afterwards to thicken it up. You could also use a (clean!) toothpick to ‘etch’ the center of the thinner spots to make them want to break open more, however you shouldn’t do it too deep (or near the edges) or you will distort the line.

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Posted by Joeltron | Permalink | Comments

Ink Rubbing

Sunday May 6th, 2012 @ 12:42 PM

Filed under: Other

Hello BME staff/community, I want to say that I love you all and that it is you who make this community great. I am an experienced diy body modification practitioner in terms of piercing but have little experience with scarification. My question is, what would you recommend as procedures for doing a lasting and high quality ink rubbing. I’ve read just about everything I can find about cutting/ink rubbing/skin removal scarification and just completed my first try on myself for an ink rubbing but it seems like the same information is pretty much copy and pasted all over the web. What I am specifically interested in is if there is an ink application procedure (waiting till bleeding is completely stopped, adding it multiple times to the wound, putting some on the bandage) that would result in more ink remaining in the scar. I’ve also read something about adding more powdered pigment to already mixed tattoo ink as a way to improve the outcome however I can’t find any distributors for high quality powdered pigments.

Really any advice would be welcome, thank AskBME, keep up the good work!

I recommend people apply the ink as soon as possible to the area, as scabbing and dry blood will stop the ink from being able to absorb into the skin correctly.

Many practitioners will apply quite a lot of ink (tattoo ink works best, but rotary ink can also be used) and then wrap the piece in cling-wrap to give the tissue the best chance of absorbing the pigment.

I wouldn’t bother messing with powders as it can get VERY messy and hard to control in small batches.

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Posted by Joeltron | Permalink | Comments

Keloid on my hip?

Saturday May 5th, 2012 @ 5:03 AM

Filed under: Cutting

Okay, so… Back when I used to cut myself, before I knew what a keloid was, I had cut pretty deep on my arm and it got infected. When it healed over, it formed a keloid. I thought it was just a really bad scar. It hasn’t completely healed, even though that was over two years ago. It’s still raised and it’s light pink.

I have a few more on my hips, and they’ve formed into keloids. They’re really purple and look pretty bad. I want them to heal before the summer so I can wear a bathing suit without anyone seeing them. But the one on my arm isn’t even gone.

Is there something I can do to get rid of them? Maybe some kind of cream? I tried scar cream on my older one and it didn’t do a thing. Is there some special kind of cream to get rid of these? Or am I just going to wait until it heals itself?

Keloiding is a genetic trait where your body creates very large ‘cauliflower’ looking lumps of scar tissue as it heals a wound.

If your scars are just purple or raised, this does not mean keloiding. To remove keloids, they should be cut and stitched by a doctor.

You can reduce the appearance of scars at home by massaging pure vitamin E oil twice a day into the area. It will soften the tissue, increase blood supply and teach it to go back flat again.

You should also be able to see a doctor to get steroid injections, dermabrasion or laser treatments also.

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Posted by Joeltron | Permalink | Comments

Seeking experienced scarification artist!

Friday May 4th, 2012 @ 6:51 PM

Filed under: Branding, Scarification

I’ll be in Texas til December and this fall, would like a few of my own designs either branded or scarred/keloids with tattoing. Willing to travel to nearby states also will return to my homestate of Oregon. I prefer the thin clean neat lines, not too raised or “fat and puffy”. Yes, I am very picky! Thanks in advance for your recommendations ;)


Well Amy you happen to be in luck because not only am I in Texas, but I am also an experienced branding/scarification artist. I’m not here to promote just myself of course. I would also recommend if you are in the Austin area. If you are in the Houston area would be a good choice.

Also you should keep in mind that alot of really great scarification artists travel and with the amount of events/conventions we have here in Texas it’s not hard to find your favorite artist. You just missed out on SUSCON here in Dallas, quite a few body modification artists were in town for that.

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Posted by Ryan Mills | Permalink | Comments

Under toe branding

Wednesday May 2nd, 2012 @ 10:10 AM

Filed under: Branding

Dear BME,

Will a scar tissue under the toe fade away as quickly as tattoo will at that place?

One artist told me it will dissapear after a very short time due to intense friction. I was thinking to get a classic under toe smiley, but is there a way to make it last forever?

and what about the after care? how much pain in the ass is it gonna be to take care of a brand at that spot?


Hands and feet are very bad locations for scarification as the tissue regenerates VERY fast, causing the scar to heal too quick (even with aggressive after care) and once healed it will lighten incredibly fast also.

Your best bet would be to get the design tattooed, perhaps in a maroon/red to make it look like a scar. Even then, it should only be done by an artists that has done this sort of tissue with success before (healed photos are a MUST). I’ve had my palm tattooed for a number of years, without any touch-ups required by an experienced artist at this sort of stuff.

It is going to be a painful spot, however because it is so small - you should be able to handle it if you just relax and hold onto something tight. :)

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Posted by Joeltron | Permalink | Comments

Chemical Scarification Aftercare…

Wednesday May 2nd, 2012 @ 9:49 AM

Filed under: Skin Removal

I’m looking into getting a small skin removal piece done seeing how it’s going to be my first, and I was looking on many sites about chemical irritant aftercare, I seen that Toasted Sesame oil is a very good one to use, I got a bottle of 100% sesame oil one accident and wondered if it would do the same? Or better yet if you could suggest more of a variety of chemical irritants? Thank you!

Looking forward to the answers! ^_^



It all depends on exactly what end result you want to have of the piece, usually skin removals will scar pretty good on their own without any irritants.

I personally have used a number of different aftercare methods, from lemon juice to chunky peanut butter, at the end of the day I believe it all depends on HOW the piece is done (just like a tattoo).

You can also aggravate the piece after it is healed with a soft (new!) toothbrush to raise some parts that are lower than others too.

Your best bet is to take the opinion of your artist and do what they say.

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Posted by Joeltron | Permalink | Comments

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