Scarification making a mark
Oct 13, 2013 / 7:37 pm
When Holly Mosienko decided to cover up an unsightly scar on her leg, she strayed away from typical solutions, like plastic surgery or makeup. Instead, she opted for more scarring — this time, in the shape of a tribal dragon.
The procedure, known as scarification, is a form of extreme and permanent body modification that is offered in many tattoo and piercing stores across the country and is gaining popularity.
It involves a process in which one's skin is cut, etched, burned or branded into a design to create a inkless tattoo-like scar. Though it is not as widely practised as tattooing or piercing, it has been around for just as long.
"Branding and cutting is not all that different from tattooing," said Mosienko, 51, who runs a piercing store in Peterborough, Ont.
"It's popular. I'd say it's even more interesting than getting a tattoo."
Mosienko says she chose scarification for practical reasons. A lover of body art, she knew covering up her scar — caused by surgery — with a tattoo would be too painful, the constant pressure of a needle over scar tissue would be unbearable. Rather, she chose to have the design etched into her skin.
The entire process — from sketching the design on her leg to the actual cutting — took about an hour.
Mosienko's artist, 45-year-old Blair McLean of New Tribe Tattoos and Piercings in Toronto, says there are many misconceptions about the practice.
He says scarification often hurts less than a tattoo; in fact, all forms of scarification occur on the same level of the skin as tattoos: on the dermis, far above fatty tissues and muscle matter.
The practice is illegal in some countries such as the United Kingdom and several U.S. states. Most recently, the practice was banned in Arkansas, though that bill was overturned after public outcry against the decision. Winnipeg declared the practice illegal in 2008.
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