Phases of Healing: Branding


I used to run a feature on the Scarwars blog that showed the phases of healing that a cutting or branding went through over a several year span. This branding was one of the most dramatic- a reminder that even when performed by a professional modification artists, sometimes the finished scar can radically change over time.

The initial strike branding (top left) was done in approximately 2005/6. The scar grew significantly over the years- bottom right is 2009 and shows and extreme change in size. The flower cuttings were done in 2009.

The variables in any scarification procedure- past picking a qualified artist- can include genetics, location, aftercare and luck.  The Scarwars blog always did it’s best to give people interested in their first scar a realistic expectation of what could be expected during healing.

(The small ‘dot’ scars next to the Pisces were from a chest suspension. In the four years between the first and last photos you can see that the client’s scars are still very pronounced.)


Shawn Porter has spent the majority of his life in the modification world. As a body modification archivist and documentarian, he has one of the most extensive collections of documents relating to the early American body modification community outside of academia. He edited the SPC website from 1995 to 2005, co-founded ModCon, was the host of ModCons 3.5 and 4, and created and hosted The Scarwars Project from 2004-2007. In 2011 Shawn launched Occult Vibrations, a blog devoted to traditional American tattoos with a focus on the occult and esoteric. He currently resides in Philadelphia with his wife Julia and their creepy pets Mr. Bailey Papers and L. RonBenet Ramsey.


  1. It’s absolutely insane how that’s healed. It’s amazing how the flowers have lightened up so much while that strike branding has only grown more pronounced.

  2. I remember this one. The brending itself wasn’t very wide or deep, but, if if you can expect the cautery to widen four or five times, I think this one really got out of control.
    Shawn, do you know what kind of aftercare the client did?

    1. I’m not sure what her aftercare was like, to be honest.
      We’re fairly sure that it was a combination of her genetics (she’s Korean) and location- right between the breasts so during healing there would have been an equal ‘pulling’ on the tissue from the weight.

      1. As you pointed out also, the suspension scars were still pretty visible. Do you know if the flowers were cutter more shallow than usual to make an easier healing and a less thick cheloid?

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