The new trend is here and it involves deliberately scaring yourself. Um, what? Scarification is the art of designing a piece of art on your body through the use of scar tissue. It involves removing layers of skin in order to encourage scar tissue to form. It looks like surgically forked tongues and artificially pointed ears, are way behind us.
It’s not something that the 21 century human invented, this technique was used as a tribal ritual in Africa, New Guinea, New Zealand and in the South Pacific areas, thousands of years ago, but now it is being made fashionable in the west.
Scarification is an alternative to tattooing, where the customer choses a design they want and then the artist removes layers of skin to achieve the pattern and shape.
It does look pretty badass.
Actually, tattoo parlors have offered this technique for years, however, it’s just recently that it’s becoming popular. People are looking for an alternative to traditional tattoos.
Keith Kennedy runs Tribal Expression in Calgary, Canada, and has been doing scarification professionally for a decade.
The 43-year-old artist told the Daily Mail: “I remember being interested in body art from a young age. I started piercing professionally around 1993. Then I looked into courses on scarification. I started Tribal Expression around 14 years ago and then began doing scarification around 10 years ago.”
“Scarification is a completely different skill to tattooing. It is a completely different skill set. We normally see people who get them as part of some rite of passage, or if they have conquered something or been through something. Others get something when they get married – scarification is more permanent than tattoos even. But we also get people who want to mimic surgical scars. Believe it or not it is actually harder than doing a beautiful flower to achieve that look.” he adds.
“The depth is deeper than an actual tattoo. We do it with a scalpel and use other tools to get different looks. Most people describe the pain as a little uncomfortable – like a paper cut.” Keith explains.
While traditional tattoos are made by ink being trapped in the second layer of your skin, scars are the result of wounds packed with collagen. The traditional tattoo stays in the dermis because the ink specks are way too large for the immune system to dispose of them. On the other hand, our body heals scars so scarification involves removing the top layer of skin, before allowing a natural scar to form during the healing process.
The process of scarification involves removing the skin to cause a scar, that later will partially heal.
Here is a snowflake designs on one scarification fan side, partway through the healing process.
Eddie Tenszen is someone who wanted something different from the traditional tattoo, so he made his second scar last year.
The 22-year-old from Calgary said: “I got into piercing a long time ago. I wanted to stand out from the crowd. Scarification offered an alternative to tattoos. I wanted to define myself and be a bit different. It’s not something you see everyday. I did one piece myself when I was younger and then I had one on my forearm done professionally in May last year. I actually don’t think the pain is as bad as getting a tattoo. It does sting badly but tattoos are a worse in my opinion.”
“You have to look after it – you clean it every day and kept it wrapped. After three weeks to a month it starts to scab over and heal. Then it really starts to itch. It is so hard not scratch it. At first it is really red in appearance. Then it starts to fade to white. You can actually hardly see it now. For me it is purely artistic. But I know some people like to turn actual scars into a design.” he added.