Scarifying involves scratching, etching, or superficially cutting designs, pictures, or words into the skin as a permanent body modification. In the process of body scarification, scars are formed by cutting or branding the skin.
Scarification is usually more visible on darker skinned people than tattoos. Endorphins can be released in the scarification process that can induce a euphoric state. There are also aesthetic, religious, and social reasons for scarification. Additionally, although infection may be a risk with most forms of scarification, they do not involve the usage of tattoo ink.
Scarification produces harm and trauma to the skin; thus it is considered by many to be not safe. Infection is a concern. Not only do the materials for inducing the wounds need to be sanitary, but the wound needs to be kept clean, using antibacterial solutions or soaps often, and having good hygiene in general. It is not uncommon, especially if the wound is being irritated, for a local infection to develop around the wound. The scarification worker needs to have detailed knowledge of the anatomy of human skin, in order to prevent tools cutting too deep, burning too hot, or burning for too long. Scarification is not nearly as popular as tattooing, so it is harder to find workers experienced in scarification. Precautions are made for brandings, such as wearing masks, because it is possible for diseases to be passed from the skin into the air when the skin is burning, that can lead to death from the tool they use.