Scarification is an ancient practice used to mark specifically melanin rich skin that tattoo's would not show well in. Scarification can mean many things to different tribes.

Reasons for Scarification

Scarification can mean many things and the markings read as a book, identifying themselves to other tribes and conveying different information such as;

Strength and Courage

The more scars someone has, the more they are perceived as strong and courageous. Scaring is very painful and is often made even more painful as substance like ash or dirt is packed into the skin to make the scar more visible.

Family Pride

Scarification in Ancient African tribes can also be used to represent family pride as an young boy becoming a man would experience a ritual beating from his sisters and the scars would represent the love for their brother.

Protection From Death

Scaring on the face is used to ward off death as they believed that it would make the undesirable to the spirit.


Scarification on the abdomen was used on young women to improve their fertility which would make them more desirable for marriage.


Beauty is another, more obvious reason for scarification. Beauty is especially a reason for young girls and is performed on them for the milestones of puberty, first menstrual cycle and the birth of their children.

Scarification was mostly preformed by West African tribes however it is much less common now and it is almost never performed, however there are still older tribe members who literally "bear the scars" of the ancient art.

As the world became more westernized wearers of scars were more looked down upon and ridiculed, being called scary and 'torn face'.

As traditional scarification faded out scarification became accepted in the western world as a way to add to an alternative aesthetic.

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