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What is human branding?

human brandingGone are the days when branding are only meant for livestock and slaves.  Today, branding or stigmatizing, is a popular form of self-expression just like tattoos and piercings.  This body modification technique involves burning an image into the skin using a hot iron. When the burn heals, a design of scar tissue is left behind on the skin surface. There are two popular techniques used in human branding: striking or with a medical cautery unit.

Strike branding is done with carbon steel sheet metal. The sheet is cut into one inch strips. The strips are trimmed to size and bent into pieces of the desired design.

Once the pieces are done, the design is laid out onto the skin and the edge of the steel is heated with a propane torch until it is hot enough. With a calm hand, the hot edge is struck against the skin for just a split second. Then the next piece is heated for the next strike. Each piece is only about an inch in length to ensure consistent heat and contact. Even just a simple circle 2" in diameter would be 4 strikes.

Cautery branding is much more like cutting. A hot surgical cautery pen is drawn across the skin along the design. When done properly, the design can be slightly more detailed than a strike brand. There are no visible seams in alignment at first like with the strike method. Both heal pretty seamless, but the cautery enables the lines to flow more like a brush stroke than an edge of steel. This elegance in branding has been said to take out some of the carnal elements you get with strike branding.

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